|Bestselling Author Terry Brooks signs books.
Ask a first-time novel writer how they plan on promoting their book and it’s common to hear, “I’ll have a book signing.” While book signings sound glamorous, they are quickly being replaced by events and activities which produce faster, better results.
Writing Tip for Today: Unless your name is Terry Brooks or JK Rowling, (or someone with a recognizable name) a book signing may not be your best option. Here are some other ideas to help spread the word when your novel is published–whether traditionally or independently:
Use Resources Wisely.
Even authors with traditional (royalty-paying) publishers are now keenly aware of shrinking promo budgets. Print ads are costly and actually have been shown less effective than a tool every author can afford: The Internet. Even if you are scared of or not interested in learning how to use social media (Facebook, Twitter and the like), the plain fact is that some type of social media interaction is mandatory for today’s authors. As of now, the Internet is still mostly free, and where else can you reach an international audience for next to nothing? If you are scared, take a basic Internet class at your local community college, library or senior center. If you think it’s a waste of your time, ask yourself how you plan to reach thousands of readers without it.
Go Deep, Not Wide.
If you join every social media service out there but never or rarely log on, it won’t help you grow a readership. Instead choose one or two from the field and concentrate your efforts there. If you are on Facebook but hate the thought of Twitter, that’s fine. Maybe you’d do well on Pinterest, which is all about posting photos and other documents to a virtual bulletin board. Or how about Goodreads, a site dedicated to reading and books? I advise you to start out with Facebook because you don’t have to worry about keeping your message to 140 characters and you can post pictures easily. Also, chances are you’re already on FB, even if it’s only to see pics of the family. Goodreads is an excellent second choice. As you become more comfortable, you may want to add other sites as well as a dashboard to manage them, such as Social Oomph or Hootsuite. But until then, I’d rather see you become comfortable on one or two sites than to join everything and do nothing.
Promote Your Work Wisely.
Facebook, et al are NOT about having to read about what someone has for breakfast. This is the number one excuse I get for not becoming proficient with social media. While it’s not about posting inane stuff, neither is social media for hard-selling readers. Those who write in ALL CAPS and/or shout at readers to BUY MY BOOK! are not likely to connect. The author who genuinely shows an interest in others, connects with them about stuff they care about and then–and only then–mentions a book they might be interested in, will build relationships. Real relationships have staying power. And BUYING power.