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December 25, 2013

The fun part of any writer’s life is creating and writing. That’s kind of the whole point of our existence. That’s why we’re here in the first place. To write, create stories, whether real or not. Given skills, talent and persistence, we have that one in the bag.
Say you, the writer get lucky, strike a deal with a publisher, get your tome published then find out all they’re going to do is print the book. That’s it. Maybe they’ll distribute it throughout the book chain (singular), maybe not. Nobody notices.
They (the publisher) tell you the book isn’t selling. Why aren’t you promoting it?
“Me? Why me? I thought you were supposed to do that?”
“Nuh huh. We just print it. It’s up to you to sell it.”
Not literally the way it goes (maybe it actually does in some cases), but an illustration of what a lot of authors get slapped with when they realize that most publishers do very little to promote books, especially from new authors. They usually make it quite clear up front that it’s up to the author to market the books. Many publishers and agents ask the author beforehand how they plan to market their book.
Yes my friends, this is the ugly side of writing. As much as you enjoy the writing process, now it comes down to the dirty work. If you can find someone to publish it, they basically throw it right back to you to sell it!
Can you see yourself standing on a street corner, holding a front-to-back sign over your shoulders, hawking your novel? Can you see yourself tirelessly passing out cards as you pass everyone along the sidewalk, sending e-mails to every library in the country, asking them to buy your book?
Get ready, because eventually, you’re going to have to figure out some way to publicize and market your book, because nobody else will do it.
And you thought all you had to do was write!
Most of us are not natural salesmen or saleswomen. It takes a certain type of person to be able to do that. I know I’m not, but I’m going to have to suck it up and figure a way to market my books, just like everyone else. I’m more than happy to do book signings, speak at events, do interviews, post on sites like Facebook. However, travel is not much of an option since I still work full-time.
BOOK SIGNINGS: You need to try a few. They often don’t result in many sales, if at all, but it’s still worth a try at least a few times. Pick and choose. If you can gain a fan or two, they could be for life. If you do one, don’t be a wallflower, be active and let people know you’re there without being obnoxious. Also, do it in a group and not by yourself unless your book is doing really well.
PUBLIC SPEAKING: For some, public speaking is a paralyzing psychosis, yet it’s time to get over it! Speaking at events is a great way to publicize your book. Speaking on writing, and having copies of your book there are a great way to sell a few, even if the book has nothing to do with the subject. For non-fiction, it’s especially great if that’s your platform. If not, your subject could be something on writing and you could mention how you use that subject in your writing style and mention the book, which you have for sale in the back.
INTERVIEWS: Find out who in town does interviews of local interest and try to get booked. Mention your book and where it’s available. Mention your web site, etc.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Use Facebook or whatever other social media you use, like Twitter. Monitor and post frequently, but not to annoy people. I don’t use Twitter. Maybe I should, but I keep plenty busy with other social media and figure that’s enough, at least for now. Maybe someday.
WEB SITE: Keep your web site updated! Don’t set up a web site and forget about it. I know so many authors do this, and their web site and forum haven’t been updated in five years, yet they’ve had four more books come out since.
These are all things you can do with a regular job and still not have to travel a lot. If your books take off, you may have the spare change to travel to other cities and do more. Who knows?
Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2014 3:46 pm

    Great summary of non-terrifying promotion options. Every conference I go to, I check to see if the speakers’ books are on sale somewhere. Found more than a few great writers that way. (Even some whose presentations I didn’t particularly care for, but who happened to be selling books in genres I enjoy.)

    • January 11, 2014 6:23 am


      Yup, a great way to promote your book is to speak at conferences and plug your book, whether it has to do with the subject or is implied in some loose way. I too, have found a few authors that way.


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