by Linda Thorne
My debut novel, Just Another Termination, was released August 29, 2015. I’d signed the publishing contract fourteen months prior, giving me advance notice to work furiously on promotion.Telling a new author to start promoting as soon as you start writing your book may be a stretch, but I encourage anyone taking on the challenge to study the subject from the beginning—even start doing a little promoting early on. Sure, your priority should be getting the book written and in shape, followed by a search to find an agent or publisher (unless you are self-publishing). If your book is released, the process will likely take years. Trust me, once you know you are being published and have a general time frame, you’ll be grateful for anything you’ve started, learned, or accomplished because your promotion now ramps up significantly and remains in continuous fast-paced mode.
Some things you can do early on.
· Get your website name locked up. I had “lindathorne.com” secured with GoDaddy eleven years ago. If someone is looking for my website, they’ll find it simply by typing in my name without having to guess or remember if there’s another initial in front, an extra word, such as author, or my middle initial.
· The writing community urges new writers to have a website before they have a book. I chose not to. Instead, I learned everything I could about what was available out there until I knew which package would suit me and at what cost. I even chose a web designer. If you don't have a website set up, make sure you're prepared to move quickly the moment you know your book is coming out.
· Join an author’s critique group. You’ll not only get advice on your writing, you’ll have a group of people to commiserate with on your writing hurdles. Critique groups serve as both advisory and support groups.
· Join writing organizations, online and/or in person.
· Visit public meetings advertised for writers.
· Look at author blogs. Make comments on them. You’re getting your name out there even if you don’t have your book ready and you’re finding out what is going on in the writing community.
Some things you can do once you’ve found a publisher or know when you’ll self-publish:
· Do you want a book trailer? I personally think they’re great, but expensive if you pay for someone else to do the work. I was lucky when my husband figured out how to create one for me.
· Start getting your swag (book marks, business cards, little gadgets with your name and/or book name and website) together. Again, my husband handled this for me, even studying “branding” so that he could design swag to eventually fit into a brand.
· Put up that website you’ve already planned for if you haven’t already.
Some things to do in the months just prior to your book release and the months just following that release:
· Find strong blogs that lend themselves to your genre and ask for help with your book release. I submitted to Lelia Taylor, of cncbooksbooksblog's Buried Under Books, and was lucky to have her advertise my book approaching release in what she called a “book cover reveal.” This was a teaser that splashed my book cover on the post with a little information. She then offered to do a follow-up at the release date with another post she called, Spotlight on Just Another Termination, and a whole ton of people were notified my book had been released. I do recommend that you support these blogs before and after they help you. I started commenting on cncbooksblog's Buried Under Books at least a year prior to requesting this. I even bought and read a couple of the books advertised there.
· Ten days prior to book release date, the personal post I’d submitted to the Killer Nashville Blog, My Writing Curse . . . Ten Years and Counting, came out. The day after the book was published, Lelia Taylor of Buried Under Books, posted an article I wrote about me and my book called, Favorites . . . The Little Bookstore. Two days later I appeared in the September 2015 edition of two online magazines. The International Thriller Writers’, The Big Thrill posted an interview with me in the Debut Author’s column of the magazine. In Kings River Life magazine, a little blurb was published along with a giveaway contest to win a copy of my book in Sunny Frazier’s “Coming Attractions” column.
· Most publishers recommend a blog tour, something that you’ll need to begin planning months before publication. Some authors have an extensive blog tour, being hosted on a different blog daily. It’s a great deal of work and, in the months just prior to publication, things got extremely busy at my day job, and stayed that way. In addition to the personal posts published in the Killer Nashville and cncbookblog's Buried Under Books. I began appearing on other authors’ personal blogs. I wasn’t prepared to do more than a few, so I also hosted some authors to appear on mine. My tour was more hit and misses than a true blog tour.
· There’s also the in-person events. I went to my first book signing at my local author’s Sisters in Crime showcase meeting September of 2015 in Belleview, Tennessee. I worked like crazy to get on an author’s panel at the Southern Festival of Books and succeeded, appearing on a panel in early October, and then made it onto a panel for Killer Nashville’s Writers Conference the following month.
Book promotion is hard and mostly falls on the author. One thing I wish I’d done as soon as I signed the publication contract was to write numerous blog posts in advance to have available for blog visits. If I’d done that, I probably would’ve had a true blog tour and been hosted by many more of my author friends.