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Authors: How to market your new book
Monday, May 13, 2013 (All day)

The process of writing a book is often compared to the pain and rewards of giving birth—but as with becoming a parent, getting published is only the beginning. The way your new “baby” is promoted will determine its success in the world, and increasingly, much of this work falls to authors.

It’s an experience writer Sharon A. Crawford knows something about. Last year, she had to build a marketing engine to generate exposure for her inaugural book, Beyond the Tripping Point (2012, Blue Denim Press), a collection of 13 mystery short stories. Here, Crawford, a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada—Toronto Chapter and the current Writer in Residence of the Toronto Branch of the Canadian Authors Association, shares her strategies for promoting her book:

Sharon A.: What are the main ways you market your Beyond the Tripping Point?

Sharon C.: It is through a combination of social media and in-person marketing, but the main thrust is through my writing connections with the East End Writers’ Group, Crime Writers of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association, PWAC and other writers’ groups. The Crime Writers group has something called Books and Beverages—events at libraries, bookstores and pubs where you can read and sell your books and people come and listen to us. With the Authors Association, I can participate in or moderate panels. I also applied to the Toronto Public Library system’s program for authors to read their book at their libraries.

Sharon A: How do you use the web and social media to create awareness about your book?

Sharon C: I post my readings and speaker events on the online calendars of the Crime Writers group and PWAC. I also have a blog where I write about my book-promotion events—lots of my blog readers buy the book and Tweet about it. I have a Facebook author page where I post about what’s going on, and my blog is connected to it. I have a profile on Amazon.com, and a YouTube channel that features a reading and a two-part interview with me about the book. LinkedIn is a big one—my profile is connected to my blog and includes information on my author events.

Sharon A: Which have been your most effective promotional strategies?

Sharon C: One thing I did last year at my publisher’s insistence was go to the annual conferences of PWAC and Crime Writers of Canada. Through those two events, I got two book reviews—one in [short mystery fiction publication] Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and one in The Hamilton Spectator. I also arranged a blog exchange with another prolific writer, where he reviewed and blogged about my book and I did the same for his book.

Sharon A: What tips do you have for writers trying to get the word out about a new book?

Sharon C.: One big thing is don’t wait until the book comes out to start marketing it; get going ahead of time—your publisher will appreciate it. Hopefully, the publisher will do the launch, because you don’t want that expense. But there are ways of doing it yourself—some do it in their home and use local media for publicity. Let your publisher do what they can but you do what you can, and keep them in the loop on your marketing efforts. Keep a schedule of your publicity activities and keep track of what works and what doesn’t.

NetWords editor Sharon Aschaiek writes about issues, trends and opportunities in education, business and employment, and helps schools and educational organizations with their communications initiatives.

 

- Sharon Aschaiek

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