Writer Promotion: Other Free Tools

Blog 87 ImageIn my last posts under How to Self-Publish, I focused on promotion through family and friends, a website and blogging, social media and appearances like library presentations. These are all ways a writer can publicize his name and books for free.

This post is a catchall for additional promotional techniques that only cost the writer time. In the weeks to come, I’ll complete my thoughts on promotion by discussing reviews, techniques that cost money and the need for an overall strategy.

Email. In a world of social media and texting, email feels old school. Even so, many people advocate that writers continue to use email to stay in touch with current and potential readers. Usually, the advice is to distribute newsletters by email. Jane Friedman has an excellent blog on this type of promotion.

Email is seen as a more direct, intimate and stable form of communication than social media. Since addressees are already inundated with email, writers need to develop and maintain their lists in a manner that respects the privacy of addressees. They should use proper subscription services with clear opt-in and opt-out rights reflecting current laws.

Newsletters. The content of newsletters often relates to the writer or his books since people who’ve given their email address are assumed to be interested in this. However, newsletter content can extend to matters of broader interest or opinion and could overlap with a writer’s blog.

To date, I’ve only used email to promote releases of my books and I don’t have a newsletter. I need to figure out how to write blog posts more quickly…

Book-Based Social Networks. Beyond the giant, general purpose social networks like Facebook, there are several sites that focus on reading. Among them are Goodreads (an Amazon company), booktalk and Shelfari (another Amazon company).

These networks are mainly for readers to share about what they’ve read. Writers may be able to supplement that content with information about themselves but the networks aren’t environments for hard pitches. Better for a writer to share about what he’s reading.

Author Profile Pages. Online platforms that a self-pub writer uses to sell books may permit him to create a page with a picture, bio, reviews and other personal content. Examples are Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Book-based social networks like Goodreads offer writers similar opportunities to create profiles.

Copyright © 2015 Peter Fritze

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Writer Self-Care

Blog 86 ImageWhen I made a serious commitment to writing about three years ago, I had good energy for creating but was very inefficient. A page a day was an accomplishment. Now my energy can be hit-and-miss but I get more done. I consider a thousand words my minimum daily output.

The moderation in energy hasn’t surprised me. I think it often comes with any long-term pursuit or job. However, it’s important to do what I can to keep the words coming and part of that is proper self-care.

Here’s some of the self-care that I find helps writing.

Write Most Days at the Same Time. This isn’t an original thought and I’ve blogged about it before. In the context of self-care, though, committing to creating at the same time on most days means I know I’ll accumulate a bunch of hours in the writer’s chair. This removes the stress of worrying whether I’m really honoring my commitment to writing.

Then Give the Writing a Rest. When I get up from the writer’s chair, I have to resist the temptation to brood the rest of the day over a writing problem. More often than not, the subconscious as well as the passage of time do the work. In a sense, I have to let the story come to me.

And Give Myself Good Rest. Proper sleep for self-care isn’t just about maintaining energy. It also gives the subconscious time to do its creative work. Many of my best ideas come in the first half hour of a day before things get too busy. Exercise and good meals also give energy and spark creativity.

Get Myself Out. Another temptation I have to resist is living in my head. There’s not a lot of extra energy there. By reconnecting me with the world, a walk in the park, a sunset or a visit to a coffee shop offers much more.

Get Myself Interacting. Good exchanges with caring people are another way to get me out of my head. With a few friends, I’ll talk about my writing. Mostly, though, I’m interested in the charge I get from new ideas.

Those self-care strategies should keep me writing a while longer. Perhaps you as well.

Copyright © 2015 Peter Fritze

Buy False Guilt.

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Writer Promotion: Appearances

Blog 85 ImageIn traditional publishing, events where writers meet readers have long been a staple of book promotion. As part of their promotional strategy, self-published writers can do some of the same.

The usual events are book launches and signings as well as library and book club readings. These are wonderful opportunities for writers to connect with readers, spark some sales and support word-of-mouth endorsement. Self-pub writers, though, will bear all the costs of these events themselves. So which should they focus on?

Here are my thoughts.

Be Careful with Book Launches. From the anecdotes I’ve read, even in the traditional publishing world, book launch events are on the decline. The costs for publishers add up and may not be recouped from additional sales. Social media can be more effective because it’s cheaper and the marketing message lasts longer.

Most attendees at the average self-pub’s launch will be family and friends who’ll probably buy the writer’s book anyways. While the launch is a way for the writer to celebrate an accomplishment, it will eat up the marketing budget without adding much word-of-mouth support.

Be Creative Around Signings. While the best-known writers will enjoy long lines of fans waiting to have their books inscribed, many self-pubs will find book signings as challenging as launches. It may be hard to find bookstores willing to host the events and the writers will have to be thick-skinned and reach out for interest.

One way to be creative around signings is to choose venues other than bookstores. Examples are fairs as well as art and craft shows. Crowds there might be more exploratory and relatively easy to engage. Writers must weigh the cost of a booth against projected sales.

Grab Library and Book Club Readings. It’s great when a writer knows that people she’ll meet like to read and that’s what library patrons and book club members offer. Self-pub writers should jump at opportunities to do library and book club readings and leave plenty of time after to chat with attendees.

However, the value of these opportunities is no secret, and writers and publishers pester libraries and book clubs for readings. Self-pubs are likely to find more opportunities with libraries outside of major metropolitan areas and with clubs in which acquaintances are members.

Offer Content Other than Book Excerpts. For library presentations, I get greater interest in a one-hour talk about how to self-publish than in readings from my books. I still get sales but make more connections because I’m offering free content that is (hopefully) entertaining and useful.

Copyright © 2015 Peter Fritze

Buy False Guilt.

Buy The Case for Killing.

Follow me on Twitter @PFritze.

Visit me on Facebook.