HOW to get promotion for yourself and your book …

Two days ago I wrote a blog post that proved to be the most popular, in terms of reach and reaction, of any I’ve ever written! Thanks to everyone who read, liked, shared, reblogged, followed my blog, and commented on it. I guess I hit a nerve with the topic of authors behaving badly and how to avoid becoming one. It seems this kind of behaviour is definitely prevalent and a problem on social media, because so many of you agreed with me and my guests who also offered quotes on experiences they’d had dealing with these self-centred authors.

I took a negative tack on that last post, because it’s a fun angle to come from with this kind of list, and I’ve had success with that approach in the past. It also allows me to write in a humorous and sarcastic voice – which I hope was the voice that came through in that piece. People, authors especially I find, take themselves far too seriously and lose sight of the fact that, if they’d just lighten up and look at their work – and life – in a more positive manner, they might actually succeed rather than fail all the time. (That’s my little lecture for today. Just don’t be so earnest, okay?)

So, in an effort to help you become more positive about the promotion process in this business of writing and publishing books, and for those who took my negative slant too seriously and got the impression I was bashing all authors for behaving badly, I thought I’d offer 10 ways to promote yourself and your book. Note here that I’m suggesting YOU do the work of promoting, because ultimately it should be your responsibility, as difficult as it may seem to be to you right now. Unless of course you have deep pockets and can afford to pay someone else to do all that work for you. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret … If you do all the work of promoting your own book, you will gain far more than just sales and new readers. Have a look at my list and you’ll understand what I mean …

1. Realize that you are not the only author to have ever written a book by becoming part of a writing group or community who will eventually become a big support through shared experience and knowledge, not to mention connections.

2. Publish the best book you can by using professional assistance in editing, cover design and formatting (whether eBook or print).

3. Use social media in such a way that you’re providing value in every tweet and status update, with information that friends and followers will want to share, retweet and comment upon. Mention your own book sparingly.

4. Develop a fan base. Engage with those fans. Answer their questions, keep them updated about your new releases, ask them to share your work with their friends. Recommend reading suggestions from among your other author friends’ books. (Friends you will meet by following #s 1, 3, 5 and 7.)

5. Take part in writing communities to meet other authors, find new books to read, promote as a group, and share information as to where you can connect with book promoters.

6. Offer value when engaging in social media. Follow bookstores, libraries, writing groups and organizations, and retweet their news of book promotions and reviews (even if these groups aren’t in your area). Link to news articles about books, publishing and authors, let your followers know about writing contests, awards, and anything else that might be of interest. Retweet promotion for other authors’ books.

7. Read blogs – as many as you can – reblogging and/or commenting on their content. Add value to your comments. Become a known and appreciated member of those bloggers’ followers. (You should start small in the number of blogs you follow, because it can quickly become overwhelming. And if you do find you’re following too many, just cut back to a more manageable number that you can easily comment upon every once in a while. Bloggers like nothing better than knowing they have a few fans reading whatever they have to say and are enjoying their blog enough to make comments.)

8. Write your own blog and add value to the blogging community. I guarantee that, once you begin writing something of value and you’ve already developed a relationship with the blogging community, those other bloggers will be reblogging what you write and your reach and audience will expand.

9. When seeking promotion and reviews for your book from bloggers, read their blog first, engage with the blogger, show interest in their work if they themselves have published, ask how you may help promote their blog or book, read their submission instructions. Remember that many bloggers who promote and review books likely already have a backlog of applicants, so be patient. If you engage with that blogger in some way, either through commenting on their blog or by offering to promote them, you will be that much closer to getting your foot in the door.**

10. We are not all individual snowflakes and you are not unique. The rules DO pertain to you. If you follow those rules you will likely get ahead, further and faster. There really are no shortcuts to success.

And for this blog post, I’m giving you one more way to get promotion for yourself and your book …

11. Write a great book. It’s as simple, and as difficult, as that.

**I have been discovering so many great books and authors lately – on Goodreads, Facebook and through comments made on my blogs – to be promoted on my Reading Recommendations blog that I may change my submission policy. I definitely have no trouble at all finding authors to promote. So, if you want to be noticed by me, seriously consider what I’ve suggested in #9.

86 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Phoenix Rainez.

  2. Hi found this post by chance and your 10 points are extremely helpful to a new writer and not so hot blogger like me.
    I was always under the impression you had to write something really …. mhmm educated! But have since seen after reading quite a few bloggers it’s your daily anecdotes that attract your readers and of course interacting with them.
    Your post has now confirmed (for me anyway) that I don’t have to have a high IQ to blog post or write something highly techo or educatedly professional. I just have to be ME.
    Thank you
    (Sorry for rambling on, but I do get carried away at times)

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Phoenix! You’re correct in that you should just be “you” when you do write, because that’s what readers want to read – authenticity. Best of luck with your writing and your blog!

