- by Elaine Isaak
I just finished off two blog entries for my pseudonym, and yesterday wrote a guest blog entry for somebody else’s blog, and now, here I am, writing again for you.
One of the questions authors keep asking themselves is, how much promotion do I *have* to do? Do I have to blog/Facebook/tweet/Goodreads/ whatever-is-the-next-big-thing?
When I tell writer friends about some of my promotional efforts, they get tired just listening to me, and often start to back away–and I’m nothing compared with many much bigger names. Of course, some of those big names have assistants or savvy children who take care of some of this stuff.
How much do you have to do? Good question. It depends a lot on the stage of your career, where you would like it to be, and what level of publisher support you have. Nowadays, any publisher support at all is a pleasant rarity.
But having your book in stores is publicity–and it’s something the trad publishers do, small presses might or might not, and indie authors must handle for themselves. Getting reviews is another of these things–before the book comes out, you want people to be talking about it, and hopefully that’s something the publisher is handling.
Is that enough? who knows.
At a minimum, you need a website. This is where someone who finishes your book at midnight can go and find out more about you and your other works. It doesn’t have to have bells and whistles, just good, readable content, something that personalizes your work and feeds the new reader’s interest on demand.
I do recommend at least one outlet for current information, like a blog or Facebook where you can post about appearances, upcoming works, teasers or giveaways. Fans would like this to go further and become interactive. They’d like to be able to make comments, to interact with each other, and ideally, with you–even if it’s via occasional responses. Also, your blog will be more engaging to readers if you respond to comments, ask questions, and are at least somewhat available through that means.
As for the rest, pick one or two that you genuinely enjoy. Some authors like Google +, some Pinterest, some hold chats via Twitter or regular chatrooms. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re not likely to keep doing it, and the energy level won’t be there. It’s as if readers can see your eyes rolling every time you have to log on.
We all hope that our books will take off via word of mouth, and successful books usually do. But the way to capitalize on that building buzz is to create a fun, engaging presence that will keep readers engaged between books and passing the word along.