By Dana Littlejohn
I am Dana Littlejohn. I write sensual I/R and African American romance. I have been a published since 2003. In many interviews I am asked to give advice to new and unpublished authors. The four tips I give are:
1) Learn your craft.
2) Commit to your dream.
3) Write, write, write
4) Promote yourself.
I will be back to discuss them all, but today I would like to talk about the last.
With 2014 just a few weeks away New Year’s resolutions will be on many minds. Most of us will be looking back over this last year taking a mental inventory of the likes and dislikes and thinking of ways to improve the things we didn’t like. It would cover all aspects of our lives and I think as an author we should be doing the same for our writing. I propose that we start the year with our minds set on promoting ourselves more.
Even if you don’t read horror we all know who Stephen King is, don’t we? So if someone likes horror and asks for a good book the name Stephan King comes to mind. That is the thought I keep in mind when I strive to promote myself. Even if they are not into romance I want people to be able to say, “Dana Littlejohn writes romance. Look her up.”
In this digital world the internet is a great way to get the word out and promote yourself. Social networking makes it so easy to alert friends, family and folk you don’t even know through their connections about new and current releases. But let’s face it. Not everyone has the time to sit on their computers and promote like they want or is needed. Some of us have full time jobs, small children, lack computer savvy or the time to do that and need help. That where places like Personalized Marketing and Promotions come in. They are capable of doing internet promotion to help keep your name out in relative groups and social networks.
For those who are comfortable on the World Wide Web, there are plenty of specific social groups filled with people who are looking for the type of books you write. Join them. Put up short excerpts to wet the palate. You can do contests on these sites as well. Don’t be afraid to give away a free book. I have given book 1 of one of my series and the winners have said they have gone on to purchase the other books in the series to follow the story. Free reads are good too. I have a few free reads on my site, nothing too long, 3kish, a complete scene if you will. I invite people to go over and download those books so that they can see for free if they like my style of writing. When readers have no pressure to check you out and they find they like you they are willing to pay to see another. All of these things help to build a fan base and that’s what it’s all about.
Although the internet is great tool for promotion it’s not the only way. We have to remember there are a slew of people who are not as connected as others, but still love to read. Those are the ones who carry their Nooks and Kindles with them everywhere they go but are more connected to the offline world. They download their books directly from the stores connected to the device. So all the promotion in the digital world it won’t reach them. You have to find ways to connect to those readers as well.
My reader population age ranges from 20s-60s. They are all races, nationalities and walks of life. I go where ever they may be, hair expos, women expos, sports games, malls, beauty parlors, nails, it doesn’t matter. I am armed with business cards made up with my basic information to pass out. They are inexpensive, not too intrusive and can easily be stored in any size purse. I simply say “hi” and introduce yourself then pass them a card. Most say thanks and keep moving, but some pause to look at the card. When they turn and say, you’re an author, bam! I have open a dialog. That’s when you promote yourself and your free books to get them to your website. Along with passing out cards in crowds, I keep some with me at all times to leave with my tips when I go out to eat.
Self-promotion is extremely important. No one knows your work better than you. Word of mouth is an amazing selling tool. When people know you around your town it may open doors you never knew existed. Of course there is a difference between self-promotion and being a bug-a-boo. The last thing you want to do is harass people. When people see you coming you want them to be excited and ask about new ideas you may have or when your next book is coming out so they can buy it not say: “Oh man, here she comes again to talk about that damn book of hers.” A balance must be achieved. To do that try not to bombard the same place with cards. Hit new places whenever the opportunity rises. When I go out of town I do the same thing and leave a business card every place I go.
These are just a few ideas to jump start your thinking process on how to promote yourself more in the coming year. I hope they helps bring more people to your site and in turn more sales. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you when I return in 2014. If you have questions leave them in the comments below.
May you have joy during the holidays you choose to celebrate! Happy New Year and many sales!