Be open to the possibilities
Promoting and publicizing fiction requires more thought, creativity, and effort.
Give one or two of these seven suggestions a try and evaluate the results. You have nothing to lose, and much to gain.
1.Support your book with a good website designed by a professional. Your website has to be as good as your writing. Use your site to help us connect with you as an individual, not as a silent author. Help us know you better by including video interviews and links to other media exposure.
2.Use your content to identify promotion allies. This could be your secret weapon because honestly, not enough novelists are doing this. Camille Noe Pagán’s novel, The Art of Forgetting, tells the story of what happens to a friendship when one of the friends suffers a traumatic brain injury, so Pagán partnered with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (Woodruff suffered a brain injury while covering the Iraq war for ABC-TV). Look, too, at your characters’ professions – there’s an association for just about every occupation. Send a copy of the book with a letter outlining promotional possibilities and what’s in it for them. You might offer to speak at their national meeting, write for their member publication, or offer a discount to members.
3.Think beyond book reviews. Book reviews are valuable and securing them should be on any author or publisher’s book promotion to-do list, but your novel deserves more widespread, long-term, and ongoing exposure than it can get through reviews alone. Send out press releases. You want the press to talk about your book for as long as it’s available for purchase.
4.Use the nonfiction nuggets in your manuscript to create newsworthy material for media outlets. Is your protagonist a radio jock? The morning drive time personalities would love to interview you by phone. Is she a jilted wife starting over in the workforce as – let’s say – an account executive at a high-flying packaging design firm who finds love with her client at a consumer products company? You’ve got publicity opportunities with the packaging and marketing trade magazines. What about locations, products, or services in your novel? And a brand name product that plays a key role could get your book into that brand’s employee newsletter. If you’re writing your novel now, work in some nonfiction nuggets you can capitalize on later.
5.Take advantage of holidays, special occasions, annual events, and seasonal stories. You want to constantly look for special days or occasions you can connect your book to. There’s a holiday for just about everything. Hitch your book to one of them and use it to get into the news. (Use the monthly calendars at Holiday Insights for inspiration.)
6.Leverage what you uncovered while writing your book. Did you learn about a period in history or a specific region? Use this knowledge as a springboard for publicity. The author of a historical romance novel set in South Carolina, for example, can write and distribute a news release announcing the top romantic attractions in that state or pitch local newspapers or regional magazines on an article about the state’s most romantic date destinations. Your goal is to be quoted as an expert source because this requires using your book title as one of your credentials.
7.Get social. Focus on one or two social networking sites and master the most effective and appropriate ways to use them to promote your book.
And this is just the beginning. But I’m wondering: What has been your most successful tactic for promoting fiction? Please tell us about it.