I can see the start line up there, just barely. See it? That little, bitty flag blowing in the wind, on March 17th. See it now?
That's the day SOUL STEALER is released and my dream of becoming a published novelist finally sees the light of day. My first book. I'm still in shock. It's a good kind of it's-my-birthday-all-year-let's-all-eat-cake kind of shock.
It's my first book, what do I do to promote it? I want to step on the field with a flames shooting out of my racing shoes and the crowd cheering my name. I need to promote myself and my book but how? I am going to tell you what I have come up with so far. If you have anything to add, please do. My goal is to learn and help others as so many people have helped me.
Okay, so where did I begin? I started off by asking questions and taking notes. I've harassed, um I mean kindly asked, authors, marketing people, reviewers, and website coordinators the burning question--what can a new author do to promote herself?
A couple answers have been repeated over and over again:
1) Write the best darn book you can and then turn around and write another. The theory being, once readers find you and like your book, they will go in search of anything else you've written. Your books are the best way to market yourself.
2) Have a website. Okay, this one is almost a given. We live in the age of the internet. If readers can't find you on the web, you might as well not exist. Do you need an expensive website? No. A free website came with my verizon account. It was amazingly simple to set up and I didn't need to know any computer language to do so. Is it the best site out there? (Don't make me chuckle, I'm drinking coffee.) Um, no. I did it myself people and there was a reason I took that computer language class twice in college. But it will do, for now. There are other ways to get a free site too, or relatively cheap ones. check around. There are also many web designers out there. Ask around. But do get a website. Now, or when you have the pen poised over the dotted line of your first book contract.
3) Have a web presence. The website you need. But do you also need to be on Facebook? My Space? Your own blog? Forums? Only you can answer this question, but I believe the more I'm "out there" the more people will remember me when my book comes out. At the RWA Conference last year, at least five people "recognized" me from the Romance Divas forum. Do not underestimate the power of the internet. It's like your very own red cape right there under your fingertips.
You have probably heard those things before. But there are other places you can promote your book too. Please note that my book is a romance, so the websites I talk about are mostly geared to that genre, but I'm sure you can find websites for other genres if you get on google and look for them.
1) Your publisher-check to see if your publisher has a blog or other promotional ideas. There may be blogging groups set up that you can join. Or a day you can blog on the publisher's site.
2) Novelspot (http://novelspot.net/) At Novelspot, I was able to put up an author page which included my picture, bio, blurb, and buy book link. For a small fee, this will be up for one year!
3) Authors promoting authors (http://authorspromotingauthors.blogspot.com) A free spot to promote your book and provide excerpts, blogs...The only catch is you will post the previous author's blog to yours. Authors helping authors. I LIKE it.
4) Advertise on websites where potential readers are. Several of the romance websites for readers sell advertising spots for authors and many will do reviews and interviews, such as, Night Owl Romance, Coffee Time Romance, Romance Junkies, The Romance Studio... the point is to buy ads where potential readers hang out. Seems simple enough, right? You may be able to buy a spot for your cover only, or your banner with a buy link to your book. Many of these sites also have forums that allow you to promote.
7) Hang out in the forums where your readers are. This helps you to connect with readers and get a pulse on what potential readers are looking for.
8) Do interviews on author sites and reciprocate the favor.
9) The goodies. Determine how much you want to spend on promotional give-me's. I decided to print postcards and hand them out around town. I used Vista Print for my post card with the picture of my cover on the front, blurb, ordering information and author details on the back. You can spend a fortune on these little trinkets and the jury is out as to how much they actually help book sales.
10) Contests. It seems like a good idea to have contests that maybe the winner receives a copy of your book. Contests drive folks to your blog or website. I have yet to do this, but will once March 17 rolls around.
Don't forget to be professional, gracious, and kind. Promoting isn't always about selling your books, but more about connect with people. Let me know what works for you.
Good luck out there!