The end of the holiday season is upon us and as is the norm, reflection has set in at Fitton towers. One thing I know I’m very good at is promoting others. It was after all my day job for the best part of my career and I have to say (modestly) I was reasonably good at it. Self promotion however is a different type of fish. Whilst I can confidently and believably promote others I seem to struggle with promoting myself. Writing is something that feels natural, promoting myself to others does not. Those who are gifted with insights into the working minds of a writer or the British for that matter (yes we are all a bit too polite and terribly well mannered… well most of us) will probably have a lot to say on the matter, I do not. However I am conscious of the fact it is necessary if I want anyone to read my books. It set me to thinking -what are the key steps needed to move yourself into the arena of awareness as a self published author?
I do not profess to know the answer to this enormous question. I can only offer my insights into what has worked well for me in 2015 and what has not. All Tomorrow’s Parties was released in August of 2015 so I confess everything that I have discovered is based on a very small 4 month window. For 2016 I am putting a call out for suggestions from you. What has worked well for you? What would you advise writers to avoid like the plague? Whether it’s a really inspirational article or a top tip you found on another blog I would love to hear about it. So many people have helped me on my journey, it would be great if by sharing our insights we could not only help each other but also those who are about to take that leap.Please use the comment box at the bottom of this piece.
My Top 5 Tips:
- Edit, edit and edit again. This was for me the steepest learning curve. Like a mother with her first born it was perfect. It didn’t need anyone to read it or edit it! How wrong I was. I was lucky, I knew someone who was honest and whose opinion I valued to give me a warts and all appraisal of what needed to be corrected or changed ( grammar was never my strong point!). Get someone to read your book before you publish -preferably not someone you are related to but someone whose opinion you value. Why have I put this as No. 1 and what does this have to do with self promotion? There are sadly many many people out there who will want to pick your beautiful baby apart. You want to give your book the best chance of standing on it’s own two feet not be vilified because your spelling is a bit off.
- Join a writing group. This for me has been invaluable. Joining a group with other authors who not only can support you by helping to promote your book but also who have most probably been there and done it already has been a true joy.Writing can be lonely. Knowing there are like minded authors who can usually provide the answer has been a real gem for me.
- A blog a Facebook author page and a twitter account are a must in this age of information communication. Featuring on other authors blogs ( ‘A blog tour’ – who knew!) can be a great way to promote not only your book but yourself. Many authors have featured author spots or select pieces that may be relevant to you.
- Reviews are crucial . I would hope family and friends will read your book. Ask them, plead with them to write an honest review (they can do this anonymously if they want to). Amazon and Goodreads are the two biggest but there are many others. If you have the time find out which like minded bloggers review books and ask if yours can be considered. This can be a thankless task paved with rejection. If anyone has any top tips about how to get books reviewed I would love to hear from you.
- Know your audience. I knew for All Tomorrow’s Parties that promoting to an audience of horror readers was not going to work. You need to get your book in front of people who are at least open to reading your type of book. Do your homework, trawl the book shops and the internet. This has provided me with many an idea of what works.
I hope you’ve found this piece helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Let’s get this conversation started.
Happy New Year.