Whether you are (or want to be) traditionally published or if you want to self-publish, promoting your book is part of your job. It's not writing, editing, or revising, but it's just as crucial to your book's success. Why? Because if no one knows about your book they're not going to read it. But there's more to book publicity, marketing, promotion that just telling people you've written a book. That will work with your friends and your family, but the fact is, you want—no—you need—strangers to read your book. Unfortunately, as much as it should be about the story, there's more to it.
As a debut author there are four key things I try to remember (note: I said "try" as it's not always easy) when I'm getting out the word about my debut novel, The Glass Wives. Whether it's a book talk at a library or a book store, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, or just meeting someone in a crowded room (I'm romanticizing here), these points are the same:
- I must know my product. My book is my product and I have to be honest about what it is, and what it isn't. I usually say that The Glass Wives is women's fiction or book club fiction, and I add that it's been called a beach read, but not chick lit. I'd never call it lit fic or a romance. The last thing I want to do is mislead a potential reader. Why? I want her to buy my next book too.
- I should know my audience. I don't jump in on romantic novel chats on Twitter because those folks aren't interested in The Glass Wives, at least not in that setting. I don't poke my nose in where it doesn't belong. This goes back to knowing my product and being honest about it. A little research about potential readers goes a long way.
- I have to accept that not everyone is hungry at the same time. What does that mean? Not everyone cares about my book. Even if they read my blog or follow me on Twitter, they might not care about your book right now. That's where patience comes in. And good content. It's about selling books of course, but it's also about being out and about in public—IRL and virtually—so I'm not a stranger. I'm more interested in people I know and who aren't shoving something down my throat. Aren't you?
- I must blow away the smoke and throw away the mirrors. Promoting my book is about sales, and it's not. It’s about creating awareness that leads to sales. No hocus pocus. No bait and switch. Ever been tagged on a Tweet because someone just wants you to click the link? Me too! None of that nonsense for me. I also don't believe that unrelated giveaways lead to sales. They lead to people who want something free. Does it create awareness? Maybe. It's also a lot of work for people who probably have no intention of buying my book. I focus on good content, sometimes book related and sometimes not, that will make readers curious enough to want more information about me or The Glass Wives.
What are your best tips for book promotion? Or, as a reader, what do you respond to most?