Great, you’ve written a book! You spent days, weeks, months, even years on your current project. You’ve probably made it through the drudgery of editing and finally have a print or ebook–whether you’re with a traditional publisher or have gone the self-publishing route. The hard part is finally over and now you can let your publisher promote it for you, or just let momentum build by word of mouth. You’ve produced a great book and it will surely sell itself, right? Wrong.
As an author of more than 30 books I know how much time and effort goes into writing, but I quickly realized that it’s only 20% of the process, while promoting and marketing are 80%. That knowledge was enough to make me run from writing and never look back. Once the shock wore off and I realized I was on my own, I decided to roll up my sleeves and learn all I could about marketing and promoting my books.
First, I had to be honest with myself, I had a full time job, a part time job, and was a single parent. I didn’t have the time, money, or energy to put a whole lot into peddling my books. I needed to find avenues that were free or at least cheap, and wouldn’t require me sitting at the computer for eons at a time.
It couldn’t involve anything outside of the house since I barely had enough time to breathe and occasionally shower. There was no way I was going to go out and pitch my books to local book stores and libraries, then show up for signings and speaking engagements. Whatever I did to market my work had to be done in my bathrobe with a cup of strong coffee at my elbow. Also, the more things I could get done online, the better.
After years of trial and error, after spending more time, energy, and money than I should have, these are the top three methods that worked best for me. Of course, there are countless ways to promote a book and I hope you’ll seek out other methods over time.
1. Search online for blogs and websites in your book niche or genre. Contact the owner and see if they’ll put a thumbnail picture of your book’s cover, a description, and a link back to Amazon or wherever your book is published. If you have a blog or website you may be able to swap ads, or offer a free copy of your book. I’ve found it pretty easy to barter for advertising.
2. You can offer to write an article or blog post. Again, seeking out blogs and websites that relate to the topic of your book, approach the owner and offer to write a quality article for them for free as long as the owner posts a link back to your book.
3. Saving the best for last. This completely free way to advertise myself and my books is something too many writers ignore. Online article sites such as Yahoo Contributor Network, Ezine Articles, Divine Caroline and others allow you to post your article along with your bio, information about your book, and a link. These websites offer you an enormous amount of exposure all for the cost or writing an article!
Once you’ve tackled these three promotion avenues, find others you might want to try. Some authors love doing radio shows or virtual book tours while others enjoy book signings or online author chats. Remember, promoting your book starts and ends with you. In one way this is freeing since you know everything is in your hands.