Self-Promotion – Be Shameless
by Erin Thorne
The importance of self-promotion cannot be overestimated, especially for new writers. You’ve spent a great deal of time and energy creating your work. However, if you stop there, you’ve only done half the job. Arranging book events and being proactive in your approach to marketing is crucial to getting your name out there, and to building your audience.
There are several steps you can take that are free, and only minimally time consuming. One is creating Author’s Pages on Facebook and Amazon. These can be customized with pictures of yourself and/or your book(s), a brief bio, videos, and links to your website and Twitter account. Another is looking up and contacting newspapers and libraries in and around the town in which you’ll be doing a signing. This ought to be done a few weeks in advance, to allow enough time for the public to both become aware of your scheduled appearance, and to mark their calendars. Many free templates for crafting press releases are available online, which you can use to promote your event, and even the book itself. Try sending one to your local paper, and in addition to generating publicity for the signing, you may secure an interview.
Of course, you need to book an event before you can promote it. While large chain bookstores can be somewhat hesitant in inviting little-known authors to appear, independent bookstores tend to be more gracious. I’ve looked up ones within a reasonable driving distance and sent them press releases, or simply called them, with very satisfying results. Other hospitable venues include libraries and cafés; you’ll likely have to do your own promotion, such as printing flyers and notifying the press, but it’s worth it.
Once you’ve got a date, you can also create an event on Facebook to inform your friends, family, and co-workers about what you’re doing. From personal experience, I’ve found that personally inviting Facebook friends to signings isn’t as effective as one would think, and can irritate those who’ve been asked to attend an event that occurs at a locale far from their home. You’re better off creating it and posting it as a status update a couple of times a week, starting two to three weeks before the signing takes place. However, if you create a promotion event that takes place entirely online, such as a book giveaway, feel free to invite your friends, and ask them to share the link on their own pages.
The more effort you put forth, the more results you’ll see. I have two children, one of whom is an attention-requiring two-year old, and I’m working on other writing projects as well. My time and money are both limited; while life’s circumstances can make self-marketing a bit more challenging, it is nonetheless essential to one’s writing career, and can serve as a stepping-stone to landing an agent and enjoying some degree of success.
Good luck, and happy writing!