Monday, May 3, 2010

The Importance of Promoting Your Book

When I became an author, I didn’t know one thing about promoting one’s book. I was oblivious to such a thing. I had pictured myself sitting at my desk and writing more stories. I was not prepared for all the hard work I was supposed to do. My publisher told me to get a website, write articles for the Internet and local newspapers, get reviews, get interviews, enter contests, etc. The list was long and I became discouraged.

Finally my sweet husband said, “You worry too much. I know you can do it. It’s just like eating an elephant.”

“An elephant?” I exclaimed.

“Yes. Just one bite at a time!”

That’s right! After your book is published, an author’s responsibilities are just beginning. Many people think that an author can now relax after the book has been written and begin their next book, but it’s not so. An author must promote his or her book by doing a few things that will enhance the book’s success.

First, when creating your website, make sure that it can be loaded easily. If it can’t be loaded within 10 seconds, visitors will give up. Make sure your images are optimized for web view. Don’t make the site too busy or visitors will feel overwhelmed and give up.

Second, send your book to professional reviewers. Pick only reviewers who review your genre, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Some reviewers only review established authors, so select carefully so you don’t send your book to someone who won’t review it.

Third, write articles for the Internet and local newspapers. You must publish articles so you will be recognized as an author and it will enhance your web presence. These articles are important for your book’s success, for the one reason that people are getting to know you. Articles help you and your book to stand out and be noticed. There are some excellent websites to write articles: American Chronicle, Article-hangout, Go Articles, Articles Base, Amazines, Search Warp, and Authors Den.

How do you begin writing for the web? The American Chronicle is a great one because it has twenty-one other chronicles where your articles will be published. First, you need to send an article to the Chronicle as evidence of your writing skills. The other article websites don’t ask for samples. All you have to do is just sign up and begin writing. You may visit my site at American Chronicle and see what kind of articles I write. Make sure you have a good byline that includes your name, your book, and contact information such as your website. With American Chronicle, you don’t need a byline because your bio is on your site.

Cheryl Malandrinos helps authors promote their books. She is a book reviewer, blogger, interviews authors and editors for The Book Connection, and is a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion. She is a founding member of Musing Our Children—a group dedicated to encouraging a love of reading and writing in young people.

Cheryl, you work for an online book promotion agency. You show authors how to sell books without leaving the comfort of their home. What are the most important things an author should do to begin promoting his or her book?

Thanks for having me here today, Linda. I love talking book promotion. The most important thing an author must do is create an online presence before the book comes out. That means investing in a professional-looking website. This could be a potential reader’s first impression of you and your work. It could also be visited by fellow authors and others in the industry. You want them to know you take your career seriously and will deliver a professional product. With my first children’s book coming out later this year, I’m taking the plunge and having someone design a new website for my work. God did not bless me with that type of knowledge, and I want something that will be attractive and informative.

Creating an online presence also involves learning how to use social media. When Pump Up Your Book Promotion started, there was no Facebook or Twitter. Now, it’s hard to imagine they haven’t always been around. I’m constantly using these and other social networks to promote our clients.

Another important thing an author should do is create a media kit. Social Media Consultant Angela Wilson has several articles about media kits on her “Market My Novel” website. If you go to the archives section and look under media kits, you’ll easily find them. In her article, “What Makes a Good Online Media Kit” (September 2, 2009) you’ll learn what an online media kit should include, along with examples from author websites.

Networking is also vital to successful book promotion. I’ve been networking online for years. You need to foster relationships before your book comes out so people are willing to help you when the time comes. If you’re good to people and supportive of their endeavors, they will be happy to return the favor.

Very good advice, Cheryl. A website is important because people want to know who the author is and what kind of books he or she has written. Why is Internet marketing so important?

Let’s face it, we live in very different times now. My children can’t imagine a world without computers in every classroom, the Internet, cell phones, iPods, and e-books. When I tell my son that I lived—and still live—without texting, he falls over with laughter.

Technology has meant many great things for authors. Self-publishing and POD companies have opened doors that might have remained shut for some writers. E-books and e-readers give people access to books at a lower cost, and make them easily portable. As the publishing industry has evolved, so has the way in which authors are promoting their books.

With limited marketing budgets, authors need to find the most bang for their buck. The Internet provides that by allowing authors to reach a much larger audience than they could with in-store book signings and other local events. Now, I’m not saying authors shouldn’t plan book signings or other events around their book, just that they need to combine what they are doing locally with savvy Internet marketing to widen their reach.

