Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Promote That Book!

My book, Fatal Brushstroke, was officially released November 18th so I’ve been busy promoting it both online and in person. This is a new experience for me, but I’ve seen plenty of other authors promote their books so I’ve taken some inspiration from them and have come up with a few ideas of my own. Here are some of the promotion methods I’m using this time around. I’m trying to do as much as I can while still making sure I have time to write and finish the next book:
  • I’m a member of the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime. We do a lot of library events throughout Southern California, so I gave my information to our Speakers Bureau Director so I could be considered for events. Several months before my book was officially released, I was on a panel at a library near where I live. It was a great learning experience. If you have something similar in your neck of the woods, be sure to take advantage of it.
  • I attended my first Bouchercon in Long Beach a few days before my book was officially released. I was on a panel, Add Spice to Your Crafts, featuring authors of mysteries that involve hobbies. I was also part of the new author breakfast where I gave a 50-second spiel about my book to a room full of attendees. Both were great experiences, but I realized afterward I never took any photos. Lesson learned: take photos to share on social media platforms. Luckily, the moderator of our panel, Dru Ann Love, wrote a great account of her Bouchercon experience that included a photo of the panel I was on. Check out her account here. Fellow Henery Press author, Gigi Pandian, also blogged about her experience at B’con. She snapped a photo of me at the breakfast and posted it on her blog. Check out her account here
    My book in book room at B'con. It's real!
  • I’ve also had an opportunity to partner with fellow Sister in Crime, Diane Vallere, on a 4-stop tour of Southern California bookstores.
    (We call it the Paint and Polyester tour. The protagonist in her latest book, Suede to Rest, is named Polyester. My protagonist is a tole painter.) Both books are craft-based cozies so they’re a good fit to promote together. With 7 books under her belt (some of them self-published), Diane has tried a number of different methods of promotion so there’s a lot I can learn from her. I feel lucky to be able to draw on her wealth of experience. Partnering with another author on a bookstore tour has been great. And I’ve been better about taking pictures during the tour so I now have photographs to post online.
    Diane and Sybil at Mystery Ink
  • In addition to the in-person appearances, I opted for a 2 week blog tour that commenced the day after my book was officially released and is still going on. Type-Mer Emeritus Hannah Dennison told me about Great Escapes Blog Tours. Lori Caswell puts together free 1-2 week blog tours for cozy authors. All I had to do was give her details about my book, write some blog posts, and answer some interview questions. She took care of finding the appropriate blogs for me to visit and setting up the events. This was such a relief for me not to have to do all the work myself. I cannot speak highly enough of Lori. So, if you’re a cozy author, contact her and see if she can help you out. (By the way, Hannah will be back doing a guest post here on Type M the weekend of December 6th. Be sure to visit and see what she has to say.) Lesson learned: If you don’t know how to do something ask an author who has gone before you.
  • I sponsored a couple Goodreads giveaways of ARCs of my book both right after I received the ARCs and right before the book came out. I reached 1000 people I might not have otherwise. For me it was worth doing.
  • Other random things I’ve done: (a) given bookmarks advertising my book to my hairstylist who passed them out to her other customers. (I didn't force this on her, she volunteered.) I’ve since discovered a number of them have bought the book. (b) given bookmarks to friends and family who have passed them out to people they thought might be interested. (c) held a launch party celebrating my book’s release. Besides being loads of fun, I did sell quite a few books. (d) written guest posts on a few other blogs in addition to my blog tour.
  • For the future: Since my book’s protagonist is a tole painter, I’m looking into ways to reach that audience. The college I attended has an alumni magazine so I’m planning on writing a blurb for it announcing my book’s release. (Yes, I know I should have done this before, but sometimes things just have to wait.)
That’s my take on promotion as a new author. I’m always looking for new ideas. What methods do you use to promote your books?


Kait said...

Excellent tips, Sybil. The marketing part of writing has been the most difficult for me to learn. I haven't been able to much on the "in person," but I've managed a good Internet presence.

Sybil Johnson said...

Thanks, Kait. I feel like I'm just starting to learn about marketing. Right now I'm trying to find the right balance between in-person stuff and the Internet.

Gretchen Archer said...

A nice summary of a book release, Sybil. Thank you.