For all writers, but particularly for self-published or indie-published authors, book promoting is crucial to success. Writers will find as many differing opinions on how best to bring attention to their books as they did on ways to write their work. Though this often contradictory advice can be maddening, it makes sense. Everyone will find certain writing techniques and certain promoting platforms that work best for his or her style and book.
No, You’re Not National News…Yet
One promotional tool that I’ve heard a few authors knock recently is press releases. Their complaints are legitimate, but only because they seemed to have made the classic error of trying to sprint before they walked. It’s true that hundreds of new and relatively unknown authors publish books each day, making this feat far from newsworthy at the national level. So, no, the New York Times or World News Tonight is not likely to feature a debut novel written by an indie author. Actually, it’s unlikely that even the local news station or newspaper of the nearest big city will report on this type of story. That doesn’t mean, though, that all press releases are a waste of time. Writers just need to find their niche. For most new writers the best place to start is with the people and places already familiar with them.
Love Thy Neighbor and They’ll Show You Some Love
It might be hard to believe in a society that loves to tear down its celebrities, but my own experiences have taught me that people genuinely want to see the little guy (or gal) succeed. More importantly, they love to feel a part of others’ success. So let them. Write individualized press releases that highlight your connection to the town, school, or group who will publish the article. Tell them how growing up in a small town developed your strong sense of imagination. Explain how the college program you were a part of honed your writing skills. Describe how your current hometown was tweaked to create the fictional setting for your latest novel. If editors and journalists see a clear connection between you and their readers, they are much more likely to share the news about your new book.
Write It Once, but Personalize It Every Time
When my first novel was published by a small publisher last spring, I researched the format for a typical press release. I drafted a general article with information about me and the book just as all the websites with press release templates advise writers to do. Working from that general template, I added a personal twist to each of my press releases, all of which I released locally.
I sent a different one to the local papers of the towns in which I grew up, attended high school, currently resided, summered, and taught. I also sent them to town news websites of those same towns and to the alumni newsletters from the colleges I had attended. The weeks surrounding my release, nearly every one of them published some form of article about me and my debut novel. Many used my press release word for word and published with it the headshot and book cover image I had attached. Some, however, contacted me and arranged to do their own interview and photo shoot.
For the skeptics thinking local papers and websites don’t have the readership of the larger newspapers, you’re right. But the larger papers won’t publish your article at all. If only a thousand people see the local article, that’s still a thousand people you’ve reached with no cost and not a tremendous amount of time. Moreover, they’re the people who remember that cute kid from the soccer field or the girl who bagged their groceries and are curious to see how she turned out. That curiosity just might lead to some hits on your webpage or, better yet, to some book sales. If enough of those local readers like the book and spread the word, who knows, maybe when the next book is released, the Times will
About the Author:
Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by.
Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel, and she’s thrilled to be continuing the series with Unveiled due out this spring. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at www.laurengrimley.com