For writers who haven’t yet published a book, the idea of selling a contract to a publisher sounds better than an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii.
But selling the book (Step #1) and then writing the book (Step #2) are just the beginning.
As the publishing world gets more competitive and the bookshelves more crowded with well written, compelling books on fascinating topics, writers themselves need to get out there and promote their books once they are published.
Actually, book promotion has to start before the book is published. Which means, for most of us, book promotion needs to start before the book is written. Which feels a little schizophrenic because how can you promote a book that you haven’t actually written?
I can’t answer that.
But I can say that one of the best things we can do as writers is support each other and help each other with book promotion. There are a lot of ways to do this.
Two of my favorites:
#1: BUY A COPY OF YOUR FRIEND’S BOOK: As my friend Max said as he was paying for a copy of Slaves in Algiers, the classroom edition of an 18th century play that I co-edited years ago (yep, Max is a good friend), friends BUY each other’s books.
#2: ASK YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY TO BUY A COPY OF YOUR FRIEND’S BOOK: Anyone with a library card can request an acquisition. All you do is fill out a little slip of paper or an on-line form. Most libraries are more than happy to fulfill these requests.
I know this sounds small and simple but if you have a new book coming out and all of your friends and family buy it and request a library to buy it, you’ve just sold as many as a thousand advanced copies (depending on how many friends you have.)
Alisa Bowman, who is an amazing writer and blogger and the collaborator on many bestsellers, has a book coming out soon. It’s called Project Happily Ever After: Saving Your Marriage When the Fairytale Falters. It’s about how she went from planning her husband’s funeral (she hated him that much) to being in a loving, fulfilling relationship.
I just pre-ordered it.
Alisa has good ideas about so many things, from how to groom your nether parts (yep, she talks about hair, down there) to how to help your friends promote their books.
Alisa Bowman’s best book promotion techniques for writers whose friends are coming out with books:
* If you’re in a book club, pick it as a monthly read. That would be beyond awesome.
* If you are on bookmovement.com, review it there.
* Tell a couple friends about it. Even strangers you meet, say, on a bus while you happen to be reading the book and they ask you what it is about. Word of mouth promotion is actually the most important sales tool there is.
* Blog about it. Tell other bloggers about it. (Here’s a recent blog I did about a colleague’s book.)
* Quote me! If you are writing about marriage, sex, post partum depression, wishing husbands dead, bikini waxes, vow renewing, unemployed husbands, unemployed husbands who spend your second honey moon savings on ski trips they take without you, wishing you could have an affair, dry spells …. I am the ultimate real woman source who is willing to dish about all of the things no one will talk about and then even have my entire family pose for a photo!
* Write reviews for Amazon.com. Important. Especially because you are all writers and will say things that probably will entice to buy.
* When the trailer comes out (I did a neat trailer… filmed in a cemetery with me talking about how I planned his funeral), please Facebook or tweet it if you’re comfortable doing that. Totally will help.
* Let me know about media opportunities, even if you think I’ve already seen them. Because sometimes I’m overwhelmed and even though I get updates from Help A Reporter Out, I sometimes don’t read or read too late.
* Tell me that it’s not a stupid book when I’m crying because someone commented on amazon that it’s a stupid book (most important thing you can do!).
* Suggest marketing strategies to me, even if you think I might have already thought about them. Because maybe I haven’t.
Effective book promotion is all about brainstorming.
What other ideas do you have to help yourself and your friends get the word out about their books?
Updated April 11, 2018