And so not only have you finished your first novel, you have actually published it – whether on your own, or with a publisher. Wow, those are both huge accomplishments. Now all that’s left for you to do is to sell your work to the reading public!
Um, er, and how does one do that, exactly?
Part 3: Promoting Your Book
Challenges – Well for starters, there are the two biggies: time and money. Effective promotion can cost a lot, both in hours and in dollars. And how do you know if what you’re investing in will pay off in book sales?
There’s also, again, the issue of volume. There are a lot of writers trying to sell a lot of books. If your particular book isn’t on the front racks of Barnes & Noble, how are readers going to find you?
Helpful Hints – Most of these ideas I got from talking to other writers, and if you’re feeling lost, other writers are always a good place to start. Bounce ideas off each other – chances are, you have tried some things that others haven’t, and vice versa! And in the meantime, here are a few other things you can consider:
Find your brand. You may have heard this before. But what does it mean? Well, the simplest definition is this: it’s your identity as a writer. Your brand is intimately tied to the genre in which you write. And no gender-bias intended, but this appears to be much more important for female writers than it is for male. Men tend to be “horror novelists,” or “science fiction authors.” Their name and writing style itself tends to become their brand. Not so for women. We may be “horror novelists” and “sci fi authors,” but for some reason we have to code ourselves as “romantic thriller writers,” or “paranormal authors.” Why is this? Your guess is as good as mine! (And if you think that this is a bogus observation, feel free to discard it.)
You can get a good idea of how writers are branding themselves by checking out their websites. For example, the following brands are evident on the websites of these bestselling authors: Brenda Novak – “Sophisticated, evocative romantic suspense.” Debbie Macomber – “Wherever you are, Debbie brings you home.” We could probably do a whole blog about this subject in an of itself. But the bottom line is, finding your personal brand will help your readers identify with you, and that will make them more likely to want to buy your books.
Explore the Internet. Ah, the majestic power of the mighty Interweb! Where would we be without it? (Back in 1989, I guess!) Explore the Internet and find where readers are hanging out, and where writers are meeting up with them and getting to know their public. Facebook, Goodreads, Kindleboards, Amazon discussion threads are all good places to start. Remember to be friendly and polite: readers respond better to writers who aren’t only trying to hock their wares. Learn the etiquette of whatever website you find, and you could find your public, ravenous for your books!
Figure out what works for you. Promotion can take hours and hours and cost lots of money. Don’t try to be everywhere and do everything. Take it slow, see what’s out there, and figure out what will work for your time and budget.
If you like, you can start by telling us, here on this blog, a little about your book!