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.