By Atlin Merrick
Just like 5 Ways for Shy People to Promote Their Book, this title is misleading.
These are ways everyone can promote their book, but they do favor the extrovert. If you're shy you can still do any or all of these, only you might start small. Super small. You-and-your-writing-group small.
For those more inclined to leap, the following six ideas may be great ways for you to promote your book!
Promoting Your Book:
Cons/conferences | Book parties | Radio |
Contests | Libraries/Bookshops | Collateral
Conventions and conferences
Wrote a mystery novel? A supernatural tale? A romance? There's a convention or conference for that genre somewhere nearish you.
Cons and conferences can have a teeny attendance, or tremendous and either way you can find them online, through your local bookshop, or by following your favorite writers or publishers on social media – all likely to be participating at cons and conferences. Once you find one that sounds great, email the conveners. Tell them you're a writer on the very topic they love, and you'd like to be on a panel or two.
Propose panels, too. I do this for every convention or conference I'm attending and, if you propose your ideas early enough, chances are good at least one will be made part of the program. Doing this also gives the conveners a great idea of what you love and then you end up being put on panels they're already got in place but which speak to your interests.
I highly recommend going to academic conferences as well, even if you're not a scholar. Acafans (academic fans) love what you love so much they went and got a masters or a PhD in it. Acafans help expand what it means to be a writer, a fan, and a voice on a topic, and in my experience they're welcoming to people who do not have academic credentials.
Book release party
You're thrilled with your book, your friends are thrilled, a couple of your workmates thinks it's super cool, too. Time to party. And by that I mean have a book release party, plan it for a night at your favorite pub, a sunny Sunday in the park, and then invite people. Most of us have an online presence, whether Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, AO3, or elsewhere. If folks have been engaging with you on social, invite them. People do show up, especially if your party is in a larger town or city.
Ask folks to share photographs of the party on social media. For most of us it means a lot to see a friend holding up the book of an author they love; sure it's nice to see the author doing it, but I trust my friend more. So ask people to share the photos and then retweet or reblog them. And share your own party pics too (with permission of those in the photos). Cross-pollinate. This is how networks are born.
As mentioned in 5 Ways for Shy People to Promote Their Book, local radio wants local stories.
Even if most of your local radio stations focus more on pop and rock music, many universities and colleges have their own stations and there you can find programs hungry for content – such as Q&As with authors about their books, the book's topic, its potential readers and more.
Book contests are limited only by your imagination. If you've written a novel about a road trip, maybe your contest winner gets a signed copy of your book and a map of the area your story takes place. Or instead does your crime fighter loves chocolate? Include a chocolate bar in with the signed book.
When I lived in London I'd collect free maps and postcards that highlighted the city, and slipped those into signed books before sending them out. Think about limiting contest participants to those who retweet or reblog your contest offer…this way your offer (and the name and cover of your book!) hopefully spread far and wide across social media.
Library or bookshop talks
Libraries and bookshops are busy, so before reaching out do two things first: go there in person to look around, then approach by email. Don't walk in cold, novel in hand; this virtually guarantees your book will languish in a backroom. Instead go see if the indie bookshop specializes in what you write, find out if your library offers workshops or talks. Then send an email introducing yourself as a local author; tell them what you can offer (book reading; workshops); and look for hooks. Is your protagonist Deaf? Offer a reading during Deaf Awareness Month. Give a workshop on Sign Language.
Attach a sell sheet to your email. This one page document provides relevant book information – ISBN number, publisher, your name and contact information, a book photo and blurb. Here are a bunch of sell sheet examples.
(bookmarks, business cards, postcards)
At conferences, talks, and workshops, when people want to know more about you, your book, or where you are on social media, have something to give them. I know an artist whose business cards provide contact information on one side, and photos of their art on the other – a dozen different card designs showcase their work.
So think about getting business cards, having bookmarks or postcards made, and print out your own sell sheets (mentioned above) which include author and book photo, blurb, ISBN, and contact information.
Want More Book Promotion Ideas? Talk to Your Publisher
Tell your publisher you're keen to promote your book and together start generating ideas tailored to your book's topic.
Your publisher can also tell you how not to promote your book because you don't want to spend your limited time doing things that won't help (like walking in cold to bookshops).
You will always be the biggest part of your book's success, so please do what you're able to do by temperament and time. Speaking of time, give it to those you approach; if you've sent an email to a conference convener, a bookshop, or library, wait two or three weeks before approaching again.
You've written a great book and you want to tell people about it; hopefully you've found a few ideas here on how to start doing just that.