Posted on 02/20/2021 at 12:00 PM by Guest Author
Author self-promotion is a necessary evil for those who want to make a career out of writing. Learn why it’s so important and how to take the right approach.
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“There was a time when self-promotion was considered so verboten, especially for authors.” — Jess Walter, bestselling and award-winning author
Few things make writers squirm more than the idea of author self-promotion. If you’ve decided to turn your passion for the written word into a career, chances are you can relate.
Just the thought of talking about yourself and trying to convince others your book is worth reading can be extremely uncomfortable.
After all, you likely started writing because you enjoy creating stories or exploring a particular topic in depth — not because you’re searching for fame.
And because of that, taking an active role in the promotion of yourself and your work may not come naturally.
We get it.
Once upon a time, author self-promotion was looked down upon. Now, however, it’s considered an acceptable (and highly recommended) practice. In fact, it’s a must if you want to make writing more than just a hobby.
Here’s the thing...
It’s a big world out there, and new books are being published every day. That means you’re vying for the attention of readers who have millions of titles available to them.
Moreover, they already have a few favorite authors whose new work they prioritize.
To become a successful author, you need to build a solid fan base. You need to get people interested in you and your books. And you need to become that author whom readers...
Follow on social media
Recommend to their friends
Enjoy learning about
Look forward to hearing from
Support by picking up each new title
That’s where self-promotion comes in.
It’s all about building your author brand and ensuring you stand out from the crowd so more readers will become fans who purchase your books. Otherwise, you — and the titles you’ve put so much time and effort into writing — will go overlooked.
Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it, which is what we’re going to talk about next...
If you’re already feeling uncomfortable about self-promotion, the last thing you want to do is risk making a serious faux pas. By taking the wrong approach, your efforts may not only be ineffective but also cause potential damage to your career.
All the better to educate yourself on best practices, right?
So, with that said, let’s cover some of the dos and don’ts of author self-promotion...
Be your true, authentic self — If you attempt to portray yourself in a way you think will resonate with people, it will likely backfire in the long run. So, be your true self and don’t attempt to take on a persona that feels forced. Being authentic means readers can get to know and appreciate the real you (including the various sides of you).
Set clear goals for yourself — As you embark on your journey of self-promotion, be sure to set clear goals. Decide on what you want to accomplish by promoting yourself and your work. Don’t just think about the short term; think about where you want to take your career.
Consider your readers first and foremost — As mentioned previously, self-promotion is about building your brand and standing out from the crowd. You’re essentially sharing about yourself to draw readers in. But as you do that, consider your readers first. Determine how you can forge a real connection with them.
Prepare ahead of time — If you’re doing a book reading, podcast, panel, or some other type of event, make sure to prepare ahead of time. Although you should stay true to who you are, you don’t want to just wing it. Figure out what you want to say and how you’re going to promote your work.
Use social media and other digital tools to your advantage — Social media can go a long way toward promoting yourself and your work. With that said, make good use of various social media platforms and digital tools. In addition to posting valuable, entertaining, and interesting content on your own pages, be sure to participate in literary discussions where your readers hang out.
Become too pushy — Although you want to encourage readers to learn about you and read your book, you don’t want to become too pushy. So, avoid making every other post or message an advertisement for you and your book. Additionally, don’t harass other authors, bloggers, editors, and media outlets to get the word out or provide reviews. Instead, exercise restraint and request their help politely.
Let yourself go silent — If you’re an introvert or just naturally shy, it’s tempting to forgo author self-promotion altogether. But the fact is you can’t let yourself go silent — not if you want to enjoy a successful author career. So, interact with readers online regularly and participate in community events.
Forget to thank others for their support — Your success as an author depends on more than just your talent and efforts. Other people play a big role. Acknowledge the readers who buy your books and the members of the writing/publishing community who help you along your journey. Don’t forget to thank them for their support!
Just talk about yourself constantly — Although it’s important, promoting yourself and your work shouldn’t be all you’re doing. If it is, you’ll come across as focused on the sales — not the readers. Therefore, be sure to bring potential fans into the conversation. Look for ways to connect with them and their interests. And mix things up in your posts, emails, messages, etc.
Get discouraged — It takes time to build your author brand. So, if your attempts at self-promotion don’t seem to be working, don’t get discouraged. Instead, keep moving forward and remember that every author experiences low book sales, rejections, and more. The key is not to give up!
Now that you know the dos and don’ts of author self-promotion, it’s worth taking a deeper dive into the former. By learning about what you should be doing more specifically, you can promote yourself and your work more effectively.
And to help you out, we’ve provided a brief list of tips.
1) Make Sure Your Website Reflects You
If you haven’t done so already, it’s in your best interest to build an author website. That way, you have a base for your author platform and a great resource to use in your marketing efforts. However, you shouldn’t just develop something basic for the sake of having a website — you need to make sure your website reflects who you are as an author.
Using colors, fonts, and other design elements that fit your genre
Posting interesting and relevant content on your blog
Including a bio page that introduces you to visitors
2) Optimize Your Page in Amazon Author Central
If you sell your books on Amazon, it’s crucial that you optimize your page in Amazon Author Central. Doing so can go a long way toward helping with self-promotion.
Moreover, it can help build your credibility with readers, drive sales of your work, and give readers the chance to follow you.
Some ways to optimize your page include writing your biography, uploading a fitting photo, featuring all your books, adding relevant links, and including an event schedule.
3) Aim for Consistency in Your Author Brand
Authenticity isn’t the only thing you should strive for as you promote yourself and your work. You should also aim for consistency, as this is what will allow readers to get familiar with you and (hopefully) become a fan.
Basically, this means using the same type of messaging, tone, design elements, etc., throughout your entire online (and offline) presence.
4) Promote Yourself Where Your Readers Are
Even the best attempts at author self-promotion won’t work if you’re not getting in front of readers. Otherwise, you’re just shouting into the void... That’s why you need to promote yourself and your work where your readers are.
Here are some recommendations for doing just that:
Research which social platforms your target audience uses and be there.
Join groups and book clubs to interact with both readers and those in the writing community.
Run a promo for a discounted title with a reputable book promotion site.
Whenever an opportunity arises, participate in events where readers are in attendance.
Look at which blogs and sites your target audience reads and offer to write a guest post.
5) Develop an Author Newsletter
Sending out an author newsletter is a great way to generate interest in you and your work. Additionally, it serves as a way of staying in touch with readers and increasing the likelihood of turning them into fans.
Of course, you want to do more than just write up a short blurb and then tell recipients to buy your book. You want to provide real value and make it so that readers look forward to receiving your newsletter.
Tip: Don’t have an email list to begin sending out a newsletter? When you promote a free ebook with us, you can include a link to collect email addresses and start building up your own list!
Let’s be honest... Author self-promotion will probably never be your favorite thing to do. But the fact is it’s important to your career.
So, if you want to build a fan base of loyal readers who are eager to buy everything you write, you need to put effort into promoting yourself and your work.
With that said, the tips above should help and, with any luck, make the task a little less uncomfortable.
(As you work on self-promotion, take your marketing skills up a notch. Download our Ultimate Guide to Data-Driven Promotions and learn how to leverage data to improve your book marketing results!)
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