On Sunday at the Writer’s Digest Conference, I attended an informative panel on how to promote your book. Kevin Smokler, Brent Sampson, Kate Travers, and Kate Rados helped the audience navigate the maze of possibilities.
It is never too early to start promoting. Build your author brand, know your reader, and get beyond the computer. Readers buy things they are familiar with.
There are a variety of Amazon tools available. Check out the Amazon Author Central and create your profile there even if you are unpublished. Link your blog to this profile. Upload videos. The key is to put the tools in place so when you switch from active promoting to passive promoting, the tools still work for you.
Author Central has real time book sales via Book Scan.
You can populate your book tour information on Author Central page.
For public events, figure out who your groups/friends are. You need to be able to bring in book buyers and provide sweets and drinks. Try to do book tours/events where you can crash on a friend’s couch.
Think outside the box. Author events can be anywhere–church, YMCA, friend’s house, etc.
Once you’ve scheduled an event, figure out a way to make it an evening out for attendees. Provide a performance if relevant to book. Engage the reader. If it’s a historical work, bring in a local professor to talk with you.
If possible use visuals such as Powerpoint. Talk about what book is about. Don’t just read an excerpt. Make it fun.
People want compelling, live entertainment.
When it comes to social media, don’t engage because you have to, but because you are drawn to the subject matter. Don’t be blatant about self-promotion.
The author platform: can be a blog, website, Facebook, and/or Twitter.
Create a foundation by focusing on one thing at a time and add on as you get better at it.
You have to attract readers to you as a person. Be interested in them and be a supporter of them. Provide something they want/need.
Building a mailing list and exchanging business cards is a start.
Engage a community and support them. Usually they will support you back.
Be aware that when you sound boring to people, you need to stop promoting.
Be good company online–entertaining/polite/gracious. Don’t be another disgruntled author.
Virtual blog tours can be a great and cheap way to market. Even when the event is over, it’s there online forever archived on the internet.
Bookbloggers are all the rage–very passionate about books. Read their blogs. See their tone and genres. Check out how they want to be pitched before you pitch them.
Hiring a publicist depends on what your publishing and when. Figure out what they can do that you cannot. Research their client list.
Bottom Line: There are lots of ways to promote your book and you should get started before publication. A blog or a website is a good way to begin. Expand from there. Facebook and Twitter have a learning curve so pick one and start sticking your foot in the pool.