Self-promotion is essential for an author. Whether you’re fortunate enough to have the support of a book publisher or if you’re going it alone with self-publishing, the reading public wants access to you.
This means blogging, having a website devoted to your books, running a newsletter and making pithy posts on social media…all to get your name circulating and maybe sticking to the memory banks of potential readers.
Many writers are reclusive, shy even and not given to making a fuss. But, it helps to be able to blow your own trumpet when necessary, such as for a book launch. It may come across as arrogant, which we’ve discussed before, but unless you’re a household name such as J.K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood or E.L. James, it will only be a flash in the pan, a brief round of publicity before you can return to solitude to write your next book. All the same, you should maintain contact with your fans with a newsletter. You’re not a cicada emerging every 2-17 years!
These days we’re expected to establish ourselves and our books as a brand. Potentially, this means being typecast as a certain style of writer. Should my Cornish Detective series be successful, I doubt that my Ghost or Western stories would be automatically accepted. This is how pen names come about.
Ideally, readers would be able to name you as one their favourite genre or literary authors. But, how many times do they need to see your name and/or the name of your main character before they remember it? Having a catchphrase might help. Mine is: A country copper with a strange mind, a weary heart and quick fists—what could possibly go wrong?
Repetition is the key. If you can afford paid advertising, then great, but simply mentioning your story at appropriate moments should help to spread awareness. On my writing blog, I occasionally allude to my crime novels, not being too heavy-handed, just enough to show that I’ve got skin in the game.
It takes multiple exposures to a product before it registers in a consumer’s mind. The Rule of 7 applies. Anything you post online should be linked to other content. Make it a habit and it won’t feel boastful.
Dating from 1885, Thomas Smith’s list of 20 in this article is thought-provoking:
So, don’t be shy about promoting yourself!
What have you tried?
What are you doing at the moment? Do you have a blog or a website?
You can’t hide behind your own book forever.
You have to make them have it!
What’s your book called again?