Any industry professional will tell you that you should be promoting yourself and your writing 2-3 YEARS before you ever hit the shelves. Which means that you need to be promoting yourself now, not when you get an agent, not when you get a contract, but before all that. It’s how buzz is built and you start to get some following now, people who when your book does hit the shelves are ready to buy it and perhaps even help spread the word.
So what can you do to promote yourself now? Blogs of course are huge in this arena as are Twitter, Facebook and numerous other social media sites. Networking is all about meeting people and how better to meet the world than on the world wide net?
Another great idea that I’ve seen is book trailers. One of my lovely gal friends that I met through Twitter, Natasha, has a book blog for her yet unpublished work. It’s an amazing trailer and she’s developing quite the following just from that, at last count she's had over 12,000 hits! There are, numerous sites that can help you build a book trailer if you aren’t savvy enough on your own. Animoto is a book trailer site that has won many awards for their work and has been recommended to me by those who have used it.
So how else can you promote yourself? Attending writer’s conferences are not only educational, and give you a chance to pitch your work, but they allow for person to person networking. It was at a conference that I met Sharon Lynn Fisher who has Robin Rue for an agent, Tor for a publisher and is a finalist of the Golden Heart Award. Not to mention that she is a fabulous lady who has been great to correspond with about my own bumps in the road. I’ve met people who’ve become part of my local writers group and people who’ve become part of my long distance writers group, all who have knowledge and experience to bring to the table. I’ve found this to be one of the most fulfilling ways to promote yourself and network and try to attend at least one a year now.
Of course, there are more ways than I can fit in a single blog on how to promote yourself, but I will leave you with two final tips.
1. Don’t just push your writing and your brand so much that you push people away from you. Make friends, even on Twitter where you only have 140 characters to write something. Reach out to others and help them promote their work, show your interest in them and it will be returned.
2. Don’t let the promotional/networking take over your writing time. This is an easy thing to have happen and when it comes right down to it, your writing is what sells you. No amount of great PR can make people love a book that isn’t well written, the characters are flat and the dialogue hum drum.
Any last thoughts? Promotional ideas that you’d like to share?