Nowadays it’s no longer a matter of whether or not an author should promote his or her book, but how aggressively one should go about it. The sad truth is that publishers often fail to promote books, and if we, the authors, don’t promote your own book then it may be destined to a lifespan between that of butter and yogurt, to paraphrase Calvin Trillan. The author’s extra efforts may make all the difference between a book becoming a long-lived seller, and being recycled so that some other author can take advantage of the paper.
What to do then? One cannot concoct a general rule for promoting books. This method obviously has drawbacks, because every book is different and requires its own special approach. So, the primary thing to do is consider your target audience.
And that’s a good place to start–your audience. Presumably, your book is aimed at a particular market or markets. Perhaps it is nutrition, parenting, health, travel, mystery fans, or nature. The first thing you should do is to track down the magazines that are read by the people who will be reading your book.
But before sending a press release to the publication, take time out to find the editor who reviews books or who covers the subject that you’ve written about.
Here are some ways to self-promote your book:
- Create Your Website
- Arranging for an Author Interview
- Trade Shows
- Email Newsletters
- Magazine Articles
- Discussion Groups/NewsGroups
- Other PR Resources
A large part of promoting your book is promoting yourself and making sure your name is recognizable to your target audience. While you may not reach cult status, you can go a long way to establish yourself as an expert on your subject matter by becoming heavily involved in the community for which you write. To Brand yourself and your work do the following:
Create Your Website
Websites have become crucial marketing tools for authors and are a great calling card. Create a website that provides value to your audience and lets them get to know you and your work. Give people extra tips and tricks they won’t find in the book, update any outdated information and provide news and reviews of your books and news that you know of in the community. If you are really ambitious you can create your own community around your website.
Arranging for an Author Interview
Many publishers have done marketing studies showing that authors who provide comments on their books or participates in author interviews on the online bookstores sell more books online. This is a no-brainer as it doesn’t take much of your time and is perceived as an added value for your reader. Large websites, such as Borders.com, make a practice of interviewing authors.
Trade Shows are a fantastic place to promote your book. Every attendee and speaker is a possible book-buyer. Try to arrange with your publisher to do a book signing either at their booth or at the trade show bookstore. Many authors sell thousands of their books at a single trade show. If you can find a chance to speak at a trade show or are invited to speak on one of the panels, the best bet to opt for. Aside from being great book publicity, it’s another way to get your name out there in the community.
Teaching is a great way to develop your pedagogy. It’s also a great way to understand how people learn the technology, what their frequently asked questions are, and how you can best improve your books so that they are most easily understood. If you are not interested in teaching at the local university or community college, you might want to consider teaching online courses. There are numerous online education companies looking for authors to help teach their courses. Most authors find online teaching to be enjoyable, lucrative, and something that can be done almost simultaneously with writing books.