Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tip O'Day #296 - Publicity, Indie vs Legacy

Guest blogger Holly Robinson on “The Good, the Bad and the Mysterious about Your Publicity Campaign.”

Now that I've got feet in both camps, I have a unique perspective on the good, the bad and the mysterious truths about book marketing. My memoir, The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter, was published by Random House. I leaped into the indie world when I self-published my first novel, Sleeping Tigers, a couple of months ago. My second novel, The Wishing Hill, will be published by Penguin in spring 2013. These experiences have taught me a lot about book publicity, but I'm still learning new things every day. There are some differences in how traditional and indie books are publicized, but those differences are shrinking by the nanosecond. The truest thing I can tell you is that, no matter how your book makes it into the world, you'll need to take an active part in the publicity. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Mine the Free Resources. The Internet is a wonderful tutor. There are more free resources out there about marketing your book than you'll ever have time to read. Google anything from “picking a book cover” to “social media for authors,” and you'll get enough hits to last through a few thermoses of coffee. Make good use of these resources. Two of my favorites are Novel Publicity's “Free Advice Blog” and CreateSpace's “Free Publishing Resources.”

Prepare Your Platform. No matter who you talk to in publishing — agent, editor, publicist, or sales team — they'll tell you that their ideal is a good book written by an author with a “solid platform.” Basically, that means that they want you to be famous before you even give them a manuscript — or they want some hook, like you chewed off your arm during a battle with a grizzly bear. (Even then, they hope you've been blogging about it.) One easy way to start building your platform is by crafting a virtual identity. Social media tools are free and easy to use. Start a blog, create an author Facebook page, get a Twitter account, and set up a Goodreads page. Give people useful information — don't just pimp your book. If you know how to do something — anything from fly fishing to quilting — blog about that, guest post on other people's blogs, and people will start following you. Yes, it's time consuming, but it's also incredibly fun to connect with people. If you're trying traditional publishing avenues, it will help your editor sell your book to the publisher if she can prove that you have an active presence online. Indie or traditional, you're cultivating a loyal readership.

Learn more about Holly at her website. Tomorrow, she returns with comments on book launches and giveaways.


  1. you have one of my favorite writerfriends on your site! Holly, you keep giving away the good stuff!

  2. Good post, Dixon. I, too, think it's important to have a platform. Any publisher will eventually ask you to get a blog or website as fans normally like to read about their favourite author. As you said, it's time-consuming, but it's also what we love to do: writing. And we don't even have to make things up when we blog. :-)

  3. Thanks for the comments, Toby & Stella--hey, Dixon, you bring some great writers to your blog! I appreciate the chance to share our experiences.

  4. I feel like I have been telling new authors this for years. You have to be ready to give your all, if you want to make it as an author. Thanks for this Post Holly! :)