      1. Thanks for the luck wishes and your speedy reply. Hope your Monday is going great 🙂

      1. A pleasure. I tweeted it too.

      2. Thanks for helping to spread the word! Your support is truly appreciated.

  3. Reblogged this on Anita & Jaye Dawes and commented:
    valuable advice, thank you Susan!

    1. Thank you for reading and reblogging!

  4. […] HOW to get promotion for yourself and your book …. […]

  5. I like your article. This is the reason why I do many research on things circulating around online. I’m never sure if I’m going to be dragged in like a tornado does. I always try my best to leave messages of hope where ever I go. You just never know who will be reading your work.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, normapadro! And you are absolutely correct! You never know who will read what you post on the internet, so best to always make it good!

  6. […] etiquette in the blogosphere, I’d like to recommend this excellent article by Susan Toy: HOW to get promotion for yourself and your book. Susan’s blog is full of helpful information and straightforward advice. If you’re not […]

  7. Reblogged this on fordsthoughts and commented:
    Great suggestions

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Kim!

  8. Reblogged this on Michaelphelps1's Blog and commented:
    NOW I KNOW WHAT TO DO! I guess Book Marketing is as easy as pie! Too bad the only thing I can cook is coffee . . . and it ususally comes out burned. I NEED to FOLLWO THIS ADVICE! INSPIRING!

    1. Just take it one step at a time, Michael. It may look daunting when you read through all 11 points in a row, but taken bit-by-bit will make it that much easier. None of us got to where were are now overnight. I’ve been writing, publishing, and promoting for a couple of decades now. I still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    2. Michael,
      Exactly HOW do you “burn coffee”? Let it boil down to cripsy? LOL!

  9. Reblogged this on FutureImperfect and commented:
    Excellent article Futurists! Check it out!

    1. Thanks for reblogging, patti!

  10. Wow, thanks for pointing out that writing groups are good for connecting with other authors who can become friends! I’ve just had a discussion on LinkedIn discussing groups and whether to join one or not. Never occurred to me that I could make friends there–I’d always thought of them as utilitarian; a way to improve on your writing technique! Thanks, reblogging!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, patti! A group of us (about 21) formed an email connection after studying online together in a creative writing programme. We lost a few along the way, and picked up some others. Several of those writers have since become published authors. What was evident all the way through those years of association was the strong friendship we formed and the support group we could each count on – for advice, information, a shoulder to cry on, beta-reading, editing help (a couple were professional editors and one is a cover designer) and cheering us on our way to publication. A number of us in that group are still in contact with each other (and I have promoted a couple of them on my blog). So, yes, writing groups can be so much more than just for critiquing. I guess it all depends on how much each group member is willing to put into participating with the others.

  11. Reblogged this on blindoggbooks and commented:
    I’ve been singing this song for quite a while now…it’s nice to hear it from somebody else. Reading this won’t guarantee an author of success – but ignoring these tips will certainly guarantee a lack of success.

    1. We could be singing in harmony, Tim! Thanks for being such a great support and friend – proving that #s 1, 5, 7, 8 are all very true! And thanks, once again, for reblogging! I’m so fortunate that both you and Ike have got my back!

  12. There are some great blogs out there that I really enjoy. Through reading and commenting, I’ve made what I consider to be good fridndships with some of these bloggers. They have definitely added value to my life.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my blog, Ali!

  13. “Saint Susan”. Got a smile out of that!
    More good advice from a solid source.
    You’ve been in sales. The “add value” thing (#…) is very important. People always want fresh, new, and interesting – and love and welcome and keep up with those who provide that.
    Always find the most interesting people commenting on your posts. So many blogs, so little time!

    1. Thank you for dropping by again, philosophermouse, and adding more value with your comments and insight. You’re always welcome here!

  14. Made a check list from these rules. The only thing I might disagree with is that we are not all individual snowflakes. I think we are (I love the idea I am a snowflake – or maybe just a flake?), but we all should follow the same rules.

    1. You may be a snowflake if you wish to be, noelleg44! 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  15. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    A follow-up to my reblog of Susan’s post on 18th December 😀

    1. Thanks for the reblog, Mr. Ape!

    2. Christine Haggerty

      Read both blog articles and they have a few points of advice I will follow more closely (such as commenting on more blogs :). Have you ever done conferences or other events with a group of authors? I’d love some dos and don’ts for in person interactions as well. When you join a group of authors, it can become a small world very quickly.

      1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Christine! I have taken part in a number of conferences, when I was living in Alberta and promoting authors there. I participated both as an attendee and presenter, and usually set up a display table promoting books by local authors as well as myself. Conferences certainly are a great way of networkiing and meeting like-minded authors. I don’t have any advice for you (other than to just go and try to meet as many authors as you can, and attend as any sessions as possible), but I know that C. Hope Clark has written many times on the subject. You may read her excellent and informative blog here.

      2. Christine Haggerty

        Thank you! Very informative indeed

  16. Reblogged this on lightningbooksbyagmoye and commented:
    Follow up to another recent re-blog. Authors take note!

  17. I’ve reblogged this on Musings On Life & Experience, tweeted it, and pinned it on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Thank you for spreading the word around, Suzanne!

