This topic consumes writers. And writers get plenty of advice from agents, editors, and others about what they need to do to promote their books:
“You have to have a website!”
“You have to do appearances.”
“You have to blog!” (Oh, wait – that’s what this is.)
“You have to hand out bookmarks, talk about your book endlessly to anyone who even looks as though they’re listening, and generally make people want to run and hide at the faintest sight of you.”
Nowhere on the “You have to” list do I find what I consider the most important promotional tips:
- Be nice.
- Write the best book you can.
- Be a fan yourself. Read other writers’ books. Talk about their work, not just your own. It’s a community and you are just a part.
- When you visit a bookstore to do a signing, to sign stock, or simply to introduce yourself, buy a book. Granted, you might not be able to do this in every store, but you certainly want to support the stores in your area that support your work.
- Learn the gentle art of thank-you notes. Offer a helping hand whenever possible to those learning the craft, to kids who love books, to libraries and bookstores and readers. I don’t care if you did just win the Pulitzer Prize, no need to be a prima donna.
- Most important of all: Write the best darn book you are capable of writing. Your readers deserve nothing less.
If you want more practical advice, I offer a commercial announcement: Sisters in Crime has recently published the third edition of Brazen Promotion for Shameless Hussies, available to members (membership is $40--and includes lots of other support for crime writers) for $1.99 download or $11.99 paperback. See www.sistersincrime.org for information.
Or get Jeffrey Marks' book, Intent to Sell. Both books offer loads of advice.
But I stick with my advice:
Be nice. Write good.