|Nicole Murphy – Photo by Cat Sparks
How do you go about promoting your work, what has worked best so far, and what would you have done differently if you’d known what you know now?
Ah, promotion. The bugbear of every writer. Everytime you get published authors together, the topic of promotion inevitably comes up and with it the question – does it even work?
We all know the only thing that really sells books is Word of Mouth – buzz, people talking about it, people being excited. The question – how to make that happen? Does doing blogs, interviews like this, work? Does advertising? What about giveaways of the books? Reviews?
A couple of things that people agree do work to get your name out:
- giveaways (because if folks love the book, they will tell others or go buy your future books)
- targeted advertising (find the websites or magazines that are the focus of your genre and only advertise there)
- being available for all interview and blog writing requests
- being on social media
- attending conventions.
Things that people disagree on:
- blog tours (some folks say they see a definite spike, others say it’s too much work for too little return)
- book trailers (you can find mine on youtube: trailer 1, trailer 2, trailer 3).
Things that people agree DON’T work – book tours.
But with all these things, no one’s sure if any of it actually means book sales. The only thing that does: when booksellers love your books they will hand sell, so you visit bookstores, talk to booksellers.
For Rogue Gadda, I’ve decided to do a blog tour. Not too big – I’m visiting about a dozen blogs around the place, blogging on different things. The thinking behind this is the old advertising maxim – the more people see your name, the more it becomes memorable and recognisable. So then hopefully next time they’re in a bookstore, they’ll see my books, remember me, think I sounded pretty cool and buy.
I’m also hosting a series of guest posts on my blog. I’ve called on some of my writing friends to give their thoughts on a topic and I’ll post them over a couple of weeks in early July. This not only makes it easy for me to have content on my blog when I’m busy writing blogs for others, but also I hope they might direct some traffic and potential readers my way.
I do the trailers because I enjoy doing them. I do all this promotional stuff not necessarily because I think it will work, but because it gives me a sense of some control over the fate of my books when in reality, I have none.
The other issue I’ve got is that my books are available electronically overseas. I want people to know that, because those sales help me. So I’m having to try not to keep my promotion to Australia but to spread it far and wide.
Generally, I try to do something promotional every day. It might not see the light of day for several days, or weeks, but I do something. I write in the morning, then do promotional stuff in the afternoon. It’s the only way to find the time to do everything.
I’m lucky – I’m not working at anything but this. Most writers have day jobs and find it hard enough to make time to write, let alone find EXTRA time to do promotion. But with so many books being released nowadays, you’ve got to work hard to make yourself heard.
So my advice:
- start building up a community now
- work out what social media works for you (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, blogging) and start doing it now
- attend conventions, writers groups and get yourself known (because the community is INCREDIBLY supportive)
- write, submit and promote every publication you make.
- and the moment you sign a big contract, plan how you’re going to promote.
Speaking of promotion – Saturday July 2 is the launch of my third book, Rogue Gadda. It’s taking place at PJ O’Reilly’s Pub in Civic, starting at 6pm. If you want to come, RSVP to me on firstname.lastname@example.org