I’ve been at work recently updating a lot of my online info, and getting ready to promote my books (better). Whether you are self-published or traditionally so, BSP – that’s Blatant Self-Promotion, as people like to call it – is something of a necessary evil. Although you should try to make it not appear blatant. Blatant’s just rude.
But it is necessary, and PR will become a wedge of the pie of how you spend your work time.
Ooops! I meant this…
I was lucky enough to hear writer Sharon Williams (Squirrel Mafia, Jaspar: Amazon Parrot) speak last year about the necessity of self-promotion and social media and ‘cross-platforming.’ She showed how to set up links between the various sites where you appear, placing Facebook widgets on your blog, and linking your Facebook posts to your Twitter account. She also spoke about Tweetdeck where you can keep track of multiple Twitter accounts or tweets containing certain characters as well as sites and services where you can post once and have it appear on multiple media. After initial set-up, she had a streamlined system of her own that allowed her to minimize her online time so that she could spend her hours doing what she intended: writing.
One thing more. Another author I knew some years back, Lonnie Cruse (the Metropolis Mystery series and the ’57 Mysteries), was the perfect example of high-energy self-promotion. Any time I saw her she was prepared with business cards, bookmarks showing her book covers (and where to purchase her books), and giveaway-type trinkets that related to her stories. She handed these things out to potential readers, always with a friendly and enthusiastic smile, and only where it was appropriate to do so. But she never missed an opportunity to let someone know about her books and where to find them, or how much she appreciated her reading public. She was a great example and a class act.
Giveaway trinkets used to promote my three Mackenzie Wilder/Classic Boat mysteries.
Novelty mail-order houses will even imprint your goodies. Here one such company printed the title of book #2 on these guitar picks. SWEET CORN, FIELDS, FOREVER revolves around a country music singer/songwriter.
Some writers love to talk about themselves, but more actually like to talk about their work. Honing the skills that go into doing this successfully is important. Approach, tone, enthusiasm (think ‘spark’). Selecting passages, having a clear way to describe the book’s own background such as its inspiration, genesis, research. Knowing when and where to talk about your work and how to set up those opportunities (like signings and workshops). Plus the willingness to put yourself ‘out there’, be it online or in person. These are all areas to consider and work on. You can edge your way into it gradually, but the faster you become comfortable doing it, the better and broader your sales will be.
Besides, it can be fun!