We were all so relieved when book publishing became fast and easy. Everyone believe they could realize their dream of publishing their book. We quickly found out, publishing is the easy part. If you don’t promote your book it won’t sell. So here are 10 ways to promote your book.
10 Ways to Promote Your Book
1. Build an author’s website
If you build a website do not build a book specific website! We have written several articles that talk about building a website, and as we said in those articles build a site that promotes you! Who you are AND the book. Many authors feel if they build a site to promote the book, the book will sell more because it has its own website. This is not the case. The internet doesn’t work that way. You need to build a brand. As an author your name IS the brand. So build a site that promote you as the author. Of course then when your second book comes out, you won’t have to do this process all over again.
2. Create social networks
You need to begin promoting your website and your book. The best way to do this is through social networks (there are other ways, but this is the FREE option). Join Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In to start. You don’t really want to go crazy with it and post on 100s of social networks. The problem with starting 100 different profiles, is that it will eventually do you as much harm as it does good. At first you’ll start these many many profiles with the intention of keeping up with all of them. What will really happen is you will forget or simply stop posting on them, and then people will think that your brand has died. Just start with the basic sites. If you find that you like the social-network approach, you can expand later.
3. Write a Press Releases
You should always have a well written press release handy. You should send these press releases to local media and media sites on the web. If you have funding you can use a site like prweb.com. They, for a price, will distribute your news to 100s of news sites and newspapers. Just keep in mind that those sites do not have to run your press release. It’s a dice roll really. A good press release is essential.
4. List on Amazon
I won’t go too deeply into this. Many authors publish through Amazon, or it’s a no brainier that you should be listed on Amazon. It is essential and obvious, but just in case some small press author doesn’t know, make sure you list your book with Amazon.
5. Business Cards
I know this sounds weird as an author, but you should have something to give to people to let them know where to go to buy your book. To really promote your book you want to do lectures, readings or even trade shows. Make sure that you have something to give to people who show an interest. I recommend making business cards or bookmarks to hand out to people. You can design your own at Vistaprint (they are very good and affordable). If you do not have copies of your book this is the best way to go. I would make these cards or book marks about the book and not about YOU. If you are running a service you can certainly put your face on the bookmark, but if you are selling your book, I think product specific cards and bookmarks are best (just an opinion). Make sure your website is listed on the card, and make sure you have a scanable UPC: you can make one here: http://goqr.me/
Reading your book to the public can be a powerful way to sell copies. Yes you can even promote your book in the real world. I highly recommend that you begin calling coffeehouses and even universities in your area. Many coffeehouses and bookstores are really looking for people who can bring people into their stores. Readings are a great way to get people interested. When you do a book or poetry reading spend some time on what you are going to read and what you are going to say. Planning it out is a very good idea. You can also contact libraries and look for trade shows or book fairs.
7. Book launch/website party
When you first publish your book you want to have a party. You can do this at a local bookstore, if they are interested. You should at least have your friends and family come, but if you can afford to rent a small venue so that the public can come, it will be worth your while. You can try to set this up at your local library, a nice restaurant, or anywhere the public can sort of walk through to get exposure.
8. Places for Authors
Finding services on the web that promote books is getting easier. A year ago this wouldn’t have made the list, but now more and more sites are letting authors promote their works. We have our Self-Published and Small Press Book site. Go here and fill out our form and your book will soon appear on our site. Please also go here and sign up so that you can promote other authors (your listing will be emailed to the list).
9. Literary Magazines
There are 1000s of literary magazines out there, and many are looking for content. Go here, to our literary magazine database, find 10 literary magazines, contact them and ask if they will publish an excerpt from your book or do an interview. I would guess that every other one will accept your work or the interview. You can also send poetry or short stories to be published in the lit mag. Make sure you have a link to your book in your bio.
10. Make a book trailer
Book Promos/videos have become very popular on the web. It’s basically a commercial for your book. Given the popularity and ease of watching video online, as well as the traffic on YouTube, making a book video is a great way to promote your work. I don’t this one might be free. A video promo will help. It’s not the end all of promotion, but it does help. If you have a little cash to spend or if you have the skill to do this yourself, don’t skip it. If it’s not in the budget you can get by without it.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal…check our About Us page for more. Also here is info on our On Classic Articles