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Point of View: How to Promo Yourself

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I’m in the throes of planning my next blog tour for my forthcoming novella Autumn Lands, and I thought it would be a great time to talk about what I do to promote my work. And to ask what you all do, too.

So here it goes:

1) Do The Blog Tour: This is a mainstay of author promotions, mainly because it can be done on the cheap and can *potentially* reach lots of people. Authors I know are divided on the impact of these tours, but I find that they foster community among the authors and blogs involved, even if they don’t lead to a significant rise in sales. I’ve paid for someone else to set up these tours, and have set them up myself. I’ve decided to run the current one by myself, but Sid at Creative Minds has done great work for me in the past, at a reasonable rate.

2) Do The Review Tour: Cassandra Carr, one of the author friends I met at Rainbow Con, says she no longer does blog tours, but instead does review tours, and works with a handful of reviewers who have proven that they review books fairly and aren’t conduits to pirate sites. There are many shady reviewers out there, so it’s important to try to work with those who care about what they do and who are above board. A strong review can help swing folks who aren’t sure about taking a chance on your book, and many of these folks cross post the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

3) Do Social Media: People on Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media sites are soooo over blatant book promo. But there are still ways to promo yourself on social media without a backlash. Post on groups like QSF (Mondays) and Queer Sci Fi, Horror, & Fantasy Creators & Fans (Saturdays) on their promo days. Find ways to be creative on social media, too. Instead of “buy my book”, offer extra content on your blog – character pictures, cover reveals, exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes – things that can help prime the pump for your story.

4) Think Local: If your story has a local angle, why not promote it locally too? For The River City Chronicles, which is set in Sacramento, I had a bunch of teaser cards printed up, and I am doing a guerrilla marketing thing and putting them up on bulletin boards at stores and cafes across town. I also contacted all the local papers, and soon two of them will be doing a feature on me as a local author and on the series.

5) Choose Your Cons: While you will probably never get the money back that you spend on a con in additional book sales, they are great places to a) meet your fans, b) network with other authors, and c) learn how others in the book industry do what they do. I got some great tips at RainbowCon, including the idea to do a serial story on my blog and the aforementioned review tour idea. You can see the QSF list of Cons here.

6) Think Outside the Box: The thing that will most get peoples’ attention for your book will be the thing they have never seen before. So be creative. Look at your work and think about how you could get it out there. Maybe some kind of unusual swag for the Con? A crazy contest? Or dropping 100 copies from an airplane? Okay, maybe the last one is a bit over the top. But put your author mind to work and come up with something sublime.

So how do y’all promo your works?