Everyone has a favorite something. For writers there are lots of favs. Maybe you love that early draft where the ideas roll in, or the critique process when you begin sharing and polishing. Of course all of us love that moment when our golden words are finally bound and on the shelf – I mean in the reader’s hands.
One of my favorite parts of the process is after the book is done and I can start promoting. Sure it’s work, especially for an indie publisher. You add your new title to every list you can find, make sure your book is on as many store shelves as possible, and update your website and Twitter, along with any other social media you can think of. This is an important step for all of us, whether you are printing your organization’s latest cookbook at your local office supply, or you’re published with the biggest house in the industry. Promote, promote, promote.
The best part of promoting – for me – is setting up my little table and selling direct to my readers.
The legwork pays off not just with increased saless, but with the smiling faces of kids when they get to meet a real author. I love it when they ask questions and share their own stories, but I find the most rewarding is when a child, or an adult, learns that they can write a book too.
It’s the interacion with people that gets me going – and gets me noticed.
But you may be wondering how on earth does one get started. How do you find places to sell your books? If you are lucky enough to have a publisher, they have a PR and marketing department who can help with much of this, but you can’t expect them to do it all. You may have to pound the pavement for your own venues. Here are a few ideas I’ve learned.
- Join a writing group. I write for children, so I’m a memberof SCBWI, Society of Chldren’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In the forums are plenty of ideas for promoting. Other organizations, like Romance Writers of America do the same.
- Of course if you are reading this, you already know about social media. Use it! Twitter, Tumbler, Google Circles, Pintrest, Facebook, Goodreads, and the list goes on. Don’t forget to blog.
- Go online and find book fairs in your area. You may need to drive out of your way sometimes, but, hey, life is an adventure and you never know when the next wwonderful idea will present itself. A great resource in Texas can be found at TxAuthors.com . They do the legwork for you.
- Check in with your local library. Many libraries host a book fair each year. Don’t forget about the schools and colleges as well. And many smaller towns have annual festivals where you can have a book signing.
- Connect with other local authors. You might find them at independant bookstores. Then organize a reading. Be sure and advertise, send out invites, offer door prizes and of course refreshments. Involve some volunteers to play act a scene. Basically have fun. Two to four readers is optimal to keep the event under two hours. Make sure to schedule enough time for Q&A.
- Do you have a niche audience? I write stories about ponies so I set up at feed stores and do well. Don’t be afraid to approach a store manager for permission to sell your books in front of their store. This great idea came from another indie author who writes historical romances. She likes to set up at local museums. I’m at the Tractor Supply in Bryan, Texas, today.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. People who have been doing this longer than me might have even more ideas. If I missed something, or if you have a great experience, please share in the comments.