So, you've sold a book. And you've edited it to everyones satisfaction, and it's been released. Now what?
If you're like most new authors, chances are you've published through a small press, one that expects you to do much of your own promotion. No problem, you think, I'll get out there, I'll talk about my book, I'll sell millions of copies and people will flood my book signings!
I know, I've had that dream, too.
The reality of promotion is this: You can go one of two ways, you can spend a lot of money to get your book cover in different magazine adds and you can buy all sorts of space or time in this publication or that show. You can set us a super flashy website that costs you an arm and half a leg every month. Or, and this is way more work, but more fun, you can promote for free anywhere and everywhere.
It starts out easy enough. Get a my space page. Get a free blog. Get a face book page. Alert everyone in cyberspace FOR FREE about every little thing. Plaster your book cover every place you can. Make it your signature on your emails.
Good, you've the the passive promotions down pat. But that and $13.99 will buy a copy of "Dream in Color." So now what?
Now you get creative. Call the book stores in your area. (It won't be a long list, look at how many book stores have closed in recent years.) Set up book signings or readings. This takes some guts. I've only been brave enough to do it once, but I know I have to do it again, and soon. If you're working with an e-publisher that prints on demand, like I did with Wild Rose, this may be the only way you're going to get your book into a book store.
Okay, everyone knows that stuff. Now what?
Now we get fun. My favorite way to promote is to play a little trivia game on my favorite radio station. Every couple of weeks I get to get on Wisconsin's Number One Radio program and tout "Dream in Color." It's free, it takes about forty seconds, and it reaches thousands more people than I could ever reach with a dozen book signings. A few months ago, the boys at 1029 The Hog had me in the studio for a short interview...possibly the most fun I've ever had in 15 minutes.
Most recently, a friend of mine, AY Stratton, got herself on a local morning TV show to promote her book, "Buried Heart." (Also A Wild Rose release.) FREE TV TIME? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You know you have that opportunity...every city has a local TV station that has a local morning show that's aching for guests. Make that phone call. (Note to self...MAKE THAT PHONE CALL!)
But Sarah, you say, I'm too shy to get on the radio or be on TV. I can't do book signings. I just want to write.
That may be the case. Getting out in the public eye is not for everyone. Just because I don't have that little voice in my head that tells me to fear public speaking doesn't mean everyone else is willing to convince total strangers to buy a book.
Here's a secret that's been working for me: Write romance? Got a favorite celebrity in mind when you're writing your hero? BLOG ENDLESSLY ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR THAT CELEBRITY! Seriously, this works. Just ask Susie or Wendy or Vicky or the dozens of other women I've met recently who LOVE Rick Springfield and found my little book in no small part to my shameless repetition of his name in blogs, and while on the radio.
Granted, if you write non fiction, this may not work, but for those of us looking for a world of escapism, we want a good story and we want a hero we can fall in love with. If we know that the hero is already our favorite actor/musician, then half the work is done! (I was very recently asked to guest blog on someones website strictly because she got a notice from google that I'd written about Rick Springfield.)
Free promo opportunities are everywhere! You just have to look around.
That said, there are a couple of moments when you may want to dial back the shameless promotion. Personally, I wouldn't set up a book signing table at a funeral. Unless you've written a biography about the deceased, and even then, that might be a little icky.
And that's the only time I wouldn't promote! I've sold books at graduation parties, at wedding receptions, and in the grocery store. I got my personal trainer to read my blog. Where there are people, there are readers, and there is money. Put those two things together and that equals a book sale.
Now, I have to go. It's time to get on the radio and play "You Still Can't Win" and promote DREAM IN COLOR!