When most writers set out to write a book, they’re interested in telling a story. Maybe they dream of one day being published, and of sharing their story with others. Few people think about having to go out and promote their work. In fact, for many authors, the idea of self-promotion has them shaking with fear. After all, many writers are introverts. We’re most comfortable sitting at the computer or with a notebook and communing with our characters. And many of us were raised to be modest, to not talk about ourselves, and above all, to avoid bragging.
If you find yourself approaching the idea of self-promotion with dread, you’ve come to the right place. One of my goals for this workshop is to show you ways to promote yourself and your work within your comfort level. After all, the most effective self-promotion is that which is well done. If you’re not comfortable with something, you’re liable to do a poor job. Poorly done self-promo can be worse than none at all.
So the first rule for this workshop is: Only do the kind of self promotion you are comfortable with.
Sure, stretch yourself a little. Try new things. But if something begins to feel like a burden, or you’re losing sleep over it, strike it from your list. Find something else you can do.
Rule number two is: Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it.
If your friend the author just spent $500 on custom postcards and postage to mail them, don’t feel that if you don’t do this too, your career is in the toilet. Don’t compare your self-promotion plan with another author’s. We each do what we can reasonably do, and comparison is not only irrelevant but stressful and often disheartening
Rule number three: Free doesn’t mean ineffective.
I’m going to show you a lot of free or very inexpensive promotion strategies that can be just as effective, or even more so, than efforts that cost much more.
That’s it ‘ three easy rules to keep in mind as we go through this workshop.
Why should you bother with self-promotion?
- Because your publisher may not promote you.
Unless you’re already a mega bestseller, chances are your publisher isn’t going to be spending a lot of money promoting you. If you’re lucky, they may print up a few advanced copies to send to reviewers, or maybe even buy an ad in a trade journal. Many authors may find their publisher does nothing beyond printing the books and (we hope) spelling your name correctly on the cover. Thousands of titles are launched into the marketplace each year with no promotion budget at all.
- Because you can be effective ‘ within limits.
Few people have the time and/or resources to effectively self-promote to a national audience on a large scale. But the techniques we’re going to cover in this workshop will help you make an impact on smaller markets you’ve targeted. That means more sales, and can help you persuade your publisher to pitch in more on the next book.
- To have some semblance of control.
After you’ve written the book and turned it over to your publisher, you’ve essentially given up control of your baby. Working on self-promotion can help you maintain at least an illusion of control. Now whether or not you’re actually accomplishing anything is debatable at times, but sometimes that illusion of control helps to temper the helplessness and depression which plagues some writers.