On Promoting Yourself And Your Books, by Julian Stockwin
Your book won’t sell itself. Publishers vary in the time and money they devote to individual authors. However much or little they do, you need to promote yourself and your work at every opportunity.
A website is vital. You can do this yourself or pay to have one set up. My website is www.julianstockwin.com.
Once you have a website make sure it is up to date. There is nothing worse than looking someone up to find their website hasn’t been touched in some time and the information is not current.
Websites vary from showing just basic information on work published to quite detailed sites with loads of material designed to enhance readers’ enjoyment of an author’s work. It’s really a matter of time and budget but I would say invest as much of both in your website as you can.
It does take time to participate but a social network presence is expected these days. However, it is important not to have too much focus on the hard sell in these. If people are attracted to your ideas and comments on the world at large or little snippets of personal gossip, then hopefully they will want to take a look at your work. A good rule of thumb is 80% personal stuff, 20% information about your books. Social networks really are quite fun to be involved with.
Blogs and newsletters
Consider a blog. It can be part of your website or a stand alone. My blog is BigJules.
I used to publish a monthly newsletter. Why not write your own newsletter focusing on your particular period of interest? You need to think of how you will distribute the newsletter. I used mail-list.com and for a small annual fee they would send it out each month.
Bookmarks and postcards
These are a fairly inexpensive way of spreading the word out and you can hand them out at signings and give to friends and family to pass on.
Cultivate local bookstores. Whenever I am in a new town I pop into the bookstore and offer to leave some bookmarks and postcard. Usually the store will ask me to sign copies of any of my books that they have in stock.
Libraries are also great ambassadors of your work and are usually on the lookout for speakers. I have a special Library Pack available on request.
I personally answer every email from readers. This does take time but I feel that if someone has gone to the trouble to read my book and then contact me they deserve a personal reply. You can also add a “signature” at the end of your emails with special announcements about your next book or upcoming events.
Julian Stockwin’s author website: www.julianstockwin.com
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