An Author’s Number One Job? Self-Promotion

self promotion

You may have expected that an author’s job is to write, but that is truly your passion. The job, often one author’s neglect, is the act of self-promotion. You can write one brilliant thought after another, day in and day out, but if nobody knows about it, it will be hard to sell books.

Here is one more thing to think about: self-promotion is a job that never has a day off or a vacation or a sabbatical. Promoting your books requires daily, round the clock, endless effort.

Are you familiar with James Patterson? He is a multiple best seller, NY Times top ten author and yet he is still involved with self-promotion. In fact, I just saw one of his television commercials where he is talking about his latest book, The 15th Affair. You might think that an author, with his name recognition, book sales and notoriety, would be able to just write books and send them to his publisher and hope for the best.  But that isn’t how it works.

First off, people buy from those they know, like and trust. For an author, that requires your face – your voice – your thoughts – your participation. A publisher can help the process but it is your personal promotion that will seal the deal.

So does self-promotion sound awful? Perhaps, but here are two thoughts that should make you feel better:

  • The more you self-promote, the more readers you will have who will help spread the word for you.
  • The more you self-promote, the easier it becomes.

So what IS self-promotion?

Pretty much anything you do to help spread the word about your book is considered self-promotion. Sharing a seat with someone on a plane and talking about your book is self-promotion. Talking about your book at this weekend’s backyard bbq is self-promotion. However, to be really successful, you’ll want to find ways to spread the word about your books so that you reach more than just one person at a time.

11 Ways Self-Promotion Works to Market Your Books

Following are eleven proven ways you can use self-promotion to market your book. Each of the linked words below, lead to other articles providing detailed information that will help guide you through the self-promotion process.

  1. Social media sharing: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, you name it.
  2. Blogging – writing articles that offer a little insight into you as an author, the characters in your book and different ways you are engaging with your audience.
  3. Press Releases – keep your name in the news with updates on book signings and other events. Which leads me to…
  4. Book signings and other events in your community.
  5. YouTube videosbook trailer videos but also short little videos of you sharing your thoughts about your books and your key subject matter.
  6. Podcasts: yours or being a guest on someone else’s. Check out Blog Talk Radio and search for people hosting radio shows that line up with your books. Send them an email and ask to be a guest. Trust me – they are always looking for people to have on their show.
  7. Online live events – try using Facebook streaming video. In fact, here is an easy to use tutorial on how to create and promote your live Facebook videos.
  8. Conduct a virtual book tour using other bloggers around the Internet to promote your book.
  9. Submit your book for a book award. Having an award attached to your writing and to you as a published author offers additional credibility.
  10. Speaking engagements. Speaking engagements are more than just book signings or readings. These are opportunities for you to share more information about what motivated you to write the book, what your writing process is and how you develop your subject.
  11. E-Newsletters. As you continue to reach out to potential readers, make sure you gather email addresses so that you can periodically share updates with your reader base. This is a great way to keep your name in front of prospects without ever leaving your home!

One thing to remember, this information isn’t just for the book you publish this month. It is never too late to promote a book you have written. Unless the information is obsolete, you can continue promoting books you have written years ago. There are always new readers in the market and if you don’t let them know about the book you wrote in 2005, they’ll never think to look for it.

I was just talking with a friend about Madonna. As in “like a virgin.” There are thousands of new music listeners that were she not continuing to self-promote herself, would never know about her. Imagine a generation not knowing about Madonna and her hundreds of top hits. In fact, she is performing this month at the Billboard awards. Sure, she could sit by her pool and never lift a finger to promote her music again, but she still wants to be considered a relevant musician. She may be almost old enough to be an AARP member but she is still a killer performer and musician.

Bottom line: Writing your book is the easy part. Making sure the world knows about it requires self-promotion. Need help with creating a strategy? Give me a call.