Sunday, July 5, 2015

Spreading The Word

How does a writer get the word out about his or her latest work?  At a major publishing house as an established big name, it's not that hard - you can get print ads, radio ads, press releases, etc.  However, most of us aren't named Patterson or Grisham, so we need to figure out other avenues.

The first, and easiest, is word of mouth.  Get people talking about what you wrote.  To do this, you need to get past the initial inclination of making every person who reads your book buy it.  I have a distribution list of people who've signed up to buy my first book, but I've told them not to hold onto it - if they enjoy it, I want them to share it with their friends and lend it out.  Of course I want folks to fork over some money to the RD Meyer account, but that can't get in the way of building a readership.  Some folks are real tight-asses about this, but I think that's counterproductive.  If people don't read you when you're first out, they won't pay later to read more.

The second way, and the second  easiest in today's day and age is a blog tour.  Ask acquaintances you read if you can do a guest post.  Offer reciprocation.  We writers need to stick together and help each other out, so see if you can work out a one for one swap on guest posts since you'll both benefit.  Then time your posts for the launch date of your new book.  By doing this, you'll expand beyond your own audience and into readers you've never tapped.

Finally, there's the traditional book tour.  Unfortunately, most bookstores won't touch you unless you've established yourself in some way, so think outside the box.  Friends and family are usually thrilled that someone they know wrote a book since it's usually associated with fame(even if that fame doesn't yet exist), so ask a buddy to host a book launch party.  Offer to sign books.  Does one of your friends have a weekly or monthly book club?  Most will be excited to have a "real life author" come talk to them.  Also, get with a smaller bookstore or community college bookstore and see if you can set up a table in exchange for a few free books.  If you stink, the most they lose is some floor space for two or three hours.

If you don't find a way, it won't matter if you've written the best book ever - no one will know.  Find a way to let them know.

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