  18. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Great information. This is something to take seriously.

  19. Reblogged this on Kawanee's Korner and commented:
    Good advice…

    1. Thank you for reblogging, kawaneehamilton!

  20. A very helpful article that most if follow the steps will succeed in this crowded world of books. Have a great day, talk back, I’m listening.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, agmoye!

      1. Glad you had the time to respond.

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Maegan!

  21. Reblogged this on Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie and commented:
    Good advice…always fun to find!

    1. Thank you for the reblog!

    1. Thanks for reblogging, maliaann!

      1. You’re welcome! 🙂

  22. Reblogged this on S.K. Nicholls and commented:
    A few things that every author needs to know about promotion.

    1. Thanks for the reblog, SK!

  23. You pulled it together beautifully and so accurately. I used to get a few hundred emails a day from blogs I follow, but I’ve had to cull them. If I go to someone’s blog repeatedly and comment and never hear back from them either on my own blog or theirs, I will readily remove them from email notifications. I blog to engage readers and writers. If there is no engagement, I fear I am wasting my precious time. Actively promoting others while maintaining decent fun and informative useful content of your own is quite a challenge, but soooo worth it in the greater scope of things, but it does take time. There are those who spend enormous amounts of energy screaming about their accomplishments in self promotion while doing little to encourage others. They get removed from my list quickly. I know that there are introverts who simply read and “like” a post but aren’t comfortable in discussion. I am not speaking about those people. It’s the people that are shouting their own praises and don’t have the time of day for anyone else that I’ll avoid. We’re all in this together and helping each other along is part of the writing process.

    1. Well said, Susan! Thanks so much for adding to this discussion.

    2. Your response to this post is to coin a phrase “you’ve hit the nail on the head”
      Have a fantabulous week.

      1. Simple but factual.

  24. Reblogged this on Tricia Drammeh and commented:
    Another great post full of fabulous advice. How can I not share this with all my authorly friends?

    1. Thanks so much for reblogging, Tricia!

  25. I loved yesterday’s article, but this new post with the positive spin is refreshing. I agree with you that it’s sometimes fun to tackle this topic from a sarcastic angle, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re bashing authors.

    This is fantastic advice that any author can use, whether you’re a newbie or an author with a few books under your belt. Promoting a book can be very overwhelming. To be honest, I hate the process of promoting my books. I’d much rather promote other authors than promote myself. This list breaks down the process into bite-size pieces and most of the tips are based on establishing a sense of community with other authors, which is so very important. It all goes back to #1. You are not the only author out there with a book, which is a good thing! We can make friends with other authors, support each other, and learn from each other. There is nothing better than that.

    1. Thanks for your comments and your support, Tricia!

  26. Thank you for sharing these excellent tips. Unfortunately some people are too lazy to do all the work and expect some magic wand to make things happen overnight. Notthing happens overnight, indie authors need to spend three times more effort and time than actually writing the books to build a fan base. It is a lot of hard work but it pays off in the end. I reblogged and tweeted this excellent article, I am planning to write a blog post about this myself, too.

  27. Reblogged this on Leona's Blog of Shadows and commented:
    Another excellent article from one of my favorite bloggers. Every author needs to read this, and send it to at least 10 author friends. This is how Amanda Hocking sold 1.5 million copies of her self published books on Amazon.

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Leona!

  28. Author Rebecca Heishman

    Love this, Susan. I’ve had to put myself on a ‘blogger diet.’ I am more selective these days when it comes to following blogs. I did become overwhelmed with the number of bloggers out there. I couldn’t possibly follow and appreciate them all. I have chosen to follow bloggers who are supportive of others. There are a few bloggers out there who are of the same mind-set as the competitive authors we see on other social media sites who are competing with their fellow authors to win some kind of race. I was following some of those blogging individuals and I grew weary of their pompous rhetoric. You can always tell when a blogger is writing for his own satisfaction, feeding his own self-esteem, and not for the benefit of others. So, I stopped following those bloggers and moved on. I’ve had to make my writing my priority because I simply don’t have the time to absorb all the blogging content out there. So, I’ve chosen to stay with bloggers who are kind human beings who are supportive of their fellow-writers.

    1. Thank you, Rebecca, for your on-going support and for being one of the kindest human beings I know!

  29. Okay. Now you have gone too far. It’s not enough that you tirelessly promote other authors, showcase them on YOUR Blog, but now. Now you have these awesome gems to offer? Are you trying for sainthood? Thank you Susan, these are great tips, and I am re-blogging on my social media.

    1. That’s Saint Susan to you, Mr. Lockie! (No, actually, if you read the two blog posts, you’ll realize that there’s nothing new here. Well, maybe a few more new points, but essentially the same from a positive approach.) Thanks for commenting nd reblogging!

  30. Reblogged this on Seumas Gallacher and commented:
    …having reblogged the first delivery, can hardly NOT re blog this also: Authors, this is for all of you, (and for me!) from my pal Susan M Toy…

  31. …having reblogged the first delivery, can hardly NOT re blog this also:

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