Self-publishing has become a phenomenon, with thousands of first-time authors producing books in the digital age. But what do these authors need to do to get their work noticed?
The world of publishing has changed radically over the last few years. Self-publishing is now widely accepted, and the number of first-time authors has increased significantly. This means that authors, both traditionally and self-published, have to work strategically to make their book stand out from the competition. There’s a lot that an author can do to promote their book themselves to reach more potential readers. This article outlines a few public relations tips for self-published authors aiming to maximize their exposure.
#1 – Create an effective social media presence
Social media is not just a passing fad; if it were, advertising companies would not be spending millions of dollars on it. But being “present” on social media does not mean merely creating a web page as soon as your book is published, or tweeting the same information every day. Self-published authors should make themselves seen and heard on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook well before their book’s publication date so that they are noticed and respected within the online community. This will involve regularly updating content, engaging in discussions with other aspiring writers and responding directly to potential readers. It is a time consuming PR effort, but if done correctly the results can be significant.
#2 – Use your local community to generate word-of-mouth buzz
While the digital age requires self-published authors to be creative and innovative, we should not forget the benefits of real-world publicity. Once your book is published, you should encourage family and friends to spread the word. This can be through an email forwarding campaign, or, if your book is in print format, leaving sample copies in places likely to attract your target audience, such as bookstores and museums. Contacting the local newspaper, library or radio station and asking if they would like to interview you is an effective public relations strategy, as is volunteering for speaking engagements within your community. If your book has a clear theme, it might also be an idea to contact a charity or organization that promotes awareness of a similar cause. Actively selling your book at one of their events might not be an option, but you could offer to help out in exchange for a little publicity.
#3 – “Think outside the box”
There are many creative ways self-published authors can generate publicity for their work. You can do contests or book giveaways. You could offer a special discount for people who like your Facebook Fan Page or mention your book in a post on their social networking account. You could get t-shirts or mugs made that feature the cover of your book, or one of the best quotes from it. Handing these out for free at busy places will arouse the curiosity of passers-by, and could lead to increased sales. You could mail review copies to book reviewers. The list goes on.. Think outside the box.
Self-published authors have the power to ensure their book gets the recognition it deserves, but the public relations process takes skill, time and energy. If you promote your book too aggressively, potential readers may recoil from what they see as “spam;” if your approach is understated, then your book is unlikely to generate much attention. As a self-published author, you should explore every publicity option and choose the means that work best for you and your book.