Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DIY Promo: How to Build your Buzz

This is the first of my notes from the EPIcon conference. First up, the promotion talk from author/editor Deidre Knight.

You need to work about promotion, even before you get signed.
Agents often goggle authors if they are interested in a submission.
So google yourself. What comes up?

There are many options for yet-to-be published and published authors that are both fast and free.
- Twitter (which works best with you connect with people and interact, not just constant tweet about your books, btw, follow me!)
- Ning (although I'm not sure how much longer ning groups really will be free, considering all the hoopla over them now)
- Facebook (you have two options here, profiles and pages. I have both. Feel free to join my fan page!)
- Yahoo e-groups (once you're published, you might considering creating one, but there are hundreds devoted to authors and writing, some are rather niche like the group for those trying to get published in Woman's World or the crimescenewriters where you can ask professionals questions about law and crimes and make your thrillers as realistic as possible)
- Blogs (free ones are available through Blogger, Wordpress, and LiveJournal)
- You Tube (Create your own channel)[This is one area in which I personally am lacking]

Author website
- Unless you are a computer genius, it would probably be a wise investment to have your website done by a designer. Why? Because the first thing a reader will do is type in and look you up. It's important to have a professional website that reflects your writing style. Don't have a dark page unless you write suspense or thrillers.
- So how to find a web designer? Referrals are best. Or look up different authors' websites and if you find one that you love, look up the designer (usually at the bottom). One person to check out: Lex Valentine and her Winterheart Design.
- What info to include on your site: any info about your writing projects or publishes books, excerpts, awards, bio, headshot, sign up for newsletter, links to social media sites, contact email

- It's important that your newsletter has a consisttent look.
- Determine how often to mail it and stick to it, i.e. monthly (This is where I fall short. If you want to sign up for it, go to my website)
- Use html format
- Great to promote contests through widget, entries, etc.)

Join writer's organizations
- Such as Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, etc.)
- Benefits? Networking, contests, exposure to classes or programs, conferences (where you can pitch to agents and meet editors)

Now for promoting yourself as a published author

- Determine your niche. What descriptive words represent your writing? What is your genre? Do you plan to stick with that type of book for the next few years? What images do you want assocaited with your brand?
- Have a consistent look on your website, online venues, and promotional material, your newsletter, etc.
- Develop a tag line for your book or series or even yourself and use it everywhere online.

Hiring a Publicist
- Weigh the pros and cons (Honestly, if you're making enough money from your writing that you can hire one, do you really need one? I personally don't think I'll ever hire a publicist.)

Offer contests and submit to some

Book Tours, both virtual and real

DIY Promo Plan
- Promo materials such as bookmarks, excerpt booklets, unquie product ideas (keychains, post-it notes, themed giveaways)
- Website (keep it up-to-date)
- Virtual book tours (guest blogs)
- Promotional author sites (such as fresh fiction, authorbuzz, between your sheets)
- Local book signings (invite people you know, make sure local event listings have the time/date info, ask bookstore what they do to advertise signings and what you can do to help, send a press release to local media)
- Purchase web and print ads (a group ad is a great way to advertise for a lesser cost)
- Speaking opportunites (workshop panel at a conference, make yourself available to local librarys or writers organziation
-Keep your publisher in the loop (enlist their help in promoting your events and contests)

All in all, this session was a great deal of fun. Deidre was such a funny, intelligent woman who is passionate about writing and authors. It is very obvious that she loves what she does. I sent her an email with a query about The Land of Imagining (my fantasy YA novel) and am waiting as patiently as I can for a response.

Next workshop I'll share: 25 Words or Less. Reducing your story into one sentence, essentially your novel's log line. I'll even share my log line for The Land of Imagining. Stay tuned.


Aubrie said...

My problem is that I also have a flute career, so my name comes up for that, too. Oh well. Good tips on promotion!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Honestly, I think just about any internet exposure has to be good, right?


Roland D. Yeomans said...

What did my psychology professor say about children acting out to receive attention, even though it was negative, from parents?

Bad breath is better than no breath at all.

Thank you, Nicole, for such a wealth of information. Come by if you have the time and check out my blog, WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS, pull up a cyber-chair, and chat awhile. It's dark but that's because I write urban fantasy and historical fantasies with dark themes. Roland

Nicole Zoltack said...

You're welcome and thanks for stopping by, Roland, I'll have to check out your blog.


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