I – well, when I say “I”, I mean me in concert with the Significant Other – have been working on a trailer for The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales. When I say “working on”, I mean I choose the pretty pictures and the colours and David has to do something with them that I like. Hey, it’s a partnership.
Anyway, it’s caused me to think about how authors need to pull their weight when it comes to marketing their own work. Getting word about your book out there isn’t just the job of your publisher. Particularly if you’re with a small press, the marketing department is likely to be Publisher Bob and his dog, Toby … maybe some co-opted teenagers.
So, writers, you need to help get the word out there. You are part of your own marketing team. Organise, or at least agree to, interviews. Blog regularly. Do readings. Go to cons and be visible (although preferably not with silver body paint and a posing pouch). Upload readings to your blog. Go to your own book launch and look happy to be there. Talk to your readers, sign things for them. Let your publisher know when you’ve had some successes or publicity so they can boast about it too. Did I say “boast”? I mean, “promote”.
If you can time these things with the release of your book it helps build up a buzz at the time it’s most needed and most effective.
Of course, it’s not just all your responsibility. You also need your publisher to be onboard with this and coordinate your efforts. You need an agreed-on approach, an agreed-on timeline, and everyone needs to be on message. It’s no good playing amateur hour and then complaining that you’ve not sold very many books.
While it may not take a village to get word out there, at the very least you need a dog, some co-opted teenagers, an enthusiastic author, and Publisher Bob all working together.
Timing and cooperation are everything.