Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention is my guest blogger today. She says:
I am a “Shameless Promoter”. In fact, I enjoy promoting my novels and helping others learn to do so, and I speak at writers’ conferences on this topic. I am even known as “Shameless Promoter” amongst my peers and many in the book industry, and it’s a name I wear proudly. As an author, promoting my books is my #1 responsibility after writing them. I partner with my publishers and distributors, and that’s the way authors need to see this-as a partnership. Now, enough of me.
Most authors, when faced with the daunting task of promoting their books, think of the most obvious ways–book signings and via their website. I’ve discovered that it’s crucial to the basic survival of an author to “think outside the book!” We’ve all heard the phrase “think outside the box.” This simply means: “Be creative!” Don’t get stuck in a small rut of small activities that lead to small results.
Dreaming big has led me to much success. And it can for you too!
My motto for years has been “Dare to Dream…and Dream Big!” And I tell people, “If that doesn’t work, Dream BIGGER!” I’ve been a published novelist since 2003, and all of my novels have gone on to be bestsellers on Amazon in the US and Canada . They’ve also attracted a lot of film success. Why? Because I thought “outside of the book”.
In 2006, I partnered with a screenwriter and we wrote the screenplay for my critically acclaimed novel Whale Song. This led to writing a movie treatment. I had never thought I’d be writing either, but as soon as I pursued this, opportunity knocked. A film producer in Canada wanted to see the screenplay. While he eventually turned it down, this experience taught me that I must see further than a book on a store shelf. Frankly, that used to be my dream-seeing my books in bookstores. I’ve now come to realize that the real dream is to see those books MOVE off those shelves and into the hands of avid readers.
So how do you reach the multitudes and market your books to them?
Think outside…okay, you should have it by now. Instead of thinking “bookstores” as your main market, think “consumers”. You want to reach your readers, those wonderful people who will become fans of your work and email you every time they read one of your books. So go where the readers are!
You’ll find booklovers on MySpace, Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, AuthorsDen, AuthorNation, NothingBinding,TextNovel, Chapters Online Community and hundreds of other websites.
What do you do once you’re a member of these sites? Network, make friends and shamelessly promote your work without being pushy. Being genuine is far better, and if you’re like me you’ll enjoy making new friends. For more information on how authors can use online social networks, please check out my 5-part article on exactly that:
How Can Authors Use Online Social Networks?
How else can you “think outside the box”?
Have you contacted your local book clubs? What about nonprofit organizations? Maybe you could partner with them and help them raise funds by donating a portion of your proceeds. Could you benefit from a corporate sponsor? What about trade shows, special events and library talks? And have you held a virtual book tour (VBT). I have a step-by-step plan on how to organize one at: Authors Tour the World with Virtual Book Tours.
Have you checked out your local hospital gift shops, specialty gift shops?
You can learn more about me an my novels (Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention) by visiting my website and official blog:
Book Promotion: Establishing an Online PersonaSeptember 19, 2008 — Pat Bertram
Your online persona is simply how the world perceives you. In real life, the first thing people see is your physical person. Online, the first thing people see is your writing — in comments, blogs, blurbs. Sometimes they see your icon first. Either way, that first impression is in your hands.
What image do you want to portray? Witty, wise, intelligent, forward thinking, funny? Down-to-earth, optimistic, casual, youthful, enthusiastic? Helpful, creative, disciplined, worldly, romantic?
This is one time and place where you can be the person you always wanted to be. Even better, in acting as if you are that person, you become it. This online persona is not a fabrication, it is the better part of you. Do you want your readers to know how much you whine and complain? Do you want them to know you’re a lazy slob? Do you want them to know you tend to be narrow-minded? Only if it will help you sell more books. And you do want to sell books, don’t you?
In the online world, the moving finger does not always move on after having writ. You can change what you have written to reflect the person you want to be. Before you post a comment, make sure it fits with your online persona and that it says what you want to say. Check for grammar and spelling. Some toolbars, like Google, have a spell check that works great for comments. Some sites let you delete comments. Other sites let you edit your comments, so you can rework those already submitted. And you can rewrite your blog posts.
Did you publish an article whining about how much your mother-in-law drives you nuts? Rewrite it. Turn it into a humorous piece, one that reflects your online persona. Do publish political rants? It’s better to take a milder stance, unless you don’t mind alienating half of your potential readers. You do want readers, don’t you?
Do you regularly use IM-speak in your comments or blogs? i m sr u only want readers to see such abbreviations if you are appealing to a young audience. Otherwise, it’s best to write clearly. You are planning on making a career of writing, aren’t you? Think of the future. There is no past on the Internet. The words you say in the real world dissipate into outer space; the words you write online remain in cyberspace forever.
Make sure your icon reflects your persona. Using a sexy avatar such as one showing naked buttocks might work if you write soft porn, but if you wish to establish yourself as a serious writer, use something else. Your book cover is often a good choice.
Always remember, you are an author, both of your book and of yourself.