Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Dreaded "P"

So you've written a book, you've been contracted, release date is looming. That means it's time for one thing. It's something many authors dread, as it is time consuming and terrifying, especially if you're not comfortable putting yourself out there as an author.

I'm talking about promo.

There are many ways to promote your material.  Some authors pay for interviews at the larger review sites, others pay for banners. There are also those who take advantage of book bloggers, giveaways, and conferences. Either way, it takes a lot of time, a lot of dedication and, sometimes, a bit of heartbreak.

The truth is not everyone is going to like your material. So when you send it out, you might not get the reaction you're hoping for. There is a fifty-fifty chance your story will be the next big thing everyone is talking about, gaining you new readership. However, there is also a chance the book might not be received in the manner you hoped. I've been on both ends of the spectrum, so I know first hand how difficult it can be. I'm very good at speaking with people, but I always get nervous when it's time to toot my own horn.

All is not doom and gloom, though. You can make the most of your promotion if you keep a few things in mind:

Social Networks: These are good to keep in touch with readers. However, most don't like to be spammed or annoyed when you constantly remind them you have a new release. Moderation is key. Maybe you can state you have a new release once in the morning, again in the evening, and as the days go by do one message per day to spread the word. I've found most readers appreciate when authors make it a personal versus a professional relationship. Talk to people just like you would anyone else. It really makes a difference.

Book Bloggers: Again, this is a great way to gain new readers. But there is a cost. You need to interact with people who post on the blog and show them how appreciative you are that they have an interest in your work. Make it less about you and more about them.

Contests: This is another good way to promote. However, you have to be savvy about it. I suggest doing a contest a week prior to release and giving away a copy of your book on release day. Then, after a week or two has passed, perhaps you can do another giveaway. The more giveaways you do (of the print variety of your books especially) the more likely people are to remember your book or to check it out.

Conferences: So far, I'm a noobie at this. I can say that I've met a lot of great people at conferences. The key is to say hello to people, talk to them, and don't try to sell your work. If they inquire, then you can share a bit about what you do. It's important to remain tactful. Most people attend to meet new authors. If you give them a chance to talk with you, chances are they'll eventually ask about what you write.

It's not easy, but you can get your name out there. It just takes time and a little bit of patience. Keep your chin up. We've all been there. The best thing is once it ends, you'll write another book, receive a contract, and start the dance all over again.

Now, eye candy!


Sharon said...

Authors have to *pay to be interviewed at big sites? Can you give examples of what sites can do that?

How can a reader not expect an author to promote on their social site? That is the whole point . I like it when an author gives snippets and updates of upcoming events/appearances/books.

and you are right about the book bloggers. I can see how some can be high maintenance (but, not me, of course ;)

I am going to my first Con in June. It is ConCarolina (largest Sci-Fi in NC) I am going to promote our blog, get some interviews, have fun. I am nervous about imposing on people, but that is why they are there too :)

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