Writers no longer have the luxury of simply writing. Whether striving to be published or already published, writers must promote themselves. This self-promotion can make a difference when it comes to acceptance by a major publisher—they will generally choose a writer with a ready-made readership over one who hasn’t a clue. And self-promotion definitely makes a difference when it comes to marketing a published book—no one will read it if they don’t know it exists.
The successful authors are those who accept promotion as a way of life, or at least an adjunct to their writing life. And truly, it’s not hard. Nor is it dull.
Repeat after me: promotion is just another word for party.
If you think of promotion, you get depressed, feel inadequate, start making excuses why it’s not for you. On the other hand, if you think of a party, you perk up, get excited, gear for fun. And that is exactly the attitude you need when you promote.
Many people have told me recently that they admire my ability to promote myself without being obnoxious, but the truth is, I learned how to do it from other authors. Or rather I learned how not to do it from them. Sometimes I get dozens of emails in a day from authors asking me to buy their books. I don’t read such emails. Do you? I didn’t think so. Then don’t send them. Why waste the effort on something that so many people find dreary?
If you’re on Facebook (and of course you are), I’m sure you get several event invitations every day. An unknown author has a book released. An unknown author is guest blogging. An unknown author is giving away a book. Do you respond to such anonymous events? Probably not. You want fun. And so do your potential readers.
So think party.
I’ve thrown two successful online parties so far. My “HALLELUJAH! MY NOVELS HAVE FINALLY BEEN PUBLISHED! LET’SPARTY!” party lasted a week and was full of games, gifts, videos, puzzles. Sure it took time to set it up, but it was fun for people. Or at least it gave the illusion of fun, which is the same thing when it comes to the Internet.
Most recently I threw a “PAT BERTRAM IS TWO YEARS OLD TODAY” party to celebrate the second birthday of my online persona. The idea was just quirky enough that it drew attention. I don’t know that I sold any books because of it, but a lot more people are aware of me now, and that’s a good beginning.
So, when it comes to marketing your book—have fun. Be creative. Throw a party.