Guest blogger Holly Robinson on publicists, book launches and giveaways.
If you're traditionally published, expect to be assigned a publicist. It is that person's job to advocate for your book with print media, radio and television stations, bookstores, and online sites. Make yourself part of the publicity team. If the publicist suggests that you do something, do it! The more you help your publicist, the more she can help you. On the other hand, don't take it personally if the publicist is too busy to do more than a few early rounds of marketing pushes. She'll probably have a minimum of time and an even smaller budget to devote to your book. You'll have to keep up the momentum. Likewise, if you're an indie author, be prepared to devote part of every week to promoting your books. Writers with deep pockets may find it easiest to hire a publicist; even then, log the hours if you want results.
Your Book Launch Is What You Make It. Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, a book launch in traditional publishing was a Very Big Deal. Authors were sent on book tours to do readings and signings on the publisher's dime. The pre-sales of books, both online and in bookstores, determined pretty quickly which books were hits. That's because they knew that shelf life in bookstores was brief. This is all changing. Sure, it's great to gain traction the minute your book is available. However, with the advent of online book sellers and e-books, your book will stay around forever. Don't despair if it takes weeks, or even months, to see sales results. Keep at it, and eventually the numbers will climb.
Give Away Your Books. Traditional publishers know that the best way to sell a book is to give it away first. They target who they give it to, of course—book reviewers, TV producers, book clubs—but, ultimately, the idea is to “seed” your book around the country so that people start talking about it. You can do the same thing on your own. Participate in giveaways on your own facebook author page or through Goodreads, or ask book bloggers if they'll host giveaways for you.
Holly is the author of the novel Sleeping Tigers and The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir. Check her out at her website. She will return tomorrow with three more publicity ideas for both Indies and traditionally published authors.