A writer needs to learn how to promote themselves.
I’ve always had to learn how to be comfortable sitting outside of bookstores at a signing table, or standing up in front of a crowd of people talking about my writing and trying to get folks worked up about that whole act of actually pulling some money out of their wallet and buying one of my books.
So the onslaught of indie publishing and books on Amazon or Kobo; the avalanche of book porn and Facebook flogging and Twitter-powered book plugs just isn’t anything new.
Book promotion is an old art.
If you doubt my words why don’t you climb into the Wabac machine and aim it for the late nineteenth century.
You get back there you are going to find Mark Twain – otherwise known to his friends as Samuel Clemens – traveling from city to city shouting and reciting and pleading to local audiences.
By all reports Twain didn’t much care for this side of the business – but he had to do it to pay the bills.
So stop your moaning about how the internet has forced you into a career of long-term literary harlotry. We writers have ALWAYS needed to possess a certain degree of applied huckster ability. We all need to make friends with the soapbox and a writer who craves success needs to improve his pogo stick techniques and learn to jump up on that soapbox and make a speech.
(how badly can you mangle a metaphor, Vernon?)
And I see you there Billy with those two bars of Irish Spring duct-taped to your feet.
(and doesn’t that tall hirsute dude have one of the worst put-on Irish accents in the history of Hollywood? By the sainted ghost of Barry Fitzgerald himself, Lord crying out blarney!)
So I have decided that 2014 is going to be a year of promotion for me.
That does not mean that I want to become one of those moronic meat puppets who spends his days upon Facebook making every single Facebook update a mind-numbing plea to BUY MY BOOK!
Nor do I intend to spend my hours skulking in public washrooms scrawling BUY MY BOOK upon hitherto untainted porcelain surfaces.
But I need to draw more people’s attention to my work.
So I have begun exploring the art of cheap and dirty book promotion.
I am not talking about some of the bigger and fancier sites such as BOOKBUB or PIXELS OF INK.
Those fancy sites all require a certain amount of money and a certain amount of book reviews to qualify. I don’t have the money and I am only slowly building up my book reviews.
No sir, I am talking about the quick and dirty websites that specialize in book promotion at a low, low cost.
Here’s one of them that I am trying today.
Today ReadCheaply.com is promoting my redneck noir novella, HAMMURABI ROAD. The novella is available for 99cents this month, marked down from a regular price of $2.99. You click that picture of the hairy balaclava-sporting dude above this paragraph and it will take you to the listing for Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple.
All I had to do for that listing is to promise to cross-promote the listing a little bit – on account of ReadCheaply.com is still building a readership. So whether or not this listing is going to actually be read or acted upon by anyone is another question entirely. Still, the website looks very professional and the moderators are very energetic in their attempts at promotion so I was immediately attracted to their company.
Another promotional website that has my books listed is StoryFinds, run by local Halifax author Renee Fields.
I’ve been with these folks for a while and they regularly promote my work and help me to raise my digital profile by mentioning me on their Facebook and listing my work on their website and sending out Tweets about my work.
That is what promotion is all about. One single Tweet may or may not sell you a book – but if you get several different promotional efforts out there working in harmony together you will very likely achieve more sales.
This is how it works.
Think of rocks in a stream. You throw one rock – you make one Tweet – and those ripples will splash out across the water and maybe reach the other shore.
You get a bunch of your friends together or you hire somebody to throw rocks for you and those ripples will begin to accumulate and to build into a genuine homemade tsunami of literary promotion.
Gee, you’d think I know what I am talking about, wouldn’t you?
Storyfinds has a lot of promotional options for authors. They are fast and professional and they reach an awful lot of readers. So definitely check these folks out as well for your very next book promotion.
That’s all I have got for you today.
I intend to make this a regular part of my blog over the next few months. I will turn over stones and try to unearth more ways for all of my fellow indie authors out there to promote and publicize your work.
We’re all in the same boat together so we might as well row for shore.
How do YOU folks self-promote?
yours in storytelling,
Really useful info and a much needed nudge and reminder. Thank you!
My pleasure, Harriet.
Keep in mind, I am no expert. I am just trying to figure things out as I go along.
“How do you self-promote?”
Thank you for the excellent reminder that I need to be figuring out how to do this with my first novel here. This is great information and I appreciate your kindness in sharing it. Thank you!
I suck at it too, Cat, but I keep messing with it and sooner or later I intend to figure this out properly. Partly I need some more reviews on certain books so that I can hit some of the bigger promotional sites. Partly I need some more money, so that I can likewise hit some of the bigger – and more expensive – promotional sites.
Mostly I need a new brain, is all.
Shouldn’t have taken that left turn at Albuquerque that took me right off of the yellow brick road.
Very handy info. I’m just gathering myself to do the most humongous marketing push to mark the completion of the K’Barthan Trilogy… Which, due to a bit of a cock up on my part, is 4 books long. All this stuff will come in handy as I try to walk the tiny thin line between aggressive marketing and spam. Sheesh.
That’s not a trilogy – that’s a trilogy with an EXTRA BONUS BOOK!
You have to print that in all-caps and stand up and shout while you are typing it on your keyboard.
Spin it, doctor McGuire! 🙂
Mwahahahaargh. Nice angle. I’ll have to try that.
Thanks for this post, Steve. Not only is it a good reminder that we’re not alone in marketing, it gave me some resources to look into for promoting my work.
Being an author doesn’t stop with a dream or a published book, that’s really only the beginning, isn’t it?
Thanks for reading,
author of Arm Farm, Brain Tales and Blood Day
Finally got around to reading this post, Steve, and I’m very appreciative of the pointers. Having just gotten my novel up on Amazon and Kobo, it’s time for me to get on with the serious business of promoting.
And that Irish Spring commercial took me back. Quite a distance. Further than I wanted to go, actually. It’s so cringeworthy now, it almost hurts. And you’re right about the tall guy’s accent. Lame as lame can be. Ah, nostalgia.
Again, great post. Thanks for sharing.
Well, I’m glad my post helped a bit, Eric. Keep in mind that some of the stuff I try isn’t exactly successful – so take a look at what I’ve done and try to learn a bit from my goof-ups. 🙂