In college, I am taking a class about digital entrepreneurship. While the class is designed to direct future hopeful app developers, lately I’ve been seeing a lot of crossovers to publishing.
So that leads me to the conclusion that self publishing a book qualifies one to be an entrepreneur.
While this label seems a little needless, I find this really exciting. Why? Because I just spent 15 weeks of my life learning how to craft an idea, find an audience, and really connect with the target market. Lately we’ve been going over promotion, and I’ve never paid more attention to a class. Some of the advice they had was great, and I never would have thought of it before.
So now I will share the basic gist of promotion of self-published works with you:
The basic idea is to have a Hollywood premiere. Think about movies — they spread the casting news around the internet, pictures are released from the set, and the closer they get to the release date, the more information they release. Hunger Games is a great example. I remember just flicking through pictures on the internet and actually shelling out money to buy a magazine with interviews and pictures.
Unfortunately, we don’t all have that amazing Hollywood budget, or a fancy, famous name to spread the hype. We just start with a notebook, a pen, and an idea. We have to scrape, think, devise, and research for ways to make our work a tangible thing.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t follow the Hollywood premiere style, though. Luckily, the style can be pretty pocket-friendly and work with any budget.
So what exactly is a Hollywood premiere?
Initially these steps sound so common sense, that they aren’t even worth mentioning — let alone labeling them as a Hollywood premiere. Trust me, there is a reason for these steps. Now let’s go more in depth.
Teasers are little tidbits to release about your book. The idea is not to give a synopsis and character analysis, or anything in depth. The point is to reveal to your audience that you are working on a project, and will have more details to come. To do this, though, you need an audience. A great way to get an audience is through a blog! So if you haven’t made one yet, luckily you are on a blogging website, so you can do that right after finishing this article.
Other ways to release teasers is to take advantage of any press you can get. If you’re like me, then you’re limited in your press releasing options. No worries, there are cheap ways to do this. Access your local newspaper, unless it’s one of a major city, and let them know what you’re up to. If you come from a small town, that can really boost the word around your area. Then if you have any amazing successful blogging buddies, you can piggy back off of their popularity. Owe your blogging buddies a favor in exchange for a post that mentions your name and project. These are just a few suggestions, but essentially just get creative and take advantage of any media source you can — even if it is just Facebook.
Great teaser ideas can involve an overview of your setting, the general personality of the protagonist, or maybe some pictures that relate to your story. (You may be seeing some teasers from me soon….)
You want to wait until closer to your release date to start shelling out previews. A good timeline would be to start these a month or two before your release date. These previews should be more in depth than the teasers. This is like a movie trailer; give more of the story, and more personality. Let people know what the hook of the book is, and what problem the protagonist will face. Let people know some behind the scene information, such as where you’ve been writing, tips to get over writer’s block, page number, etc. Let people know what themes and morals your plot deals with. Use your blog, and as many blogging buddies as you can rally behind you! Try getting links set up to your blog by using Twitter.
If you have your release date set, but have the books printed (provided they are not e-books), now would be a good time to send out some offers for exclusive first looks. Your work is a prize! Set aside two or three copies to send to some lucky followers and supporters!
Now would also be a good time to start working on a devoted author promo site. You don’t need to launch the full site, yet, but it would be nice to start getting the skeleton together.
The day you’ve been waiting for. All those hours of writing, rejection, feedback, and relentless plowing on through, you finally succeeded. Publishing a book is a success, and you should celebrate. So celebrate with your followers! Launch your full website, let your blogging buddies in on the good news to pass on! And, of course, write a victory post on your own blog. I fully intend to throw a ginormous party when I release my book, just for the heck of it. You’ve worked hard; now celebrate and let your audience celebrate with you.
I hope these basic steps were able to help! There is so much more I want to write about, so it looks like I’ll be doing at least one more post on promos. The most important takeaway is to remember that your book is exciting, and that people want to read it. Share your enthusiasm, and embrace your online presence.
Feel free to let me know what you think of the Hollywood premiere! Do you agree or disagree with my suggestions?