It is with great pleasure I present a guest blogger today, Tara Lynne Groth. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop in Asheville with Tara Lynne as instructor. I was blown away with her extensive, helpful ideas and suggestions on how writers reach the public and by doing so, sell their books.
Promoting Your Book Without Promoting Your Book
When you create and own a product or service, you need to sell it in efforts of making a profit. New authors often have the misconception that their success is measured in book sales. Sell, sell, sell. Writers spend time around other writers and see book sales tactics ad nauseum: Personalized bookmarks, contest giveaways, time-sensitive discounts, etc. Instead of focusing on selling in order to increase book sales, authors might want to focus on their platform as a whole.
A writer’s platform is an author’s influence and reputation to the public. A book is just one part of a platform. Focusing time, energy, and effort only into selling a book is like having a baker make hundreds of perfect cupcakes – but have no storefront.
In addition to an author’s book (and let’s hope there are plans for more), other pieces of the almighty writer platform include: Freelance contributions, memberships, awards, alma mater, certifications, conferences, blog, podcast, social media, etc.
Here are three ways you can grow your writer platform, increase awareness about your book(s), and get paid:
1. Freelance. Whether you traditionally publish or self-publish – will readers know who you are before your book is released? Wouldn’t it be nice if they were waiting for your book? Writing articles local or national magazines can help grow your exposure and significantly increase your credibility. Not only do you get paid as a freelance journalist (I encourage you to pitch the markets that pay!), you also get access to the publication’s audience—a larger platform than yours alone generally. Depending on the market’s focus, perhaps the editor would be inclined to write a book review or feature your book in their market? You already have a professional connection from freelancing—take advantage of it!
2. Seminars/speaking engagements. Think about the memberships you belong to – writing and non-writing alike. Perhaps you have a background in medicine and one of the characters in your novel experiences cancer. Inquire with medical organizations in your area (and outside your area) about opportunities to speak on panels at their conferences/events. Seek paid opportunities where you can contribute your expertise while at the same time including a note in your bio and introduction about your novel(s).
3. Awards/contests. Although some award and contest applications require fees to apply, seek out free and low-cost opportunities with monetary prizes. An award helps establish your expertise and can be used in marketing of your book – whether on the book jacket as an emblem, in your bio, or when making introductions to secure future paid speaking engagements.
All of the above opportunities do not require you to ask, beg, suggest, or plead anyone to buy your book. Instead, these tasks help build your credibility, income, and add value to who you are and the books you represent. Platform, platform, platform.