Wednesday, January 17, 2018

5 Ways for Authors to Promote Themselves and Their Book(s)

5 Ways for Authors to Promote Themselves and Their Book(s)
 by Vivian Zabel

            Whether an author has a book released through a traditional publisher or goes the self-publishing route, he/she must promote that book. Publishers may point the way, but the author does the work. Promotion may appear overwhelming, but many ways to help a writer promote exist. Now, an author does not try all the methods and tips at once, but one at a time to find what works.
            One tip all promoters suggest is writers must begin promoting themselves before they ever mention a book. Possible readers must know the author and be familiar with the name before they will be interested in any book. In fact, many tips are repeated from source to source.
            This article will cover only five suggestions, but the sources are listed at the bottom of the text. Writers can and should do research to discover their “perfect” way or ways to promote themselves and their book or books.

Promotional Tips and Suggestions

 1. Start early, not too late: Promote yourself by becoming an interesting person, one who shows interest in others. Cathy Presland states, “Comment on threads in Facebook groups or on other people’s threads to build your reputation as an expert.” Using material researched, for background or facts used for a book, to build a reputation as an expert allows an author to “double-dip” with one’s work.
            According to Tony Levelle, a writer should begin as much as three years, or as soon as possible, before any book is released: “… start building a network of supporters and reviewers. Keep track of everyone you meet as you research and write the book. Pay special attention to, and make notes about, those who demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for you and your project.”
            One problem many authors have, says Brian Feinblum, is they “don’t think about marketing until the book is already written.”

2. Start a blog and a website: Every writer needs a blog and website, before any book is released.
A blog should help build the reputation of the author as an expert in one or more fields. A blog shouldn’t be used to “pound” readers with the book. It shouldn’t be “buy, buy, buy.” It should be somewhere for readers to want to read and learn more about the author and what the author knows and shares. For example, an author could write in-depth posts on a topic researched for his/her book, referencing the book and linking to it at the end of the post. If the book is not finished or even written yet, the author can still post information about the research, creating a useful amount of knowledge over time           
All authors need a website dedicated to themselves and their book or books, which they update regularly. All information should be correct and complete. Tonly Levelle gives a list of what such a website should include:
* A book blog with updates and corrections concerning the book. It should include responces to reader comments and suggestions.
* Sample chapters from the book (I disagree with this one. I suggest using short stories or articles linked to the book).
* A link to where the book could be ordered online.
* The authors media kit.
* Book reviews and blurbs.
* The author’s schedule of appearances, such as at bookstores, speaking engagements, and conferences.
* Contact information.

3. Write an outstanding, well-written book: All the preparation, all the promotion, all the planning in the world means nothing if the book isn’t the best it can be. An exceptional book will create word-of-mouth publicity.

4. Create a Media Kit: According to Levelle, a media kit should include the following information –
·       Professional business cards that include the author’s contact information.
·       A head shot by a professional photographer or talented amateur.
·       A short biography, 100-150 words, to tell readers why the author is qualified to write this book.
·       A “one sheet” with a glassy print of the book cover and a description of the book (think back cover blurb) as well as a few short reviews and recommendations from others.
5. Prepare to do a heavy load of work: Since even well-known, famous authors must promote their book, ALL authors must be prepared to do the major portion of promotion and marketing for their books. Authors should find as much help as possible from anyone and everyone, but authors must realize that the hard work is theirs. [Brian Feinblum]
            Authors can find hundreds of suggestions and tips for promoting and marketing their books. Each should find and use those which work for him/her, trying, and ignoring unusable ones, keeping those that do work.
            A book means the most to the author, and, therefore, the author needs to promote and market his/her book.

               Brian Feinblum, “Promotional Pitfalls,” The Writer, September, 2018 page 16
               Tony Levelle, “15 DIY Book Promotion Tools You Need to Know,”
               Cathy Presland, “50 (and more) Ways to Promote Your Book,”