By Jeri Westerson
It’s no secret that it’s hard work getting published and near impossible to make a living at it. But there are some things you can do to give you better chances at some kind of modest success.
1. Who is my market and what am I doing about it?
Simple. You wrote a book. You want readers. But who are those readers? You should know. Likely you are writing in a genre whose books you’ve enjoyed as a reader. If this isn’t true, then why are you writing that book? Where are readers like you finding more books in this genre? Blogs, Facebook pages, libraries. That’s your market. Make lists. Email addresses, snail mail addresses. Do you write cooking stories? Target cooking schools, local upscale bakeries. Think outside the box.
2. You Are the Expert
You are the expert in whatever you are writing about. You did the research, you wrote the book. Prepare presentations for groups. Libraries, women’s auxiliary organizations, clubs, anywhere people are likely to buy books. Have several presentations to offer. Use props. Are you writing about quilts? Bring some samples that audience members can sew themselves. Create entertaining PowerPoint demos. This should also be the subject of your blog, not how you are a struggling author. We’re all struggling! There are already too many blogs out there, unread, about that. Stand above the crowd.
3. Bookmarks and Postcards
Authors agonize over the small stuff. Should I do bookmarks or postcards? Yes! Both! Bookmarks for handing out to readers and postcards for mailing. And don’t do a blanket mailing. That’s a waste of your money. Target it, direct it. Libraries! Bookstores! Join professional writing organizations. Many of them have mailing lists you can purchase. Make sure your collateral material is professionally designed. Amateurish stuff will be tossed without reading.
I can’t stress this one enough. Social media is great, but it’s only half the story. You need to hobnob with real authors in the flesh. Joining those professional organizations where they meet once a month is important. Get to know other authors. They will be more inclined to invite you to guest post on their blogs, to promote you on Twitter and Facebook, suggest you for panels and speaking engagements.
5. Engage in Promotion
Just think of it all as a giant cocktail party. When your book touches readers on an emotional level, they will talk about it. And then you engage with them. If you are a guest blogger, always be available that day to add to the comments that come in. Follow your followers on Twitter. Chat it up on Facebook but stay away from politics and religion. Be funny. Be interesting. That is all part of promotion.
Jeri Westerson gets involved with her readers on social media and by offering extras on her website www.JeriWesterson.com, including book discussion guides, her character’s blog, and a series book trailer. See her latest, CUP OF BLOOD, on her site and read about the making of the book cover on her blog, Getting-Medieval. She is also the author of VEIL OF LIES. Social Media links: www.JeriWesterson.com and www.twitter.com/jeriwesterson She blogs at www.Getting-Medieval.com