|I try to write an article "writing related" every month. This month, I had planned on writing something about staying motivated but came up with a frustrating dose of writer's block. Other than the plant-butt-in-chair method, I couldn't come up with a unique method for pushing one to write other than "just do it."
So I've decided to change gears and write about promotion. Maybe next month I'll get to motivation-um…or maybe an article about dealing with procrastination?!?
Promotion is a subject widely debated among authors. Some firmly believe it is the publisher's responsibility and therefore, do very little promotion. Others are promotional powerhouses. I fall somewhere in the middle. It is the author's job to write, but the only way to establish a readership is to get your name out there. After all, no one is going to buy your book(s) if they don't know about you. And no one cares more about your book than you do.
So here are some of the promotional methods I use:
1. An author website. You've probably already heard how important a website is to an author, but I cannot stress this enough. Eight out of ten people are online now, and you need to have an internet home where people can find you. There are even free web hosting services around if cost is an issue.
2. Once you have a website established, submit your site to internet search engines. Search engines are sites designed to find subjects on the internet for you. A virtual card catalog, so to speak. Most of the larger search engines list instructions for submitting your site right on their home page. Some of the major search engineers are www.google.com, www.lycos.com, www.yahoo.com, www.ask.com, and more.
3. An author newsletter. This can be done monthly or bimonthly or even by season. Just as long as it has some sort of consistency so that potential readers see your name out there. I have a form on my website for people to sign up for my newsletter.
4. Promotional material. I have had some significant luck with use of promotional material. I make my own bookmarks which promote my website. I also use bookmarks made from graphics supplied by my publisher. I use business cards which I have printed at a reasonable cost, and I make my own brochures on my computer which lists each of my books and detailed ordering information. By the way, if anyone would like some of my promotional materials mailed to you, just e-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Advertising. I still don't know how successful my advertising has been for me. I suppose one day I will find a reader who has discovered me by way of an ad I took out, but for now I'm still in the dark. Advertising is definitely an "in your face" way to get noticed. However, advertising can be expensive. Sometimes it can run into the hundreds of dollars. Be careful choosing how and where you spend your hard earned dollars in advertising. Choose the place in which you will gain the greatest exposure. For example, I've discovered that you're going to get a better pay off advertising in reader's magazines over writer's magazines. Of course, this is only my experience. Other writers may argue this. The point I'm trying to make is to do your research first before paying for an ad that might not work for you.
These are some of the promotional methods I've used. Again, they don't guarantee overnight success, but they're a step in the right direction.
Nancy Henderson is the author of BLACKBIRD and HEART'S BONDAGE. Her third historical romance, MAN OF HER DREAMS, will be released October 2005. Please visit her website at: www.nancyhenderson.com.
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