An Essential Part of Writing and Publishing
Self-promotion is an essential part of the writing and publishing process. With lowered budgets most writers cannot expect to receive a large amount of aid from their publisher for the promotion of their latest works. To be a successful writer one must be creative both in writing and promotion.
Self-promotion can be difficult for any writer. Here are things you can try on your own.
Promote in the community
- Join a local writing group, writers' guild or association. These groups can provide support for you as you venture into the world of promotion. They may also be a good outlet to get the word out about upcoming readings, workshops, or books you may have on the go. Many of these organizations also have newsletters you can list your upcoming events in, such as Ebriefs, the SWG weekly e-newsletter.
- Volunteer or work as a speaker. The Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild offers members the service of an Author Readings Program, which helps to facilitate readings in communities and schools throughout Saskatchewan.
- Hand out free copies. Although this may cost you some money upfront, it can be an important promotional tool. Free copies of works can entice readers to recommend your book and through word of mouth spread good publicity.
- Attend literary conferences. Conferences are the gathering places for writers, publishers, and other industry professionals. Although you may have to pay to attend a conference, they are the ideal places for a writer to make contacts and promote their latest work. Many writers’ organizations, such as the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, have annual conferences that are open to both members and non-members.
- Stay involved in both the literary community and the larger community. This allows you to not only promote specific projects, but to promote yourself as a writer in general. By attending events, doing school readings, and participating in your community, you keep your presence prominent in the minds of the people who might publish, promote, and buy your books.
- Consider using social media. Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a few ways you can promote yourself to your following and beyond.
- Contact local media to draw attention to your most recent work. Television, radio and newspaper interviews or coverage will be important promotional tools as they reach a wide-ranging audience. If you are lucky enough to be invited to appear on TV make sure that you represent yourself in the best possible light. Speak clearly and with expression, relax and have a good time
Use Social Media
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat...there's many options. However, if you’re savvey, you’ll have a social media presence on nearly every social media platform that exists because it’s free marketing. If your book is visual, you might want an Instagram account. If your audience is slightly older, a Facebook page would work. If you are writing about politics you'll probably want a Twitter account. Regardless, the sooner you start building your social media presence the better. Being active on social media lets you update your audience with what you are working on or what you have coming out. It's a great way to include your audience and fans in your journey.
Promote in bookstores
Promoting your book isn’t just letting people know that you have a book out, but letting them know where they can buy it. While online book sales are growing through sites like Indigo.com and Amazon.ca, bookstores are still around. Getting your books on their shelves may take some literal footwork on your part, but it’s necessary.
- Visit as many bookstores as you possibly can. Introduce yourself and let the owners know that you have a new book coming out. After your visit send out thank you notes, this will add a personal touch and make your visit and upcoming event/work more memorable.
- Find out if your publisher has an existing relationship with any bookstores. Most of the big chain bookstores like Chapters or Indigo only order books directly from the publisher or distributor, but some of them will list your book on their website even if they won’t carry it in their stores or they may carry books on consignment. Check their websites for information, or contact their head office or purchasing office directly.
- Arrange an in-store event. Launches and signings at chain store locations can usually be arranged directly with that store. Go to your local bookstore and ask to speak to the manager and find out what steps are required.
- Talk to local distributors. These distributors tend to be smaller in size and more willing to help local writers.
Take a photo of you and your book
You will often be asked to provide a photo of yourself and/or a photo of your book cover for inclusing in digital or print promotions.
- Make sure you have an up-to-date photograph of yourself. If possible have a professional shot taken of you in a setting that shows a bit of your personality and reveals you in a natural pose.
- Make sure you have the right resolution for the purpose. Photos being used in a print publication must have a resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch) in order to prevent pixelation. Pixelation is a blurring of a photo due to it being printed at a size larger than it actually is. Photos used digitally are typically 72dpi. When in doubt, send the highest resolution image you have. You can always size down but you cannot increase the size.