There are a few authors that actually like promotion, but most of us would rather get our hair styled by Donald Trump’s barber. Well, maybe not, but the point is we’re writers not promoters, and it’s so hard to figure out the what, when and where of promoting our books. Try to find stats on what works and what doesn’t work. Nada.
So take heart in that because you can do whatever feels comfortable and what works for you. No wrong or right. Here’s my list of the top ten do’s and don’t’s of promotion. Not necessarily in order of importance.
- Don’t try to do it all. Pick and choose because if you try to join every loop, every social site, print every form of promo – guess what – not only will you never write your next book, you’ll go broke both financially and mentally.
- Do join Facebook. This is my personal social media favorite. Some authors prefer Twitter. Some do both.
- Do blog. You don’t have to have your own blog. Find some blogs to guest on a couple of times a month. The best ones are not all in-your-face promo, but they invite readers to enjoy the banter or subjects of interest.
- Do/Don’t be active on loops. Okay, I’m on the fence here. I belong to several loops and all I do a great deal of monitoring. I’ll occasionally comment and I like to support other authors when they ask. But if I spent my time commenting on all of them, my next book would not get written. So I monitor, have them on digest and I learn so much.
- Do network. Join RWA, your local RWA or any of the other groups for writers. I know there are mystery groups and children’s lit groups. These groups keep you in the know and will offer more info on promotion and learning your craft.
- Do be part of a critique group. I don’t believe I’d ever have gotten published without my critique partners input. This isn’t really marketing but then again, it’s a form of networking.
- Don’t quiet your mother when she wants to tell everyone including the grocery store checkout lady that you’re an author. My mom has sold a good number of books for me. I did have to stop her when she found out Barnes & Noble by her house didn’t carry my book – she was going to buy some and put them on the shelf herself. My point is, encourage friends and family to talk you up.
- Do have some bookmarks or post cards/business cards. If you haven’t published yet, have business cards anyway. Don’t get carried away – just a few. And get them from others in the business. Networking can never start too soon and these contacts may come in handy when you’re ready to publish. If you’ve published, get those bookmarks or post cards out there. I’m not a fan of spending money on any other kind of promo items. But this one is useful and sought after by readers.
- Do have a professional looking web site, even before you’re published. If you have the time and no money, do it yourself. I’ve seen many good ones that authors have designed themselves. First study what’s out there so you know what works.
- Do write your next book and the next and the next. The more you have published, the more you sell. One book is the best promo for the next one.