Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Authors and Self-Promotion

Laura Miller over at wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about how some self-pubbed authors (namely, Amanda Hocking) are signing deals with traditional presses while traditionally published authors like Barry Eisler are leaving the big six and going to self-pub in the future.

I'm assuming that none of the readers of this blog are best-selling authors yet (although I'm hoping Jennifer Armentrout will still stop by after she becomes one), but the main point of this article is that all authors MUST promote their books in order to sell them.

Author events like tours and book signings aren't cost-effective unless the author is well-known enough to attract a crowd. Most writers at the start of the careers need to focus on building a readership in other ways. Fortunately, thanks to the series of tubes known as the interwebs,* this can be done from anywhere on Earth. And probably from the International Space Station, too (I kinda want to read a blog from the ISS).

*double-bonus points if you recognize the origin of this term 

So, new writers, start with a blog, website, or Facebook fan site. Give your readers a good reason to stop by--either by offering contests, giveaways, useful tips... or content so entertaining that it's a reward in itself. It does take time, but it's an effective way to build interest in your book, and it's cheaper than advertising. It also builds "buzz," which is true interest, rather than "hype," which is paid for. Most people these days have spent their entire lives bombarded by advertising, so we've built up a tolerance to it. Either we're suspicious of it 'cuz, yeah, like Sea Monkeys really turn into little Caucasian nuclear families in that plastic container with the magnifying bubbles:

Or we tune it out so it won't overwhelm us:

If you want people to care, you need to connect on a personal level, whether you're a wicked famous author or a newbie with a self-pubbed debut. The only difference is, if you have a 7-figure advance from St. Martin's, you can hire a personal assistant to help you with it.

Speaking of self-promotion, you only have one more day to post your awesome line to the Spring Writing Contest!


Lisa Rogers said...

Thanks for posting this--very helpful

Disgruntled Bear said...

I'm glad it helps, Lisa! You and I and the other folks at Spencer Hill have been talking about how to promote forthcoming books like ANGELINA'S SECRET, which everyone should check out on Goodreads (, and it got me thinking.

Andrew Leon said...

Yeah, I just wish all of this was as easy at sounds. heh
Sometimes, it feels like the trade-off (of writing time for promotion time) is too much.

Disgruntled Bear said...

I'm with you, Andrew. It's a tough balance, and even someone GREAT at it like Amanda Hocking is trying to find a better way to manage it.

Jenni Merritt said...

LOVED this post! Thanks for the awesome thoughts

Jennifer L. Armentrout said...

Heh @ the best seller comment.

Honestly, the promotion that I have done hasn't been hard or time consuming at all. Of course, I have the help of Kate and the wonderful team of SPH and wouldn't even dare want to branch into the world of promotion without them, but seriously, all you have to do is put yourself out there.

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks, Jenni!

BTW, Roni over at Fiction Groupie is talking about a similar topic today:

Disgruntled Bear said...

Hey Jennifer, it doesn't hurt that your book is AWESOME! I can't wait until the ARC reviews start coming in.