Some authors think that marketing and publicity is solely the domain of their publisher but these days authors are expected to carry the heaviest of the publicity load. There really is no-one who knows and loves your book as much as you do, so why not give it the royal treatment it deserves?
Getting your book known should start well before the release date. There is much you can do. First, work out where you can possibly get your book reviewed. There are many websites which review books so check them out and write and ask if you might send a book for review when it is released.
Check out magazines and newspapers that review books and make a note of their postal addresses (and, if possible, their literary editors’ names) so you can send review copies. Ask journalists on your local newspapers if they will run an article about your book (or book launch) closer to release date.
As well, ask bloggers who specialise in blogging about books and/or writing if they would be interested in hosting you for a blog tour. For my latest novel, The Girl in the Basement (Morris Publishing Australia), I had 12 bloggers take my book on; some reviewed it while others interviewed me. When my publisher had a list of the various websites, we displayed the blog tour in as many online and print magazines as we could.
You can also organise a launch of your book (see my blog http://diannedibates.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/book-launches.html)
The Australian Society of Authors doesn’t help authors promote their books, except to note the book’s publication in its newsletter. However, this is some publicity so make use of the opportunity if you are a member. Similarly, writers’ centres also publicise member’s new books. You might like to write an article for the writers’ centres which refers to your experience of writing your book, or you can make use of the footnote writer’s bio (see below*) to mention your book.
If you enjoy teaching you can get work running workshops (for children and/or adults) at your writers’ centre or evening (adult) education centre. Of course your students might want to buy copies of your book!
If you don’t already have one, I’d strongly advise you to get a website, a Facebook and Twitter presence. Create a blog in which you review books and interview authors: Georgie Donaghey runs Creative Kids Tales http://www.creativekidstales.com.au/index.html and gets 55,000 hits a month – that’s a heck of a lot exposure!
Here is something else which is currently being suggested to authors:
Goodreads.com is a great website where authors and readers can interact. It's also a really easy way to generate reviews for your title if it hasn't been picked up by a conventional reviewer.
Becoming a Goodreads author is easy: go to http://www.goodreads.com/author/program for details on how to:
· Sign up for an account (you should search for yourself first, to see if any of your books have already been mentioned - then you can "claim" them and connect them to your author page);
· Form a Q&A discussion forum, called a "Featured Author Group" (http://www.goodreads.com/author/featured_groups?goback=.mid_I590385406*415_*1 ) (for a good example, see http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/39438-q-a-with-james-patterson
· Create a book giveaway contest (http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/new) where you set a prescribed period for people to express interest in receiving a free copy in exchange for a review on Goodreads;
· Join or form a group for discussions related to your hot topics (See http://www.goodreads.com/group or http://www.goodreads.com/topic);
· Promote your upcoming launches or speaking events (Click "Add an event" or "My events" at http://www.goodreads.com/event);
· Share book excerpts;
· Upload a fun quiz about your book or topic (more relevant for children's books);
· Add the Goodreads Author widget to your blog to link directly to reader reviews of your books.
And if you don't already have a blog, Goodreads will let you write a blog there! So get on Goodreads, and encourage your friends who are already on Goodreads to post reviews of your titles. The more reviews a title gets, the more likely that Goodreads will 'showcase' a title.
Over the years I have gained a lot of publicity by speaking at teacher librarians conferences and festivals, and by writing articles for all kinds of magazines. I’ve also written articles and run interviews (with authors, editors, publishers, etc) for online writers’ magazines, such as Buzz Words http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/and Pass It On http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/.
Ask writing conference or festival organisers if you can present. It’s just a matter of working out what you want to offer and approaching the organisers with a proposal. It’s possible the answer will be ‘no’, but if you don’t ask, there’s no possibility at all of a positive response, is there? If your proposal is rejected, ask again next year. Perhaps offer to be on the festival committee; that way they will most definitely know who you are!
Get involved in your local sub-branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) http://cbca.org.au if you write for young people. Visit schools and talk to students. Talk to adult interest groups such as View Club, University of the Third Age (U3A), Lions Club, Variety Club, Women Writers’ group and so on.
There are dozens of ways of promoting one’s books: the list is endless!
*Dianne (Di) Bates is the author of 120+ books, mostly for young readers. Her latest cross-over novel is The Girl in the Basement (Morris Publishing Australia) which you can purchase from http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com/