To Sell Books You Must Be a Self-Promoter, Whether You Like It or Not

By Harriet Hodgson

It’s winter in Minnesota, an ideal time to write, and I am snug in my office. As I am writing I think about book marketing. I am a bit uncomfortable with the idea, but know I must be a self-promoter.

I need to get my name out there.

According to “Self-Promotion for Writers,” by Paul Raymond Martin, an article published in the “Writer’s Digest,” self-promotion is for the brave. The author must open himself or herself to opportunities. His self-promotion suggestions include book signings in friends’ homes, enclosing a praise sheet with each sale, giving away bookmarks, and getting speaking engagements.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is building an audience. How do you do it? Award-winning science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer thinks authors should take their advance and spend it on promotion. But his suggestion hinges on getting an advance, something that may not happen in this economy. Sawyer’s other self-promotion ideas include attending conventions and giving books away, actions that require money.

I’m doing all I can to promote my books. What steps have I taken? First, I have submitted speaking proposals to several conferences. These conferences are willing to sell authors’ books. If my proposals are accepted, I will have to pay for transportation, lodging, food, and handouts. Still, getting my name out there may be worth the expense.

I contacted the local college about giving presentations for its LIFE program, which stands for learning is for ever. My initial contact was via email and I followed it up with a phone call. This action yielded quick results. Later in the afternoon I received two phone calls, assuring me I would be asked to speak.

To promote the sale of my latest book, I asked a graphic designer to create the cover and an expert to write a review. I also asked the graphic designer to create an ad for a quarterly magazine. By today’s standards, the full-color ad was cheap, only $125, but it is still money out-of-pocket. Maybe I will get this money back and maybe I won’t.

I have increased my volunteer efforts and joined a library board this week. Word of this spread quickly. Many people have commented on it and asked what I am writing now. Though I don’t know where this networking will lead, I think it will yield good things.

To me, self-promotion is self-actualization, a theory proposed by Ambraham Maslow, who is considered the father of modern management. He defined self-actualization as “the full use and exploitation of talents, capacities, potentialities,” his website notes. According to the website, “Maslow found that all self-actualizing people are dedicated to a vocation or cause.”

I am dedicated to writing and you are as well. Don’t wait for your publisher to pump thousands of dollars into a marketing campaign because the chances of that happening are slim, if non-existent. Create your own campaign and act on it. Self-promotion isn’t easy, but it gets easier in time. We can be excited about our work and share our excitement with others. That sells books.

Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 35+ years and is the author o 30 published books. Six of these books are grief resources, including “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief,” Lois Krahn, MD, so-author, “Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life,” “Writing to Recover Journal,” “The Spiritual Woman: Quotes to Refresh and Sustain Your Soul,” “101 Affirmations to Ease Your Grief Journey,” and “Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss.” Please visit her website and learn more about this busy author.

Article Source: [,-Whether-You-Like-It-or-Not&id=6852827] To Sell Books You Must Be a Self-Promoter, Whether You Like It or Not

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