My first book came out in 1982 long before most folks had computers and there was no such thing as the Internet. I had no idea that I should be promoting my book or if I had, how to go about it. The publishing company (and it was one of the biggies at the time) sent me a few complimentary books and I gave them away. I arranged my one and only book signing at a local bookstore and had a nice crowd. Being the only published author around, I received some good newspaper publicity.
Since that time, and about 34 books later, not only have things changed drastically, but I’ve learned a lot about promotion and tried just about everything anyone suggested. I started out sending flyers about new books with tear-off order blanks to all my friends and relatives. I may have sold enough books to pay for the postage.
I’ve given many, many talks at libraries—something I still like to do. When the economy took a dive, people still came to hear what I had to say, but fewer bought books. I’ve given talks at Rotary Clubs, other service and women’s organizations, fun and sometimes quite successful.
I’ve had booths at book fairs and craft fairs and done well at both. One thing I’ve learned, is that you must engage people as they are strolling past. Ask them to come take a look at your books, or in my case, I often ask if they like mysteries. Once you can start telling a bit about each of your books, they are far more likely to purchase a book than if you don’t put yourself out a little. Believe me, I’ve seen authors at book fairs sit in a chair and read and never look up even when someone is perusing their book.
I’ve had book launches in all sorts of interesting places: art galleries, our local inn, a new-age recreation center, my home, and several at a used bookstore.
Of course, now we have the computer and the Internet and there are all sorts of places that we can promote our books for free. I love Facebook for many reasons. It is a great place to promote books, make new friends, keep up with the old ones and find out what is going on with my family. I’ve promoted books that have just come out, new posts on my own blog, and my stops on blog tours.
That brings me to one of my favorite promotions, blog tours. I’ve paid blog companies to arrange them for me but finally realized I could do tours myself and find more logical blogs to visit. It is a lot of work from beginning to end if you do it right. You need to contact the blogs you want to visit, find out what they’d like you to write (you want to have something different on every post), arrange the schedule, take the time to write the posts and send everything along that is needed: the post, a .jpg of your cover, one of you, a blurb about the book, your bio, and links. You need to remind the host the day before the post is to appear and you have to promote the post when it does. It’s important to visit the blog and respond to everyone who comments. There are glitches, but that’s a whole other subject.
Do blog tours result in sales? Yes, though not huge sales I’ve read about from other authors—but I love doing them. I usually offer a prize to get people to follow along. I never give away the book I’m promoting, because I’m hoping for sales, but I do give away earlier books in a series. But the most popular prize is always having the winners name used for a character in the next book.
In fact, I love blogging. Why? I think mainly because I’m a writer and I love to write. What do I write about? All sorts of things: my books, what I’m doing, my family, book reviews, movies, and I love hosting other authors. http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/
I do Tweet, but not the way some people do. I use Twitter to promote new blog posts, my blog tours and my appearances. I don’t have enough time for more because I’m writing two books a year.
The latest, Dangerous Impulses written as F. M. Meredith. An attractive new-hire captivates Officer Gordon Butler, Officer Felix Zachary’s wife is befuddled by her new baby, Ryan and Barbara Strickland receive unsettling news, while the bloody murder of a mother and her son and an unidentified drug that sickens teenaged partiers jolts the Rocky Bluff P.D.