Monday, March 19, 2018

Self-Promotion for Authors

Hi, everyone! This week, my blog is being taken over by one of my wonderful interns, the wonderful Tarie, with a special guest she is!!

You’ve worked really hard and written an amazing book. Your publisher has promotional plans and of course, you’d like to help spread the good news about your book. You’d like to reach as many readers as possible! How can you promote yourself as an author and your book? There are tons of ways you can promote yourself and your book but I’d like to focus on the three ways I feel most strongly about as a book blogger, educator, and reading advocate.

Have an online presence.

This seems like a no-brainer but I’m surprised by the number of times I’ve learned about a new book through Publishers Weekly, Publishers Marketplace, or publishing professionals, googled the author’s name and found . . . nothing. No social media accounts, no author website, no author bio on the publisher’s website or on other websites (Goodreads, Amazon, etc.). This is very disappointing for readers who are excited about a new book. We want to stalk support you!

I know that not everyone is interested in social media and not everyone has the time for social media, but even just a minimal online presence will help you self-promote. It can be just a simple blog or website with a book blurb, brief author bio, and contact details for you and/or your agent. Please make sure that this is ready when your book deal is announced. Request that your publisher keeps their web page for your book updated. We book lovers really appreciate a reliable source of information about you and your book. It helps us get our wallets ready for that release date, spread the buzz, and invite you to festivals and other bookish events!

Engage with readers.

One of the best ways to self-promote is to be part of a reading community, whether online or IRL. There are SO MANY passionate readers and reading communities. Be inspired by their super impressive posts/updates on bookstagram, booktube, and other online platforms (blogs, Twitter, Snapchat, the list goes on and on). Comment on their posts. Show appreciation for all the hard work they put into their posts. Get book recs from them and share book recs with them. Fangirl/fanboy over your mutual faves. Attend reading conventions. Volunteer at your local library or bookstore and actively participate in their events. Join book clubs and participate in book discussions.

When engaging with readers, don’t make things all about YOU and YOUR book. Don’t try to somehow relate all topics or posts to you and your book. That’s not engaging with readers, that’s spamming readers. That’s the fastest way to turn readers off. (I’m also surprised and disappointed by the number of times I’ve seen authors do this.) Chances are if you’re an author you’re also a book lover. Connect with other readers because you want to discuss books. Be part of a reading community to express love for books and to help spread that love. Yes, it’s also a way for more readers to become aware of you and your work. My friends and I have discovered many authors by interacting with them as fellow book lovers! We’re all naturally curious about the people we have great bookish discussions with online or IRL.

For authors of children’s books: Share lesson plans and classroom activities for your book.

Sharing lesson plans, classroom activities, and book club activities for your book is an excellent way to reach out to the school and library markets. Teachers and librarians are super busy and they really appreciate it when a recommended book comes with fun, helpful lesson plans or activities. You’ll also catch the attention of parents who love to buy books that are entertaining AND educational for their children. Share how your book can be used in English, science, or history classes. What are some questions that can help facilitate a discussion of your book? Can your book be used to introduce new vocabulary or demonstrate a grammar point? Is your book a possible springboard for a discussion on current issues/events? How about recommending snacks, games, a playlist, or a movie for a book club party inspired by your book or by the theme/s in your book? The possibilities are endless!

You can design lesson plans and activities yourself or enlist the help of your teacher and librarian friends. Share through your website and social media accounts or through your publisher. You can also directly contact local schools and libraries. When promoting your book, don’t be shy, but also don’t be pushy. 

For more thoughts and tips on self-promotion for authors, read these posts by Carrie!



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