After you’ve built a platform as an author, researched literary agents, crafted a query letter, signed with an agent, and published your manuscript…the real work begins. Last month we talked about how to build your platform and begin publicizing yourself. Today’s post is about how to drive your book’s sales post-publication. Of course, the house’s marketing and publicity departments will help you with this—that’s their job!—but if you can work alongside them, the word will get out that much faster.
Making an Effort
The first thing to remember about doing publicity for yourself is that you have to make an active effort. There’s no such thing as doing this halfway. Any publicity you choose to do for your work will be dedicated, specific time for that reason. It will be rare to get publicity that you or your publicity/marketing team didn’t work for. If you want to make this work, though, you just have to be committed to it.
Publicity comes in many forms. Below I’ll go more into social media, which we briefly touched on in the post about building your platform. However, publicity for your work can come in many forms. Your in-house team will find you opportunities, but you can also create those opportunities yourself. These include doing readings at your local library or bookstore if they allow it, making industry connections (including with librarians and booksellers!), and getting the word out about your book by doing interviews, writing articles, and earning reviews. There are other ways too: be active and creative and you’ll find them.
One way to help publicize your work without ever leaving home is through social media. Creating and fostering an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. will help readers find you and become interested in you, which will lead to interest in your published work. On each of these platforms, you can post about yourself, your interests, your life, and your writing. Balance all of this with interaction.
Never forget that social media is bidirectional. Shouting into the void “Buy my book! Buy my book!” does nothing to grow your following or your fans.
It’s Not All About You
Publicity that you do on your own, especially through social media, cannot just be self-promotion. Yes, your ultimate goal is to grow interest in you or your book enough to drive a sale, but you have to remember your audience. Going to a book reading, reading a passage, saying “Buy my book!” and leaving is not good enough. Tweeting a link to your book’s Barnes & Noble page and begging people to buy is not good enough. No one wants to hear that and the response you get won’t be nearly as good if you take that tactic. People don’t like feeling like you’re selling to them without caring about them.
To do your own publicity well, you should be providing value to your fans and followers. Don’t just tell them about you and your book. Talk with them. Interact with them. Take the time to get to know people and share articles, ideas, and conversations so that when you do ask for them to make a sale, they trust that you aren’t just there for their money.
Doing your own publicity is a great way to increase your work’s reach. Be diligent and active in your efforts, and you’re sure to see them pay off. Plus, if you do things right, you’ll likely make some great connections along the way!