Self-promotion & Networking
The value of self-promotion and how to do it economically
These are difficult times for literary publishing. The modern, outward-looking writer seeking to tap into an audience needs, as far as possible, to find ways of promoting themselves and their work efficiently and economically.
If you’re a self-published writer, self-promotion isn’t simply a means of improving sales of your work, but of actually making it visible in the first place. Self-published writers can only very rarely achieve review notices in literary magazines and, if they do, it’s often in very small scale, local publications – unlikely to significantly boost your profile or your sales. Most bookshops won’t stock your work. And you won’t have the support of a marketing team behind you, either, to canvass interest in your work from magazines and newspapers or to promote it to those organising literary festivals or readings. You will have to become your own sales and marketing division.
Before you proceed with self-publishing, you need to think very carefully about the financial expense and time resources involved in publishing and promoting your work, as well as the general pros and cons of going down this route. In particular, you need to be aware that there are limits to what can be achieved through self-publishing. Self-published books won’t turn their authors into household names, are unlikely to make any profit and are even more unlikely to attract the interest of mainstream publishers in the longer term.
If you do decide to self-publish, however, there is some good news. New technologies have enabled self-published writers to promote and sell their work more easily and cheaply than ever before. Today’s self-published writers may sell their work through their websites, they blog, and they engage with social networking sites to reach an audience.
Self-promotion for published writers
Whether you are published by a commercial publisher or an independent, you will need to play a significant role in promoting yourself to an audience. While most commercials and independents have enthusiastic and passionate marketing staff who will do their best to promote you to literary magazines, newspapers and festivals, it’s a competitive climate. Many independent publishers these days require a commitment from you that you will do everything possible to boost your profile and that of your work. Today’s engaged readers are digitally alert, they regularly surf the net, read blogs, visit author websites, and many have a presence on Facebook as well. By enhancing your presence online, you will reach more people and afford your work better visibility – and potential sales.