Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Self-Promotion Link Soup

With my fellow prosers launching a fabulous new book (link here), I thought I’d do a quick post on links that I found on the internet that might help with that dreaded self-promotion.  I haven’t gotten to this stage yet, but I know regardless of which route I take, I will have to do some self-promotion.  I am incredibly shy about these things, and I know I’ll end up with some dreadful self-conscious ramble here and there on the internet.  I’m not looking forward to it.

Anyway, here's my link soup that will hopefully help you promote your books without cringing.
Picture from Stock xchng

The Basics- This link has excellent advice that is the minimum of what every author should do in promoting their book online.  There is also a lot of advice to avoid those huge mistakes that can drive readers away.  The link is a discussion thread that is very long, but the best stuff is in the first post, so if you don’t want to read through the entire thread, just read the first post.

Social Media- There is a ton of advice on how to use social media to sell books (like here, here, here, and here), but the best advice that I came across is to only do the things that you enjoy.  If you love twitter, than use twitter.  If you hate twitter, don’t use it.  Find the social media that you enjoy using and use it.  Don’t use everything unless you just love all forms of social media.  Social media is about connecting with people, and if you aren’t willing to engage with others, then it isn’t going to work for you.  You don’t just throw up posts promoting your book, you get involved in discussions that have nothing to do with you or your book and connect with people.  It is time consuming, so only do what you enjoy doing.  Here is Sarah’s awesome post about selling books on Twitter. 

Be innovativeAgent Kristin Nelson makes a great point in this post.  By the time the word gets out on a new way to promote a book, it’s probably already too late to jump on the bandwagon.  Don’t be afraid the think outside the box and try something new.  Of course that is easy to say, and much much harder to actually do.  Which leads to the next section.

Research-It may not hurt to spend a little time researching how readers choose books.  I did a little bit of research for you.  Here is a survey done by Smashwords on how readers choose books.  Here is a discussion on Goodreads about how readers choose books.  It is complicated because readers are so different, but there are definitely some things you can do that will help.

Make sure your book itself captures the reader’s attention- Once you’ve captured a potential reader’s attention, you want to do everything you can to encourage them to buy your book.  This means that you need a professional cover that promises the kind of book you are selling.  You need an enticing jacket copy, and first sample pages that draw the reader in.  This survey done by Goodreads indicates reasons readers abandon books.  Might be helpful.

Write a damn good book- Of course if you are trying to sell more than one book, your first book better be pretty damn good.  This is for sure the most important part of self-promoting, giving the reader a fantastic product so that they want to buy more from you.  It’s pretty obvious, but it seems that some don’t want to do the work to take their books to the professional level.  But if you want people to buy more of your product, you better give them a great product.

Write another damn good book and another and another- In my opinion, what is more important than spending hours and hours promoting your book is to keep writing.  If you keep putting great books out there, people are bound to notice them.  I think there is some truth to the saying that cream rises to the top.  I’m sure not all the cream does.  Sometimes it might need a little push, but always make sure what you are putting out there is cream.  That is the single most important key in selling books.

I hope you enjoyed my link soup on self-promotion.  Please feel free to share any thoughts and tips you have.



  1. Yeah, I agree with you, writing good books is the key to success. But like you also said, promotion is important. There are so many, many books out there that unless people see/find your book, they don't know it's there. I think promotion helps find readers, good writing keeps them.

  2. Yup, Yes, and thank you. I think good books rise because of readers, and not because of the writer spamming posts, although, it's also important to be able to find a book. I know too many writers who basically ignore the books they write, and that's as helpful as people who constantly harp on their books.

    I'm trying to figure out that balance now, and I think it generally comes down to being brilliant in everything I do, and every comment I say, and that's a lot of pressure, and sometimes I want to hide my head in the sand and stop talking.

    Sometimes that's a good tactic, but usually no. Basically, when you publish a book, it's attached to everything you do, whether you like it or not. Books follow an author the way embarrassing photos do. So...make sure the book is something your proud of, and then that time when you're in a PTA meeting, and you make a friend and they go home and google you, they won't be like...*lowered eyebrows*dang, they'll be like...*raised eyebrows* dang.

    I love that first absolute write link. I think the importance is to communicate, reach out to people, build relationships, and be patience. It's also important to have low expectations.

    I think that's the key to good promotion. That and lucky timing.

  3. Oh, excellent! I can't wait to dig into these links.
    Thanks, MaryAnn!


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