Thank you, Cheryl. You have given us some valuable information. Remember, as an author, your duties don’t stop when the book is written. It’s just beginning. You need to get out into the public’s eye and be recognized so your book will be noticed.

(Interested in mystery novels? Read my press release: “Mystery and Adventure” is Theme of New Novel: Anasazi Intrigue.)


Cheryl said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Linda. I enjoyed our interview.

I would be willing to answer book promotion questions during the giveaway period. I will check in once a day, most likely in the evenings. I might not be able to help everyone, but I'll give it my best shot with the knowledge I have.


Beth at Aunties said...

I would love to read this booklet, Family Legacy Booklet to learn how to make our family history interesting.
I KNOW I will never be a published author, but would love to creat family histories and cherished memories our posterity and family would love to read.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Book promotion is a daunting task. I've found the most useful tool to make your book "newsworthy" to be wacky holidays that provide reasons to promote. Hgere's one of the sites I use

J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer

Cracker Jack said...

I would love to have the Family Legacy Booklet. I am like the family historian. I've been keeping a journal since I was 19, and in the past 12 years, since I've been doing it on the computer and printing our my entries I've been getting better. I have an impressive library of journals. My goal is to take all my old hand written journals and type everything out, make many improvements and additions for my "personal history" which will encompass all my years leading up to 12 1/2 years ago. From that I want to put together a book about my first marriage called, "My Refiner's Fire". This is a book that I want to publish. I've been planning to do this for years, and I think that I'm about ready to start on the project. I'm looking for ways to help me become a better writer, and get my book published and enjoyed by others.

Unknown said...

Great interview and advice, Cheryl. You do a wonderful job at book promotion and really know what you are talking about. You are always inspiring.

Renee Hand

jessi said...

I love that line about eating an elephant--I think I'll use that with my kids!
I can't imagine how many new authors I've found on the internet. The site says a lot about the author to me, even if it's not true-first impressions and all that.
The Family Legacy Booklet sounds like a must have! I've always said some of my family's stories were way more convoluted than any soap opera.
I also have copies of my gr. gr. grandfathers diaries of fighting in the Civil War~~so interesting!

Mayra Calvani said...

Great interview, Linda and Cheryl!

Linda, I agree that writing articles is a great way to get some recognition, but be careful of those article directories. Your article may be read hundreds of times, but if only 2-3 people actually click on the link on your byline, that means very few people are actually visiting your site from those directories. You can check ho wmany people click on your byline links somewhere on the dashboard of these directories, so be sure to check it out.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, Linda. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book -- which as you know can be a fabulous tool in book promotion!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for dropping in everyone. Jess, I love the wacky holidays idea. Too often we think of the biggies, but those less known ones can work to our advantage too. Thank you for your kind words, Renee.

Linda, this book sounds so interesting. Is this a booklet you had out with your workshops? I think this workshop is an awesome idea. Like you have taken real life events to create your Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho series, our family histories can be the start of many wonderful stories for us to share.

Thanks again for hosting me here.


NancyCL said...

What an awesome interview! Thanks so much for the information. I know it will come in handy.

Suko said...

What a terrific post and interview! Please enter me in this great giveaway. Thanks!


V.R. Leavitt said...

Great interview!! As always, Cheryl is full of valuable info!

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

I'd love to win the Booklet!
Great interview. I'm in the second month of my debut novel being on the market. Promoting the book is very time consuming... appearances and on the internet. Really appreciated the great interview and book giveaway here, last week!
I need to get at writing the articles - thanks for the Reminder, Linda.

Bill ;-)

billsmith2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

Author, Back to the Homeplace

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by Nancy, Suko, and Vanessa. It means a lot that you dropped in and left a comment. Bill, congratulations on your debut. How exciting!

Wishing you all the best,


Donna McDine said...

Wonderful interview of Cheryl. Her expertise and advice are terrific!

Cheryl said...

Thanks Donna. I appreciate your kind words.


Anonymous said...

Great interview! I'll have to tell my mom about the booklet Family Legacy. She is into genealogy. I'm sure she'd be very interested in it.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by Suzanne.


Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Beth at Aunties! You have won the small booklet, "Writing Your Family Legacy." I hope you enjoy it. It contains my lecture at various libraries throughout the U.S.

Cheryl said...

Congratulations Beth! I hope you enjoy the book.