If you’ve been a writer for long, you know that it’s not enough to produce publishable stuff. You also need a writing platform and ways to find new readers.
Writing Tip for Today: Here are three ways to hep you spread the word and promote your work:
Talk about Theme
Whether you’re in the grocery checkout line, at the doctor’s office or attending church, you know you need to talk about your book. But many writers shy away from self-aggrandizement. What to do? Instead of touting that you wrote the book, try honing a few words about the themes your book covers.
If you’ve written fiction, talk about what the main character seeks (that pesky goal). Evergreen topics such as love, belonging, acceptance and redemption are themes most people can relate to. Instead of going on about the book’s plot, look for ways to talk about your character’s overall journey.
If you’ve done your homework, you’ll already have some books in mind that deal with similar themes. These complementary books may help readers understand that your book is a lot like a book they enjoyed or the type of book they like. Even better, think of two different books that can be a mashup of your book’s subject matter. Try to mash two recent volumes rather than classics.
If you write fiction, nonfiction or memoir, you can still find ways to link your book to topics readers care about. Let’s say your character or you in a memoir has a loyal dog. You can talk up this point to garner interest.
Is your novel set in a historical period? Lovers of history might be interested. I love cats (duh!) and I often hear from readers of this blog who love the cat pics I post. Explore subtopics, characters, eras and secondary characters as you talk about your book.
I used to advise joining social media groups that focus on your topic but beware: At Facebook, most groups ban any sort of self-publicity such as links or even announcing your book’s release. One way I work around this is by placing little bits in comments of those groups I feel would love my book.
Find ways to connect with readers through theme or topic.
I also sometimes ask other members of a group or area on social media to do my announcing. Yet I need a relationship with that person before I approach them. Spend a decent amount of time getting to know other posters without promoting your book.
Find common areas of interest and be genuinely interested in their lives. When I wrote Prayers for Parents of Prodigals, I wasn’t able to include blurbs or links on several group sites. I set out to develop friendships with the folks who posted, commiserating or offering kindnesses. When you reach out to your readers, be real.
Promoting your work is always going to be daunting. It will seem like a very slow process to cultivate your readership. But by drawing out themes and angles, secondary characters or shared interest, you can grow your readership. What are your favorite free ways to promote your work?