Promotion – the dirty word of the publishing industry. Whether self-published, traditional, or something in between, promoting yourself and your work is a dire necessity.
While it’s perfectly acceptable to wait until your novel is published to begin pimping yourself, many authors choose to increase their visibility while still in the drafting stages. The idea behind this is, the more you can build up tension for your coming release, the more readers you will have.
I haven’t completed my first novel yet, so I can’t speak to the veracity of this plan. I am, however, in the process of building my reader base. After all, it’s part of branding and I am now a very serious author (your perception may vary). I’d like to share my basic tips on promotion, marketing, and building your platform. All of these will be visited in greater detail in the coming weeks, but here’s a brief rundown.
Every author who intends to be published or to keep getting published should have a social media presence. Facebook author page, Twitter account, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest. You don’t have to have all of them – find the ones that work for you and can commit to keeping current.
Blogging/vlogging is also very helpful. Readers often want to know an author on a personal level. With a blog/vlog, you can keep your readers abreast of any updates, but also your experiences, trials, successes, and little germs of wisdom you’ve acquired along the way. If you can develop an interest in you as a person, that will translate into an interest in your books.
WattPad, The Prose, Writer’s Cafe, Booksie, and Surgebook are great sites for building interest in your work. Post a few chapters, gain valuable feedback and followers, learn what’s working in your story and what isn’t. Don’t give away the whole cow for free, though. Publishers generally will not accept anything already published in its entirety online.
Build your network. Go to conventions and speak with other authors. Join online writing communities. Collaborate with authors and support them. Reach out to reviewers. Interact as much as possible. You want to cultivate your following, reward them for their continued interest. This could include a contest giveaway, sneak peeks at new work, exclusive newsletters. Use your imagination.
Above all, the novel you release needs to live up to their expectations. Professional editing, eye-catching covers, amazing writing. All your campaigning will mean nothing if the final product leaves them running for the hills. Marketing and promotion is about presenting your best self possible all the time.
Be great, be amazing, be you. And if you’re lucky, readers will follow.