Many people in the public eye believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
(Just ask Donald Trump!) Publicity, positive or negative, promotes a career because it puts that person in the limelight. Of course, writers would like to be recognized for the quality of their work. Bad reviews hurt a writer’s sales and recognition as a serious author. Nevertheless, being ignored by reviewers is not something that authors appreciate either. Readers aren’t going to buy books they’ve never heard of. No reviews? No publicity? No sales.
So how do authors go about reaching readers, building a following among those who buy books? After all, it’s not just the small independent publishers who do little to promote their authors. These days even the major publishers do not put much effort and money into book promotion either. Writers have to think proactive.
How should writers go about reaching and building a readership? I’m going to offer a few suggestions that won’t break your bank account.
l. Use the internet:
a. Create a website (no, I still haven’t done one yet, but I intend to create my own website soon--really).
b. Do social networking such as blogging. Create your own blog and guest blog on other sites. Interview other authors. Offer to do interviews on other sites, not those only for writers. Reach out to a more general, larger audience.
c. Create a presence on such popular internet sites as: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Shelfari, Booktown, etc.
d. Join Yahoo writer groups of authors with common interests. Be an active reader and comment often in group and on their blogs.
e. Be willing to read and review the work of other writers.
f. Ask other authors in your genre to read and review your books as well. You want as many reviews as possible on Amazon. B&N, Goodreads and Library Thing.
g. Send out advance review copies to internet reviewers who read in your genre. Reviews are important and we can’t always get them from the major review publications.
h. Offer ARCs as giveaways both on your site, other sites, and most especially on Goodreads. Example: The novel THE THIRD EYE: A PINE BARRENS MYSTERY, co-authored with my older son Andrew Seewald, was published by Five Star/Gale in hardcover in September. I offered a Giveaway of three copies on Goodreads in the months prior. Many readers see these announcements. So there is publicity value and hopefully at least one of the readers will eventually post a favorable review on Goodreads. I also gave away copies to readers of Author Expressions.
i. Is giving away free books a good method of increasing overall sales and getting publicity for an author’s brand? It appears to do so for ebooks. Many writers are offering free ebooks on Amazon and Nook. Usually this creates awareness of an author who has numerous books to offer. I don’t have the statistics on how well this is working out. If you do, please comment.
2. Bookstore signings and events are great. However, as we are aware with the demise of Borders among others, as well as the closing of many B&N brick and mortar bookstores, these opportunities, unless you are a famous author, have diminished dramatically. My advice is to see if there are any small, independent bookstores that you can contact. Be prepared to advertise your “event”/signing yourself.
3. Library Events. Offer to do a program at your local library. You can have a book signing and selling afterward if the library approves.
4. Don’t forget to advertise every program you do. Contact the local newspapers and
offer a “news release.”
5. Your college probably has a graduate publication, magazine or newsletter. The publication of your book is certainly a newsworthy item.
6. Consider selling books at various unexpected places. Book fairs sponsored by local libraries are great and so are craft shows, however, you might think of a more creative venue. Try to think outside the box. For example, suppose your novel is about a baker. Is there a local bakery that might display and sell your books on consignment? Is your novel set in a beauty parlor? Would a beauty shop owner allow your books selling space for a cut of the profits?
7. Attending conferences. Many writers swear by them. It’s a great place for networking and connecting. You can meet editor, agents and other authors. At the very least, you can interact and get interesting feedback and share ideas. Since our work is solitary, this is a good way to know you are not alone.
8. Some writers publish their own newsletters which advertise the release of their new books as they come out.
9. You might also keep friends and relatives in the loop through e-mail announcements.
10. Send out announcements to acquisition librarians, especially if your book has had good reviews which you can quote. This can be done inexpensively via e-mail.
Have I left out anything that I should be mentioning? As a writer, what promotion and or publicity ideas have worked well for you and might work well for other authors?
Readers, what determines the books you will select to purchase or borrow from a library? I would love to share ideas in this forum.
Last month I gave away several ARCs of THE THIRD EYE to readers who left comments on Author Expressions. This mystery novel is now published in hardcover from Five Star/Gale:
You can buy it at Amazon, B&N online, etc. or request it at your local library.
This month to celebrate the new Harlequin Worldwide Mystery paperback edition of DEATH LEGACY http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=28798&cid=337
I again offer copies to those who comment. Just leave an e-mail address between now and
September 26, 2013.