Saturday, May 15, 2010

Guest Post: Anthony Bidulka shares The 5 'C's of Promoting Your Book

The morning after.

Means a lot of different things to different people, but to writers it means one thing: promotion. What to do the morning after you’ve landed that long sought-after publishing contract. It can be a shocking thing, the morning after, when you realize there isn’t some marketing guru whose sole responsibility every day is to figure out more and better ways to get your book into the hands of readers. It can be shocking when you realize that marketing guru needs to be YOU.

When it happened to me, after some hits and misses, I came up with:

The 5 ‘C’s of promoting your book.
  1. Confidence
  2. Circulation
  3. Communication
  4. Capitalization
  5. Creativity
  • A successful career comes from within:
  • Be confident - Portray confidence no matter what is happening with your career.
  • Protect your confidence – don’t let critics, reviewers, jealous neighbours and frenemies get you down.
  • Nurture the confidence of colleagues – it will come back to you ten-fold.
  • YOU are the best salesperson of your work.
  • Do not rely on your publisher/agent/booksellers/distributor/best friends to do it for you.
  • Help them help you - Get out there/ be seen and heard.
  • Lack of publisher promotion strategy? Create your own and see how far you get.
  • Research what other authors are doing.
  • Ask for nothing from you publisher, get nothing. Ask for 100 things, get at least one or two.

There are a plethora of choices for (a) Who you communicate with/to and (b) How to communicate

  • Publishers
  • Bookstores – owners/managers/suppliers
  • Your Readers
  • Other writers – critique or writing groups, joint readings, conferences, online groups
  • Book clubs
  • Writers groups – local, national, international – professional and otherwise
  • Website
  • Book trailers
  • Readings and public appearances
  • Facebook
  • Myspace
  • Blogging
  • Online discussion forums
  • TV interviews
  • Radio
  • Newspapers
Means of communication are proliferating – important point: know you can’t do them all without jeopardizing time for other things. You need to begin by selecting a few communication choices and stick with them for a while – then evaluate, be flexible, and change it up over time.

  • Know your strengths and capitalize on them. Know your weaknesses and either improve, work around them, or get someone else to do it!
  • The best example is a colleague of mine who is, self-admittedly, a poor public speaker. His books are terrific, but to hear him read from one was pure torture for both him and his audience. He practiced and got pointers from everyone he met, but nothing seemed to help. He came up with a brilliant solution. He still organizes readings, but instead of doing the reading himself, he simply asks a local celeb (like a radio DJ or a bookstore owner) or even his wife, to do it for him. Afterwards he handles the Q&A. Genius I think.
  • Be creative with how you promote yourself and your work. You can use tried and true methods – but spice them up. Ask other authors what creative things they have done. It’s a competitive industry – get noticed! It doesn’t have to cost big dollars.
  • Key- there is no one golden bullet - have a basketful of tricks.
  • Take control.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Sometimes it’ll work. Sometimes it won’t.
  • Oftentimes you won’t even know for sure.  
  • Having no budget is no excuse to do nothing.
  • Never give up.
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Anthony Bidulka’s Russell Quant mystery series (please visit tells the story of a world-travelling, wine-swilling, wise-cracking, gay, Canadian prairie, private detective living a big life in a small city. The series is a multi award nominee, including for the CWC Arthur Ellis Award, and winner of the Lambda Literary Award. Aloha, Candy Hearts is currently shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel.


Eileen Schuh: said...

This is wonderful advice, Anthony. It's a challenge for writers to keep pace with both technology and the changing face of our industry.

Eileen Schuh
Canadian Author

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Great advice! Thanks.