Yesterday we discussed the basics--such as not being so shy you can't tell everyone you meet about your book. The publishing world is changing very rapidly and a lot of the changes are technology oriented. What I say is essential to book promo today may be obselete by the time your novel hits the stands. But we have to start somewhere. Here are some more tips and tricks for promoting a debut novel:
Use Promo Products
Authors used to be advised to order postcards, bookmarks and pencils stamped with their book cover or info to give away. These kinds of freebies are still a good idea, but consider investing in a brief video or slide show called a book trailer. You can watch mine on this page--just click on the photo with the YouTube. While there are plenty of companies that specialize in these teasers, my husband helped me make my own. One of the cool things about a trailer is that you can use them in lots of ways. Sure, put yours up on every internet site you frequent. You can also make CDs and include them with a press kit you give to reviewers. At your big booksigning, set up your screen and use the trailer to entice browsers to buy your book. Post the trailer with each and every blog tour site or on sites that review your book.
Get to know other authors either in your area, your genre or by your book's theme or setting. Help each other by banding together in ways that help sell books. For instance, my novel, The Fence My Father Built, deals with Native Americans and stereotyping. Kay Strom's book, The Call of Zulina, while historical fiction, deals with the slave trade in 1700s Africa. We are creating a workshop on social injustice, to be held at her church. Other ways to band together might include buying ad space that features several books, or holding a book signing for authors with books set in the same general area.
Tie-In Your Theme
With that same idea of theme in mind, link your novel to a current event. A local newspaper might be more inclined to cover your book's release if you've written about a fictional theme that reflects a real life happening, commemoration or holiday.
When your dream of publishing your first novel becomes a reality, the fun has only just begun. Authors today must do everything in their power to give their book the most exposure. Money never hurts, but good promotion is more about how you market your own work than simply throwing cash for advertising. Nobody really knows what causes a novel to "go viral" or get legs that makes it a bestseller, but by mentioning your book every chance you get, you increase your odds of creating buzz. So whether you're in line at the post office, sitting at your computer or melting in the hot sun at the county fair Author's Table, make the most out of your debut by helping your baby get into as many hands as possible. It'll go a long ways in a publisher's decision to acquire book #2 and beyond.