Whether you are releasing your first book or you’ve been publishing for years, you need to build your “brand”—your author name recognition—and promote every book.
- Get advice from experienced authors: Join author discussion loops, don’t be afraid to ask questions about what others are doing for promo and what works for them, and to share what you’ve tried. Talk to other authors you know. Find the blogs where bestselling and very well-known authors give advice. Read some of the books available on the topic.
- Join professional writing organizations where you can network, take workshops, get support and advice.
- You MUST have a website and/or blog. Keep it current, update frequently.
- A regular e-newsletter is highly encouraged. Research shows that the best way to reach people is still by email—more effective actually than social media when it comes to impact on your book sales. Build an email distribution list of every reader you’ve ever heard from!
- Presence on social media is a must these days. Not everywhere—don’t let it become a time suck that interferes with writing your next book. Pick two or three places to focus your efforts. And most important for social media: don’t make it all about pushing your book. Keep that to a minimum. The point is to build relationships and contacts, so that people are interested in you as a person enough to make them want to read your book. Or they like you and share interests with you and so want to support you.
- Participate (as a reader) on book blogs, make your name familiar. When you do have a new book coming out, politely ask about interest in reviewing it.
- Promote yourself: Look for opportunities to be interviewed or post articles on blogs; organize blog tours. When you have a new release, contact your local bookstores, radio station, town newspaper.
- Attend reader-oriented conventions to promote yourself directly to readers and find new fans.
- Create and maintain an Amazon author page.
- Be an author on Goodreads, and be a “reader”, posting comments on other authors’ books. (NO sock puppetry anywhere!)
- If fans email you to praise your book, thank them and let them know that you’d appreciate them posting their comments on Goodreads, Barnes &Noble and Amazon. (Oh, and be sure to add them to your e-newsletter distribution list.)
- Network with your fellow authors, support and promote each other, share ad and promo opportunities.
Notice that this list starts and ends with working together with fellow authors? Good and successful authors are usually incredibly supportive of each other and new authors. So if you are new, you’ll find people to help you. And then pay it forward by helping others.