What’s the Best Promotion for an Indie Writer?

Young Woman REading
You’d like to convince readers to buy your book and take it with them everywhere. You’d also like them to say good things about what you’ve written, so others will try it. The question is how?   Photo/POND.5

Social Media Helps
As an indie writer, you may have written an absolutely stunning book. But without a personal PR staff, how does anyone find out about it?

A website; an active blog; social media like Twitter or Facebook and others (and I don’t mean to slight anyone by not mentioning them all) are good ways for an indie author to become known.

But the importance of personal promotion for a writer can’t be over-emphasized, and certainly not if you’re an indie, with no publishing machine behind you.

Readers want a relationship with their authors, as in “His/her work really speaks to me.”

There are some readers who get a thrill out of purchasing a book the author autographs right in front of them. Still others just want to know the author is really “a regular joe” or, to be politically correct, “a regular jane” … someone not all that different from them.

But in the end, people buy books pretty much like you and I buy books: based on the quality of the author’s work.

So, now that you’ve written that book, how do you become a household name? Or at least one that people who regularly buy books become interested in following?

Personality Sells Books
Think of it this way: people know about cars by the incredible volume of advertising they see and hear, but it’s often the recommendation of a friend that actually seals the deal.

As an indie you are basically an unknown quantity and, like so many other things, people are more likely to be loyal to authors they, or someone they’re acquainted with, know something about.

If you have an unlimited advertising budget for your indie book, you probably don’t even need to finish reading this.

If, however, you’re a lot like me and won’t be buying commercials at any time during the NCAA “March Madness” Basketball Tournament, to sell your book you need to personally talk to people.

Talking to People
I talk about my book everywhere. I talk about it to perfect strangers waiting in line at the grocery store, bring it up at social events, talk to neighbors, share it with members of the congregation after services. I even gave my business card to a local fast-food manager.

My darling bride often cringes when I bring up my books to complete strangers. But I believe the most successful mode of promotion is a personal one. Potential readers who meet, or have met, you in person are more apt to buy your book. If they meet you and like you, so much the better (so try to be friendly).

Any indie author who decides not to pursue the personal approach when promoting their book is an author who probably won’t sell very many.

But you have be careful, just as you do in social media venues. There’s a fine line between promotion and in-person spamming.

So What’s the Promotion Recipe?
Whatever you do, don’t blatantly sell. You just have to let people know you write (if you can work it into the conversation), and answer any questions they may have.

Hone Your Speaking Skills. If your book is fiction, poetry or a children’s book, consider getting involved in a storytelling group.

Create Speaking Opportunities.
Approach organizations, libraries or schools and ask to be placed on their program agenda. Grade schools love to have children’s book authors do a reading for their classes. Many high schools enjoy local authors talking to their senior writing classes. Program directors for many civic organizations are often on the lookout for interesting speakers.

Book Signings Are Not Passé. It’s true the average author doesn’t generally attract many people to a bookstore signing. However, try being creative. Set up a booth at a wine festival or a flea market … places you might not normally find book-sellers. You might get quite an audience if you do a book signing at a busy coffee house.

Speak at Conferences. This might take a little more work since, as a rule, conference organizers do not ordinarily come looking for you, especially at first. So seek out opportunities. If you have a specialty to talk about, or a particularly well-received book, giving a presentation at a local writing conference can give your sales a nice boost.

The common denominator for achieving success in all of these efforts is personal contact. Oh, and there is one other thing. Be sure you first write a good book.

Then go out and meet your readers.

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2 Responses to “What’s the Best Promotion for an Indie Writer?”

  1. Seumas Gallacher Says:

    Agree with, and already doing ALL of the above .. excellent recipe, that man .. cheers , Ron.. 🙂

    Like

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