Thursday, September 18, 2014

Who will hear your story? - Writing Workshop Series

Promoting your book - Who will hear my story?

We talked about developing the story, researching and the process for getting your book ready for publishing. Let's jump to the end, once your book is published. What do you do now, how do you get your story out? Who will hear your story? Truthfully you don't want to wait until you have your book in your hand before you begin to promote it. You want to begin promoting it once you know it is in the publishing process.

Promoting your book was once left to the publisher, but with the move from traditional publishers to Print On Demand (POD) and self-publishing/semi self-publishing options this isn't always the case. You know you have a story, but how do you figure out who to share it with and how do you accomplish the task. This is difficult and will take some effort on your part. I don't claim to be the master on promotion but I will share what I've seen work (some do this better than others).

Some individuals have sought to have book signings in their local bookstores. You may be able to leverage the fact that you are a published author living in the community. Talk to your bookstore owner to see if they will allow you to do a book signing and/or place a few books in their stores. Even if the answer is no, you are still a winner because you are taking the time to network and you never know what you might find out. For example there may be a book fair that you might find out about because of your networking. Book fairs/reader fairs are great because you can pay a fee to share your books and have exposure to potential customers.

That's why it's important for you to take the time to investigate any upcoming book fairs and/or events in your local area. Find out if they have booths you can rent to share your books. the key is to make sure your book fits in with the fair. You wouldn't try to sell a cookbook at a children's book fair, unless it is a cookbook for kids or aimed at helping busy moms make healthy meals in less time. So make sure to position your book in places that fit with your work. Look for non-traditional ways of promoting your book. For example maybe someone is having an event to mentor young girls, if your book is targeted for teen girls, see if you can be a sponsor and have your information available on the fliers, etc. as well as there at the event. If you can't afford to be a sponsor give a book or two to the group to raffle off. Think outside the box! 

Use testimonies to promote your book. Maybe before the book comes out you have a group read it and write reviews for you. You can use these reviews to put on your website or FB page. I copy and past customers testimonies to my Williams Innovative Network website author's page. When I wrote my first book, I made videos of the girls talking about their favorite parts of the book. You can use those to promote the book. Also give people your information and ask them to send you an e-mail once they've read the book. I've taken those e-mails and put them on my website, Facebook page and other social media locations.

Social media is also a place that can be used to promote your book. Create a Facebook page related to your book or writing information. Now please don't use the page just to run sales ads and ask people to buy your book, you'll soon lose followers that way. Make your posts relevant to your book. For example if your book is about healthy living, then post status that talk about eating better, or exercising. Then you can ask for the sale, but you have to give something to get. Whatever you use, make sure you are building relationships first. I know many don't like to be befriended today and minutes later you're asking them to by your book, maybe you could say hello first. You know what that feels like, like you only want them to buy something from you and that can turn people off. Give something away first (advice, tips, etc.) and then ask for the sale.

Something else you can do is have a launch party. It doesn't have to be expensive. Find a coffee shop, or neighborhood spot that might allow you to take a corner to have people stop by to get a book signed. Or you can rent a venue (your neighborhood YMCA or Park District spaces). Have light refreshments and you can even have a reading.

I preach so I often ask churches and individuals that ask me to preach if I can bring my books. I generally sale out all the books I bring. I also make it easy and convenient for my customers. I have a Square store so that my customers can use their credit cards. You can get a square or one of the devices that allow you to take credit cards so that you can have a portable store. Another thing you can do is write a blog and/or articles that allow you to promote your book. 

The key is to be creative in whatever you chose to use to promote your book. Some things will work, some things won't. However you'll never know until you try them. What did or didn't work for someone else doesn't mean the same success or failure for you. The key is to keep at it, don't give up.

For more information about publishing and promoting, keep checking back as we prepare to launch Tri-Productions Publishing. If you have questions on how to get started e-mail us @