by Annette Young
When it comes to book promotion, you may well be one of a large group of authors who like to bury their heads in the sand but, newsflash, procrastinating, hiding or refusing to join the self-promotion bandwagon will get you precisely nowhere.
As a publisher and author, I know how important your book is to you. You wouldn’t have written it if it didn’t mean something. But, your book is just one among masses, not just competing for physical book space but, for digital space too. So, remember, you only have a short space of time to make an impact for your book and this should start long before the publishing date. You can pay for publicity, have someone set up ads for you, create flyers, etc. But, there are things you can do for FREE and it makes sense to make the most of any publicity available. But, you had best get your timing right.
I am a firm believer in the power of the press release. Even if you don’t use one of the professional distributors, you can still write a press release and distribute it to your local newspapers. Make it concise and play the local angle. Start promoting your book approximately two months in advance. So, send announcements to your local radio and TV stations, newspapers, book distributors and so on.
When your book is published i.e. you have a physical copy in your hands, send an updated press release along with a copy of your book to some or all of those you had contacted previously. You may not hear anything or, you may find yourself contacted for interviews or even book signings. Don’t faint at the thought. Try to enjoy your moment in the spotlight. You can also have fliers made of the book jacket and ask local bookshops if they will display it near the till point. But don’t just leave it there, give them some copies of the book too – try the Sale or Return angle. If they decline, give them a copy and ask them to read it and encourage their friends to buy it.
Are your friends avid readers? Ask them to talk about your book (be fair, only when they have read it and liked it) word of mouth is a really powerful way to promote and if they talk about it enough, others are likely to buy a copy. Ask your local library or doctors or dentists if they will stock your promotional fliers. When people are bored, nervous or sick, they will want to distract themselves and your colourful looking promotional literature may incite interest.
Is your book about a subject that local people will really want to see? Is your book about something that local groups will be interested in? If you have written a book on Yorkshire Terriers and there happens to be a specific group of dedicated enthusiasts regarding this breed of dog, well, drop them a line. You must always look for the angle.
Local interest is a great way to promote for free but you must be prepared to put yourself out there and promote with enthusiasm. Don’t be shy. Self-promotion is essential these days. If you want to be an author, you must also be a marketer. Accept it, relish it and now promote like crazy.