All authors of every genre are expected to promote their work however it is published. Some publishers assess a writer’s social media presence – the so-called ‘author platform’ – before even considering a submission for publication.
Extraverts may revel in an internet scrum for the limelight, but many writers find self-promotion a painful process of competitive boasting that does not come naturally to them.
One way of alleviating the stress is to promote your work in ways that give something of value to your audience while drawing attention to your book. I call it ‘Generous Marketing’. And here are a few examples:
- On your blog, post articles, stories and images giving useful additional or background information relevant to your book. Whatever your genre, think about related people and places, past or present events, or share some insights into your writing process.
2. On social media, interacting with others to give value and support is both more pleasant and more effective than blasting followers’ streams with demands to buy a book.
3. Design marketing materials – flyers, post cards, bookmarks – that offer something worth keeping. In the double-sided bookmarks below, the first gives on the reverse a source of encouragement aimed specifically at the book’s intended audience; the second provides quotes to delight any avid reader.
4. Depending on your marketing budget, promotional products such as T-shirts, tote bags, pens or coasters with images and/or texts about your book create enduring publicity.
5. Share a little of your work in ‘meet the author’ sessions. Author events are a highly competitive field, but most bookshops will host local authors, and it is worth approaching reading clubs, libraries, or interest groups related to the themes of your book (and where you can distribute your marketing materials).
6. Donate a copy of your book for competition prizes, raffles and charity fund-raisers or give copies in a lucky draw on social media. Pick causes or ‘ways to win’ that have some bearing on the subjects you write about.
Once you tune in to the idea of Generous Marketing, of giving while you promote, your own creativity will produce many other possibilities that make the whole process more palatable – even enjoyable.
For more on marketing your work as well as planning, researching, writing, editing and publishing (there is much for fiction as well as non-fiction writers), see Writing Your Nonfiction Book: The Complete Guide to Becoming an Author.
And if you want a closer look at those quotes on reading and stories: