Where to promote (and NOT promote) your books

Shameless self promotion is a tricky thing. On the one hand, you need to go out there and do your best to tell people that your book exists. You have to tell them it’s good enough for them to spend an afternoon with, and then you have to hope they spend an afternoon with it and tell their friends all about it who will in turn tell their friends and so on and so forth.

You can only put your book in the hands of so many readers, at that point, the readers must put it in the hands of other readers.

The art of peer pressure is very strong, and you will find readers and peer groups alike everywhere you go. Here are some tips on shameless self promotion etiquette.

The Don’ts:

1) Do not promote your book to me on goodreads by sending me a message to my inbox there. Same thing goes for Shelfari, LibraryThing, Book Blogs and any other book community I’m on.

2) Do not promote on other writer communities. Shewrites.com, fantasy-writers.org, these are places to talk about WIPs and successes. Unless you have some news about your book being picked up, or it getting some decent exposure in the media world, don’t go telling people about your book.

3) Don’t do the press release thing. I tried it, and I found it didn’t work. Most of the people you can send info on your book to via a mailing list, will want a free copy. So unless you don’t mind giving 100’s of copies away . . . It’s a great idea for an ARC to get a book some pre exposure, but not when it’s actually out there.

4) Don’t spam the forums with it. There are plenty out there, most notably the Kindle Boards, but your book does not need to show up on every thread. That’s overkill and people are more likely not to buy it because they keep hearing about it in a rude and pervasive way.

5) Door to door on Twitter. Yeah, those people that direct message you just to say “check out my books!” Um, they get unfollowed by me all the time …

The Do’s

1) Tweet about it, and expect others to retweet it. Be creative though don’t be like, “ooh go buy my book!” be like, teaser lines and other quotes from reviews and stuff. Retweet anyone who mentions it in their tweets, etc. etc.

2) On Goodreads, add it to lists, and let people find it and add it to their TBR lists.

3) Find places to post your blurb, cover, trailer, whatever.

4) Tell book bloggers about cover reveals, deleted scenes, teasers, trailers, whatever you have going on to do with the book. Cool things happening to you on the author journey.

5) Tell everyone you know, and be humble about it when you do. You know, people you’ve always known like the girl at the post office or something. Just be like, “Hey so yeah I wrote a book.” MOST of those people will be like, “Wow!” because unlike everyone online, they’ll have no idea how books go from being written to being on shelves. They’ll just be like, “You’re an author! Cool!” and will proceed to ask you what your book is about. Learn to pitch people who are readers so that when/if you’re ever at a convention and you randomly meet an editor you know how to talk about your book with such finesse that it works.

And this is all the advice I have for you today.


Comments ( 4 )

  • Lani Wendt Young says:

    Great tips – I agree esp with the last one about talking about your book. I wasnt doing that because I felt embarassed about forcing my book in peoples faces. But Ive since discovered that people – esp non writers – do have a genuine interest in hearing about the fact that youre a writer, and if I dont mention it, then a good opportunity to share it is lost. My husband had cards made with my

  • C.V. Hunt says:

    I have to agree that the last one is huge, and I fall flat on it all the time. My friends are a lot better about it than I am. Whenever we are out somewhere, my one friend likes to inform strangers: "Hey, she wrote a book." My face usually turns red, and my friend scolds me for not being proactive in my advertising. She usually answers all of the strangers questions about my writing. It

  • Grace Elliot says:

    Great thoughts,, it's such a difficult path to tread and I dont know if it's just me, but it seems to be getting more and more difficult to spread the word. People have got savvy to a lot of thing that previously were great.

  • Paul Keene says:

    Good advice, thanks! We have to be creative without being a PITA. Don't forget the value of maintaining a blog and website-both great ways to "help people find you" and your novels.

The comments are now closed.