Saturday, October 10, 2009

Promotion 101 - While Giving Back!

After my first book came out, I thought the book would just miraculously fly off bookshelves by itself—that everyone would just magically know it came out. Right? Nope! The most surprising part for me about publishing a book came in the form of Promotion! Eeek. Just the thought made me uncomfortable. How do I get out there and ask people to buy my book?

Once the book hit the shelves, I started learning quickly that a book needs to be promoted in order for it to be successful. And I learned that promotion is simply a way to get your story out to more people. Where to begin? I brainstormed and found creative ways to promote my story while still giving back to those that have helped me throughout my writing journey. Here are a few things I started with:

Participate in blogs. I started guest blogging on a few author sites. It’s a great way to get involved with other writers and readers! And it’s fun. I participated in group chats and Q&A sessions. I also started my own blog and began hosting other writers as well! What a great way to network and give support to other writers.
  • Donate your book. I donated copies of my book for contest prizes and to my local library. If the library didn’t have my book on the shelf, this was a good way to help get it there.
  • Write for a newsletter. For my local writing group’s newsletter, I wrote articles. I tried to figure out topics that I thought other writers might be interested in. The newsletter staff appreciated the help and you’ll find it rewarding to give back to the writing group.
  • Do a chat. The library I grew up with gave me so much—the books that sparked my dream of being a writer and provided me with endless summer days of being swept away happened in that library. I contacted them and asked if I could do a chat about how that part of my life led to me publishing a book. From this, they asked me to talk to the middle school kids about writing and accomplishing a dream. What an honor and feeling of accomplishment. The look on these kids faces alone, the possibility that they, too, could reach their dreams was priceless! Also, I donated back the books sales to the library to be used in a new children’s program that would help other aspiring writers.
  • Local book signings. Tell your story to others in the form of book signings. Don’t just go for the big guys either. Find your local independent book stores too. It gives you an opportunity to talk to the people in your community.
  • Give your time to your writing group. If you are part of a writing group, such as a local chapter of Romance Writer’s of America, see where you can donate your time, from organizing events to conference preparation, or possibly being a judge in a writing contest. See where you talent can make a difference and go for it!
Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it. Be proud of your accomplishments!