Monday, August 06, 2007

Archon -Promoting Your Book

People who are trying to make a living with their creative work are always going to have to find a way for people to find out about them. If you are writing books, people need to know the book exists . . . people outside your immediate circle of family and friends. For nature photographers, I've been told that you need to have many sources of revenue for your photography - prints, magazine sales, photography books, photo tours, teaching classes, etc. For anyone to want to go on a photography tour you might want to lead, they've got to know something about your skills and credentials as a photographer. I have long term goals of being a retreat speaker to encourage other Christian women. Getting my Christian books published is part of that goal. To be successful, they will need to be promoted. Even if your book comes out with a major publisher, it is still up to the author to promote their work. The publishing house may help you . . . and then again, maybe not. And, if your first book does not sell well, it may be impossible to get the next one published.

So when I saw the panel: "Promoting Your Book" I figured that some of this information presented for science fiction writers would carry over into the Christian writing I'm trying to do and with my photography.

Amazingly enough, having a web presence - a website and perhaps a blog was one of the first things mentioned. And not just any old webpage - you need to have a good web page with your own domain name. People who meet you at conventions and other events will want to go check out who you are. I'm finding that I want to change the photo on the front page of my website so that people who visit regularly have a reason to come back. I also try to have links to my newest work - so that repeat visitors can see new things. And your blog needs to be interesting. One piece of advice: Only write when you have something to say. Better to blog only occasionally but have it worthwhile. I disagree with that a little bit. I find that if I don't keep putting up new posts, my readership falls away. But . . . I have to find things people are interested in reading about. I check my Google Analytics regularly to see whether I am getting new readers and what kind of return visits I'm getting. One caution is real - you can spend all your time on your blog and not get your "real" work done - writing your books, processing your photos, and producing new work.

I learned a new phrase: ego surfing. It is simple: Google your own name. See who's talking about you or linking to you. Having Google Analytics set up for your website will also help see how people are finding you. Thanking people for mentioning you on their website or on a podcast or radio program also creates good will. Whether you call it ego surfing or research, it is important. You may also find copyright violations that way . . . unauthorized use of your work.

Haley Elizabeth Garwood set up a road trip for her aging mom and contacted libraries, bookstores to set up talks and book signings. In 5 1/2 weeks, she managed to do 55 presentations or events.

As always, thinking outside the box - one of the authors - I think it was Haley ghost wrote a book that is being marketed in the hair salon business all over the country! Another one had an opportunity to do a book signing in an antique store. One of the writers got her book included in a catalogue of swords!

And, of course, don't forget your local newspapers - they are eager for interesting stories about local people.

When you have a book coming out, get started on your promotional contacts about 3 months before it is scheduled to come out. If you are working with a big publisher, find out which publicist is assigned to your book. Make contact, show interest.

And you may have some fortuitous things happen. One cruise line wanted books as part of their turn down service. They bought books for every room on the ship! What great publicity was that!

Above all, be nice. Whether an author or a photographer, once you start competing - somebody is going to be a loser. When you are nice to the people that are coming up behind you, it helps promote your work. If you are ugly and mean spirited, it will have an impact on your book sales and your future as a writer.

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