Self-Promotion Tips for the New Author
You've got your first book contract. You've got a publication date. Now what?
The New Orleans RWA conference was a fountain of information for authors
interested in helping sell their books. Advice came from writers, publishers,
booksellers and independent distributors. Here is a brief overview of their
Suggestions from an author
What you can do on a national level:
- Run an announcement of your upcoming book in RWR, your local chapter and regional newsletters.
- Create an article for RWR.
- Run an ad in RWR
- Run an ad and mini-profile in Romantic Times, etc.
- Send out bookmarks (Idea: do one-sided so book stores can put their own advertising stamp on the back).
- Send flyers/postcards to make readers aware of shelf life of your book.
What you can do on a local level:
- Visit as many bookstores as you can and introduce yourself. Write thank you notes afterward.
- Visit chain stores (80% of books are bought in these types of stores).
- Send press kits to newspapers
(use an angle in press release, e.g., 2-career mom, or writer volunteers to teach workshop, etc.).
- Arrange to do signings.
- Volunteer as a speaker for various groups.
Advice from a Publisher
- Tell your editor you are interested in advertising and self-promotion.
- Talk directly to director of publicity and see what they can do for you.
- Most bookmark mailings are a waste of money. Distribute on your own to wholesalers and distributors (Ask director of publicity for a list of wholesalers and distributors who have bought your book). Write a letter first and ask how many bookmarks they can use and where.
- Xerox your flyer and give them to book stores as bag stuffers.
- Get cover blow-ups and stickers from your publisher (usually for 3 or more signings).
- Use cover overruns as marketing item. (Ask at least 9 months prior to publication date, since covers are run early on in the process).
- Get to know your local reps.
- Meet your local bookstore buyers--this is very important!!
- Tell your publisher about your signings. They might be able to supply you with promo pieces.
- Contact local media.
- Ask director of publicity what items you can get for free or at an inexpensive cost. (Copies of photographs, for example, can be done more cheaply by publisher).
Tips from a Book Seller
- Send publicity 5 months prior to publication date.
- Ask two months before pub date to get at front of store.
- Concentrate mostly on local promotion.
- Include ISBN number on all promotion pieces.
- Promote your book in a special way by sending items to major buyers and distributors (The New York buyer for B. Dalton buys for 800 stores!). Send tee-shirts, gift baskets, anything edible, coffee cups, hats, pens.
Comments of an Independent Distributor
- If the book is by a local author or is about a local setting, they'll order it.
- Don't be afraid to call. Most are interested in helping writers.
Other self-promotion facts, such as television appearances, radio
interviews, and how to get and use reviews are available through Romance
Writers of America. Send for the audio tapes or contact your local
chapter for more information on these topics. In the meantime, get out
those padded envelopes and a roll of stamps and promote yourself!!
© 2008 Patricia Simpson