Tag Archives: self-promotion

Promoting away!

These past several months I’ve been doing what I could to promote, sell and sign copies of Buying Time. Today’s economy mixed with ever changing technology creating fewer actual readers makes selling words printed on paper harder than ever. The fun thing about my efforts is the variety of venues I’ve tried.

I’ve already mentioned Imagicopter on this page and if you’ve read that blog, you know how hyped I am about it. I won’t repeat that blog except to say that Imagicopter is a loose conglomeration of independent authors, cartoonists and artists who join together for mutual promotional efforts. In general, Imagicopter events are at libraries and indy-minded bookstores (like DK Books in Memphis). Some events have been at comic and sci-fi conventions. Imagicopter has helped me to go places I probably wouldn’t have been able to get to do alone.

I’ve also done some local craft shows and community festivals. Those may be among some of my most interesting experiences as the people who attend these events run the full scale of characters. Truthfully, it was one such event which inspired this blog. In general, most of the people who attend this type of show didn’t come to see a writer or buy a book. Many of them are just out killing a Saturday afternoon (or morning). What’s funny, though, are the responses I get when I try to speak with them as they meander past my table. This is certainly not a scientific study, so don’t hold me to these numbers. But roughly half of the people walk by my table or booth without even stopping. Most of them with nod at me, say hello, or smile as they continue their trek. A few refuse to make eye contact. Of the ones who stop, a little more than half of them ask me what I’m doing. I accept that as an honest inquiry and tell them about my book. Of the ones who don’t speak (yes, I generally try to speak first!), some of them pick the book up and read the back cover copy. Some of them tap the book as they walk by. Most of them make some kind of comment about the title. Because of the book’s title, I get many many comments about “killing time” and the like. A few find out what I’m doing and then want to tell me about their own great idea for a book.

Some of my favorite comments are:

*I’ll have to tell my friend about this book. She likes to read.

*I had an idea like this once. I just never wrote it down.

*You should get this book into Books-A-Million (or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, etc).

*Do you believe in time travel?

*I traveled back in time once. Do you believe that?

*My son (or daughter or cousin or etc) is a great writer. I bet if they did this book they’d make millions. (my follow up is usually something like: “Really? That’s great. What have they written?” “Oh, nothing. But they’re a great writer.”)

*I’ve got an idea for a book…you want to hear it?

And, probably my favorite…

*If I have any money left at the end of the day, I’ll have to buy one.


Filed under General

Writers must self-promote, part 2

I didn’t anticipate self-promotion to take up so much space…but here is the highly anticipated, shortly-awaited, part 2 of the self-promotion plan for writers!

Aside from the various print media and signings at bookstores and such, writers should look into other ways to promote themselves. Cable and satellite television has made this next option a little tougher, but many places still have “local” tv. Most local television stations have some sort of “good morning” show, or the equivalent at noon or some other time. The point is that it is local. And often, they love to talk to writers—it’s cool. Call them or send them a package with the press release telling them you thought it might interest them and that you’d love to come talk about your newly published work. If you’re a little nervous about doing it, get a friend to call them up and tell them what’s happened and that they should get you on their show. A good friend will do that for you!

Radio stations are another possibility. While many of the local stations carry nationally syndicated programs, like television, some radio stations still have their own local shows. Air time on radio is very tight as radio stations are having their own financial difficulties, but again, search for the angle that will interest them. Try to think of why it’d be neat to have you on their program.

Conferences or conventions often allow writers to set up a promotional table and push their work. Comic book conventions may be better about doing this and the smaller shows will often give the authors space just to get them there. Larger shows want to charge for table space and you’ll have to determine whether it is worth the investment or not. The main thing is to put yourself in front of people; shake hands, smile, let them see you.

Obviously one of the latest and greatest ways for authors to promote themselves is through the various and sundry internet outlets: facebook, myspace, twitter, blogging, and the like. Writers have to be careful with these as they can often be very time consuming and the ratio of returns/hours…well, sometimes they’re a black hole that is tough to get out of. Use this technology, but use it carefully.

I’m sure there are several other ways for free self-promotion for authors. If you can think of one, please add it below to share with all. The main thing is for writers not to depend solely on the publisher to promote the work. Sure, we want them to do as much as they can, but a writer/publisher relationship is a team—the writer’s responsibility doesn’t end when he’s typed “finish.”

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Filed under writing

Writers must self-promote

Getting your work promoted as a writer can often be a job in and of itself. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a name like Stephen King or John Grisham, or unless you’re on the bestseller list, publishers often do very little to promote your great-American-whateveritisyou’vewritten.

It’s not that they don’t want to or that they don’t do anything, but the more they do the less profit the work will make and thus everyone gets paid less. More times than not, they’re just worried about trying to make their money back. So, publishers rely on doing as much of the free stuff they can. But writers should also take up the slack and work to promote themselves…after all, it’s their work!

So what sorts of things can writers do?

The first thing is to get a list of all publications that might have an interest in the writer: local newspapers, church bulletins and newsletters, college/alumni magazines, and the like. If you’ve lived in multiple cities, include the newspapers there as well. The hometowns where writers grew up are often especially interested in news.

With list in hand, send a press release with the pertinent information: the name of your work and where it can be purchased locally and online. Each individual release will have to be personalized to let the specific publication know why they should be interested in the material…but they will be interested in the “home-town writer publishes book” story or “local writer” angles. It may not be printed immediately and it may not get front page coverage, but it will be free. Many times those press releases generate interest enough that the publication will decide to actually call you up for an interview. Be prepared to answer all their questions. Also be prepared for them to get a quote wrong somewhere along the way.

Another easy suggestion is book signings. Be warned, these run the spectrum. I’ve been at signings where I was busy the entire time…and I’ve been at signings where I wondered if would even sign one copy! Don’t expect the store to do all the work—talk it up. Send a press release to the newspaper. You might ask them to include it with “community events” before the signing. And, if you’re lucky, they may even send a photographer to the signing.

If the option is available to you, purchase copies of your work and take them with you. Tell the store manager that they only have to pay for what they sell; you’ll take the “leftovers” back with you. Why? Because you want the manager to WANT you to be there and to have plenty of copies. If he feels he’ll have to buy a lot of copies for his customers but may get stuck with a bunch he can’t sell after you leave…well, he’s less inclined to have you. If you are taking most of the risk, then often the manager is excited to have you and will work with you.

There are more suggestions, but I’ll have to include them in part 2!


Filed under writing