There are exactly 5 weeks before my first book, LIVER LET DIE, releases. I'm waiting to hear what my editor thinks about Book 2 and currently writing Book 3. I don’t know what scares me more – worrying that Book Three won’t be as good as Book One and Book Two or worrying that Book One isn’t as good as I thought it was, and the reviewers will rip me a new one. I lay awake at night thinking up all kinds of scenarios from making the NY Times Best Sellers List to totally bombing.(Remember how insecure I am??) Hopefully, I’ll fall somewhere in between.
In the meantime, I have scheduled a crazy October with guest bloggings, signings, and even a radio appearance, all in the name of promotion. There are some days I will be in two places at once, and not all the blogs cater to writers. So, I’ve had to come up with topics that will interest readers as well as writers, who are basically readers who write. I was thinking of ways to get the best bang for my buck, and I came up with the top ten ways to promote my book – with as little money as possible. Here they are:
1. Get a decent website. I have one where people can get to know me as well as find out release dates for my books. That wasn’t free, but finding a professional, Rae Monet, who designed it and maintains it didn’t break the bank. I have two recipes from my book there and plan on posting several more as well as contests for readers. I am giving away a really neat Pandigital Kitchen Technology Center as a promotion for LIVER LET DIE. It’s so cool. It has an actual HD TV, internet access, a built-in in digital recipe center and more. There will be more details later on this.
2. Blog. I’m already part of a group blog and spend a lot of time trying to get my name out there. That and a little paying it forward to other writers. I have recently committed to a group blog, The Plotting Princesses, with a group of writer friends with whom I plot. Today, Kat Baldwin is blogging about about brainstorming, and Thursday is Temptation Thursday where we all post a snippet from our current wip. That’s always fun. On the negative side of blogging, it was reported at the Bouchercon (mystery conference) last year that blogging is way down the list of successful things to do to market your book. Okay, maybe spending all this time really isn’t worth it career wise, but I love kibitzing with other writers. I look at it as writer’s therapy!! And I have been asked to blog with several reviewers. That means I get to talk about me instead of how to get the best out of inner conflict, etc.
3. Get any kind of free promo you can. This includes guest blogging, commenting on other blogs using your signature line with your book title and release date, and using FaceBook and Twitter. Pass out business cards with your info wherever you go. The great JA Konrath said he puts a bookmark in every piece of mail he sends – utility bills, phone bills, correspondence with anyone, etc. How smart is that?
4. Take advantage of free book reviews. For the cost of an ARC, there are many sites that will review your blog without a charge. I am fortunate because my publisher sends out copies for me, but even if they didn’t, I would look into getting more ARCS or sending my manuscript in a Word document. Some quick review sites: My http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifBookish Ways, Dollycas's Thoughts, The Book Resort, Dru's Book Musings, Socrates' Book Review, and way too many more to mention. Now, if I only knew a surefire way to get them to give me a good review!!
5. Give a free reading at a local library. I was just asked to be on a panel for one. Unfortunately, my book wasn’t out yet, so it wasn’t beneficial for me. But you can bet I’m going to check this one out. I’m thinking there’s a whole gang of people out there who might not know about my book and coincidentally, they’re looking for a Christmas present for Aunt Suzie who loves mysteries! I am one of two authors presenting a program with Reading Radio Resource. It’s a non profit organization for the visually or physically challenged. It will really be a way to get my name out there plus do something just because it’s a good thing to do.
6. See if any of the local book clubs would like to review your book. I have two already scheduled. All are friends who are really excited about this. Hopefully, every member will run out and buy the book, especially if I'm there to sign them...which brings me to reason number 7.
7. Schedule book signings. I planned on going the local route plus a few out of town spots, like my hometown in Bridgeport, Ohio, in Columbus, Ohio where all my family now resides and at Lake Kiowa where I used to live. I’ve had to cancel the Ohio trip because the only bookstore there was a Borders and we all know what happened. I am scheduled to sign with the fabulous “Don’t Mess With Christie” Craig on October 22nd from 1-4 at a really cool place that has a wonderful restaurant with a from-scratch bakery. Since Christie is debuting her YA series and I am just debuting, there will be a chocolate cake and sangria. If you’re local, come help us celebrate. I’m also one of 18 authors at Buns and Roses Tea for Literacy on October 9th. It's a charitable event sponsored by the Richardson Literacy Program. I will have my own author table with nine readers. How cool is that? My books will be there to sign also.
8. Visit your local bookstores and sign copies. Leave bookmarks in the books and at the counter if the manager allows it. I’ve heard more than once to take goodies for the employees on signing day. A doughnut softens anyone up.
9. Send a press release to your local newspapers. I intend to send mine to Ohio and Lake Kiowa. Surely, someone will think I’m interesting enough to do an interview or a write up on my release. A chapter mate, Wendy Lyn Watson, was on the local morning show when her first book released. She writes mysteries about an ice cream parlor and whipped up a batch on the show. How much free publicity was that?? Of course, I would probably need Valium to do that, but still, it’s a thought.
10. And last but not least, make your next book great, so that after you snag all those new fans with all these hints, you won’t lose them with a crappy sequel.
And there, my friends, lies the stuff that keeps me awake at night!!
So, now I’ve told you what I think about promotion. I’m ready to hear new ways to get more readers. The confident me wants to believe if I can get them hooked on LIVER LET DIE, then BEEF-STOLEN OFF and MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT will be shoe-ins!!
I’d better close before the Insecure Lizzy takes over!