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Friday, May 25, 2012

Self Promotion

The big buzz phrase all writers are familiar with is "SELF PROMOTION"

How does a writer get the attention of a lot of people without breaking the bank? That is the question of the day. It's one that affects not just the new writer but even seasoned writers have this question. For example, fantasy writer David B. Coe posed the same question in one of his blog posts. He asked a reasonable question, what makes a reader purchase a book? Do any of the giveaways work. Think about this for a minute. We writers spend thousands of dollars every year on bookmarks, postcards, fliers, conventions, book trailers, and so on. Still does any of this add up to sales?

The truth is that word of mouth is the best way to get new readers. Most readers are loyal to the writers they read. They have proven themselves time and again. So, how does a newbie break out of the circle of friends and families without spending more money then they have in the bank?

I would love to say I have the magic formula for that, but sadly I don't. What I do have is a list of things that work for me. All be it, they are slow going, however the word of mouth is spreading and it does work.

Facebook plays an intricate part of any serious writer. I know that a lot of people have said they hate the new Facebook. However, when you are trying to reach thousands of people all over the world, it is a free and easy way to do it.

You know the people who click like on your page, well those are people you want. Those are the ones who have read your work and are telling people about it. WORD OF MOUTH.  On your page, make sure and do giveaways. They are simple and small but fans love that you take the time to think of them. Get to know your regular fans and see what happens.

Blog tours are another way to get the word out about your work. Yes some blogs may have a limited number of followers, however all it takes is one person to purchase your book and fall in love with it. If you have that, you can build on it. That one fan who loves what you write will tell their friends. Besides, through this, you make a lot of cool friends.

Press releases are cool but come on, any idiot with a computer can do this for free and for the most part who reads those and says, "Oh I really have to purchase this book?" Almost no one...let me repeat that. "Almost no one" Notice I didn't say no one...hmm. That's because remember what was said just takes one person to love the work you do to help spread it around. So yes, write a press release and share it on twitter and FB and all the other places you can find.

Goodreads is another tool a writer can use to spread the word about their work. Host a free book giveaway. Have fun with it. These giveaways lead to people reading your work and if they love it, they write reviews about it.

Reviews. That word holds a lot of disdain for writers. Why? Well no one likes to be told bad things about what they do. The new writer pays a lot of attention to reviews. Those can make a new writer want to keep going or they can kill the spirit before it has a chance to shine. More often than not people say they didn't pay attention to reviews. The truth is that places like Amazon rely on reviews to decide on whether or not a book deserves to be shouted out in emails. That's the rumor anyways. The other thing is this--places like Goodreads depend on reviews. The people who love a book are actually spreading the word for you. They give a rating and write a review your work. All their friends see what they write. If the review is amazing, then their friends check out the book.

I know all of this sounds redundant. I know that none of it sounds like a book is going to take off running, and it isn't. Stephen King wrote 4 books under a different name before his name really got out there. Stephanie Meyers books sat on the shelves for a few years before all the craziness came out about Twilight. No one starts off with a household name unless they are a reality show star.

The last and final thing I can come up with is getting together with a group of writers and team up. Believe me the support they will give will out weigh the importance of sales. My support group includes Mary Ting, author of the Crossroads Saga. Charlotte Blackwell, author of the Embrace series and Lindsey Anne Kendal author of Bloodlines. Jack Remick, author, mentor and friend who is an amazing writer.

I also have some very cool indie writers in my group. Kymberlee Burks Miller author of Compulsion and Willow Cross, who has written a number of books.  Elizabeth Kolodziej author of Vampyre Kisses.  These people in my circle are there for me in so many ways. They help me when I have a book coming out. They are there when I feel down and they are there to celebrate the good things that happen.

I trust everyone of them and feel privileged to call them my friends.Click on all their links and you will find a group of talented writers who have amazing hearts. Finding your group is without a doubt the best way to go.

Look the thing is that for the most part, the slow steady way may not make you a millionaire over night, but what will happen is you will have a journey you will never forget. It only takes a spark to get a fire going and all you need is to keep going to get that spark.

I can thank every one of the writers on my list for the ideas that are in this post. Each one of them has helped me one way or another. Each one gave me tips and advised me on different things I could do. So the credit to this post goes to the names on the list I made.

I hope this helps writers out there who are lost and need some ideas. I also hope this sparks others to share their own ideas about self promotion. :)



Mary Ting said...

So true!!! Thank you for the mention and for being my friend. Hugs!!!

Joann H. Buchanan said...

You're welcome my friend. :)

Lena Winfrey Seder said...

Thanks Joann for the great advice! All of this really makes sense. Take care!

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