Wednesday, 15 June 2011

12 Dos and Don'ts for Authors Promoting Their Book

1. Do tweet and blog about your book, but Don't just promote - no one will care unless you connect with people.

2. Do come up with fresh angles for the media and Don't expect "author writes book" to make the news.

3. Do tell your friends and use your contacts but Don't become a bore - people switch off it's it's nothing but me me me.

4. Do use social media but Don't neglect traditional media such as local papers and radio - believe it or not, lots of potential book buyers don't use Facebook, Twitter etc.

5. Do suggest yourself for book signings and library appearances but Don't expect anyone to be as interested in your book as you are.

6. And if you Do a book signing, Don't expect people to automatically turn up - they won't, unless you do a lot of promotional work.

7. Do be professional and pleasant to everyone you meet and Don't be a prima donna - you need every ounce of goodwill you can get.

8. Do post/tweet about yourself but Don't put up anything you wouldn't be happy to see on the front page of a newspaper - it may feel just you and your mates, but it isn't.

9. Do accept that you have to put time into promotion (even if you have a publicist) but Don't lose sight of writing your next book.

10. Do monitor your success through Sales Rank Tracking but Don't become obsessed by every upward (or downward) movement.

11. Do start a blog and set up a website but Don't then let them languish, they need maintaining.

12. Do expect to work hard to get any response and Don't expect instant results

and finally Do have fun!

There are still some places on the How to Sell a Novel day course in Bath on 3rd July - click here or contact if you want more info.


Jim Murdoch said...

All authors these days are told to create a blog and blog regularly. That’s the easy bit. Getting buggers to read your blog (and to read it regularly) is another ball game entirely. Before you can promote your book you need to promote your blog. None of this Field of Dreams malarkey. If you don’t tell people you’ve built it they will not come. You need to register your blog in blog directories, use sites like Stumbleupon, Digg and any appropriate blog carnivals to highlight new posts, you need to ping your blog after every new post and use all the social media available to you to let people know you’re there. It takes me about a half-hour after every post just to do that. I’ve been on the go for nearly four years now and I can count on 4000+ hits a month but I’ve still not managed to build up more than 140 followers and most of my visitors come via search engines. I started my blog a year before I started promoting my first book.

Twitter if, of course, the new big thing but there’s a danger that all the people who follow your blog are the people who are your friends on Facebook and are the people who read your tweets on Twitter. That’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed clear of Twitter because I see no point unless I can figure out how to acquire a different set of potential readers.

Michelle said...


I am following you on twitter and saw the link to "I Owe My Writing Career to a Hamster" now that I am on your page I am delighted...not only do you have funny stories but you also give advice.


Carey said...

Just had a curious look at the Sales Rank Tracking tool - goodness, that could become a bit addictive couldn't it?

Sarah Duncan said...

Well, Jim, I don't do any of the things you suggest - I don't even know what most of them are. But then I rather liked Field of Dreams....

Hi Michelle, welcome, and glad you like the blog.

Oh Carey, I feel I have shown you the dark side. Sales Rank tracking is addictive, and it's really better to limit the number of times you go on per hour, I mean, day, week. Week. That's what I meant.

Chris Stovell said...

I laughed at your comment about not checking Novel Rank too many times in an hour! Jeez! Between that and Amazon I can go from being over-the-moon to the Pit of Doom within hours. Step away now and think about the next project is probably the best advice... if only I could follow it!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for that interesting list, Sarah! i finally joined twitter last week after holding off for ages.

Liz Fielding said...

Today I noticed that my novella was #6 at Amazon in Short Stories and Short Romance Stories one above (in both lists) a book called Dating My Vibrator.

I thought this would make people laugh - as well as mentioning my book - a double whammy. An hour later, Dating My Vibrator was above my book! But we did have a good time which was the main purpose of the tweet.

Mario Lurig said...

Thanks for mentioning NovelRank as your tool of choice (and the seo keywording). I'm glad it's serving you and others well!

Mario Lurig
Creator, NovelRank

Sarah Duncan said...

Novel Rank oh Novel Rank - it's a love hate relationship isn't it, Chris?

Hi Rosemary, and welcome to social media and the twitterverse.

Love the Dating My Vibrator story Liz - I retweeted it on Twitter, so can claim some part.

Jim Murdoch said...

I've just done a guest post over at Audacious Author that deals with this in much more detail - with numbers and links.