With a lot of the new e publishers, including mine, an author is expected to help promote their own books. Of course, the e pubs will help you a great deal by publicizing their sites, and hopefully people will notice your book on their website. My publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing, certainly goes all out to focus attention on our books, and on the authors themselves. Typically, however, they can't do it all alone, and expect the authors to do their parts. So how do you go about self promoting? I'm new at this myself, but I've been doing a lot of research on it, and I think I have a pretty good idea of what to do. Now finding the time to do it all is a bit more difficult.
Here are some things I've been able to do to promote my book coming out in July, a historical romance entitled Standing on Stolen Ground. Also some suggestions for things I plan to do in the future.
1. You need to create a website and a blog to promote your book. There are plenty of blog sites offering design help, so you should be able to find one easily by "Googling" and then creating your site.
2. Join lots of reader and authors loops on Yahoo. Secret Cravings has a loop, along with Romance Cafe, Novel Sisterhood, and some others. You quickly get familiar with things that other authors are doing to promote their books and get great idea. You are also able to form some real connections and find that others are going through some of the same struggles as you are.
3. It's no good having a blog unless you have readers for it. I, personally, have another job and don't have the time to blog as much as I'd like to, but it is important to get yourself and your book out there for readers and other authors to see and become familiar with. Here's where your loops really come in. If you have a new topic on your blog, you can talk about it on your loops, and hopefully drive a little traffic to your site. I'm still very new at this, but I consider myself to be a "lurker" right now on my loops. I spend a lot of time reading and going to check out the other author's blogs. Not only can you learn a lot, but you can also join some very interesting discussions for both readers and authors.
4. Make yourself a trailer for your book. I have a couple of trailers for my book, that I made using Moviemaker from Windows. It's a free download for your computer, and it's really quite easy to do, though it looks complicated. There are sites like ehow.com that will give you tips on making your trailer. The first and most important thing to do is to write your blurb. If you want to use the one on your book, that's great or write another one. Don't make it too long--just a tease really of what your book is about. Then you have to go online to find pictures and music to match your storyline.
The hardest part is finding royalty free pictures and music. Here's where Google comes in again. Get on Google and look for royalty free music and it will send you to some great sites, where you pick out what you think fits the tone of your book and then download it. The same for royalty free pictures. This will take a lot longer, but the results can be well worth it. I love using Flickr, the royalty free section. If you have your own pictures, you could use them too, but don't be tempted to use pictures that you don't have permission to use! It's just not worth it. With some time an patience, you should be able to find what you need to make a great trailer. Then just experiment on Moviemaker and follow the Help files directions. Before you know it you have a great trailer. Publish this everywhere! Put it on Youtube, Facebook, your website and your blog!
5. Join as many romance author organizations as you can afford! Again the connections are great and you'll learn a lot from the more experienced authors.
6. Go to some conventions if your can! I'm going to my first one in June--Lori Foster's get together in Ohio.
Even though my book is not out until July, I think it will be awesome to meet the readers and other authors on my loops and just learn as much as I can. I'm also taking some postcards on my book that I ordered from Vista Print. Cheap and great looking! I plan to hand these out to as many people as I can force them on!
7. When your book comes out, write a press release and send it to the local newspapers. Most of them will be glad to see a hometown girl "do good" and will publish it for you or even have a reporter call you for a story. This works better in smaller towns, of course, but try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
8. Schedule a book signing at your local bookstores. If your story takes place in a specific area--like mine, in the Shenandoah Mountains--be sure to contact those local bookstores too.
Hopefully, some of this has helped new authors, and if you have any tips for me, I'd love to hear about them!