What Are You Doing to Promote Yourself? How Are You Creating Name Recognition?

This article was written by marketing consultant Sia McKye.

Your book is published, either by a traditional publisher, or a POD publisher, now what?  How do we build a reader base?  How do we get our name out there?  Even if you don’t have a book published yet, what can you do to get your name out there before hand? 

Promotion is a bit different than publicity.  Publicity is largely free.  Most of what I mention here is publicity.  Promotion/Marketing is something you usually have to put out money for-sometimes you will get some funds from your publisher for that, other times it’s out of your advance from the publisher.  Some authors pay a fees for certain industry website Ads, or a Bookseller’s list.  Taking an Ad out in Regional and National papers, or in a magazine.  Doing a tour of book signings. 

I have friends that have been published, both non-fiction and fiction.  Dr. Sy Garte, author of, Where We Stand: A Surprising Look at the Real State of Our Planet, made an interesting observation,  “I have gone through this with a non fiction book. Here is what I learned. Most [publishing] houses have a dozen or so books coming out at once. The publicity department is always overwhelmed. If you are a new author, they might not invest the same time as they do for an established author…don’t expect too much marketing investment for a first book, but try to push for as much as you can.” 

Dr. Garte’s book is non-fiction, and much of what he says is from his experience as a published author within that arena, but the information, from what I’m hearing from published fiction authors, is true for both fiction and non-fiction markets.  Bottom line here is that as a new author you will be spending a great deal of time doing both publicity and marketing for your book.  This will be almost full-time on your part for at least the month before and two to three months after release. The more contacts you have the better.  

Building a reader base, and getting name recognition is a must.  Blogging, industry website presence, personal author websites, and to a certain extent, social networks are a good start.  This is where an unpublished author can start building name recognition.  Do you have a book trailer?  Where can a reader see it?  On your personal website?  YouTube?  

Networking also includes, local libraries-get your books in the general area Public libraries.  This can be done by donation.  High School libraries are the same although some are extensions of the public library.  Look at your local newspapers can you ask for a review of your book.  Gina Robinson, author of Spy Candy, mentioned Book Reading Groups.  Getting the lists for those would be advantageous.  Ms. Robinson told me she also signed up on booktour.com to promote her various book signings.  She’s also sent out hundreds of post cards listing Spy Candy’s release and for upcoming scheduled book signings, to every contact she can think of.  Judi Fennell, author of In Over Her Head, uses RWA conferences and functions to get her face and name known, she has entered numerous contests and done very well-in addition to her website and blog. 

Don’t discount friends and family in your networking.  Many of them are proud of your accomplishments and would be willing to pass out your bookmarks-which should have the cover picture, a blurb, author website address, and your publisher website.  An important piece of information to include is where readers’ can purchase your book.  Are you on Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble?  Bookmarks should be colorful to catch the eye.  If you get promotion books from your publisher, which most authors do, whether they are published traditionally or POD, send them out to your personal network to promote for you-especially, if they live in another part of the country. 

There are even small community papers that allow a person to write an article.  Authors should use their writing abilities here too.  Then there are the local radio stations that give free spots for community people and talk shows that will give locals some time for interviews and plugging of our books. Authors need to be aware of these venues. 

Local bookstores can be approached with books in hand and your bookmarks.  Are there other local authors in your area?  Could you approach a bookstore with the idea of a local author’s book signing?  Once we get our foot in the door, it will snowball. 

So what are you doing to get your name recognized?  What successes are you seeing?

6 Responses to “What Are You Doing to Promote Yourself? How Are You Creating Name Recognition?”

  1. Pat S. Says:

    Excellent article. I’m bookmarking it to come back to someday if I ever have anything to promote!

  2. ~Sia~ Says:

    Pat, Thanks for having me here on your Floozy Blog. You’ve come up with some fabulous ideas yourself.

    I think the bottom line here, is authors have to look at their writing as a business. Their personal start-up business. Getting a book written is hard work and I say congratulations to all that have written a book.

    Getting it published–a heady feeling. This is your product you’re offering to the public. Now comes the not fun part–building a reader base. Getting your name and work known. As with any product, people have to know it’s there. You have to generate excitement for it. That work falls largely on the author because you want your book to do more than simply sit on the shelf. You want it to stand out from all the others that may be as good as, or not than yours.

    The crucial time with any new product release is several months prior to release and several month after release. This is where the hard work comes in. But if you don’t do it, your book may be one that’s pulled off the shelf after 6 weeks. It will definitely affect further book deals with your publisher. Publishers prefer authors willing work hard at publicity and promotion.

    So bottom line, be willing to work as hard at promoting yourself and your book as you were with the writing, editing, and querying process.

  3. meopham Says:

    I’m using my blog to publicise my husband’s books. I blog about anythiing I like and I always ends up at why Andrew Norriss’s children’s books are so great – especially now for Christmas presents. So have a look and find out for yourselves!

  4. Judi Fennell Says:

    Hmmm…what am I doing? Well, for one, I found a GREAT marketing consultant who mentions my name in articles!

    Thanks for that, Sia. Having gone through an American Title Contest (www.RomanticTimes.com), I learned pretty quickly (and on the fly) how to make the biggest splash with limited resources. It has definitely helped.

    I’m also running a Win One of Three Romantic Getaways” contest on my website (www.JudiFennell.com) to “gather” names for promotion. You have to find what avenues you’re comfortable with, consider time and money constraints and just how serious you are about this publishing business.

  5. ~Sia~ Says:

    Pat S, I have no doubts that you will have something to publish soon.

  6. ~Sia~ Says:

    Judi! My favorite author of fairy tales with a twist. I love your writing by the way and am looking forward to reading your new series, In Over Her Head, The Wild Blue Under, The Catch of A Lifetime. For those not familiar with Judi Fennell’s writing are in for a treat June of ’09 as she takes us under the sea with some hot alpha males that are just mouth watering.

    Thanks for stopping by Judi and sharing your thoughts on building name recognition.

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