Friday, August 03, 2007

Tips from RWA Dallas on Self-Promotion

I thought I would share with you some of the advice I heard in Dallas at the RWA conference about self-promotion for writers.

1) Whatever you do, do it well or don’t waste your money. Several people commented that book trailers on You Tube are effective—but only if they are well done, preferably with real people.

2) Build personal connections with booksellers and readers.

3) See yourself as part of a team with your publisher and work with them whenever possible.

4) Group blogs can be a way to ensure that there is something new up every day but it isn’t too draining for an individual author.

5) Brand yourself and use it in all promo material you create. Use consistent graphics, fonts, themes, etc.

These are, in a sense, self-evident. I’d go even farther. My own suggestions are:

1) Figure out what works for YOU. What can you imagine having fun doing to promote your work that would energize and not drain you? What are you good at that you enjoy? How much money are you comfortable investing in promotion?

2) No one can or should try to do everything—at least not alone. If you have a team doing much of the work for you, that’s different, but most writers are on a budget and both time and money are limited. Better to do one or two things that really stand out and are unique than to try to mimic everyone else.

3) Think clearly about who your target audience is. What works for booksellers might not be the same as what you want to do for readers. One author’s readers might love what another author’s readers might hate.

4) In the end, we each make choices. We each have our own goals, needs, and talents. I believe that in this as with everything we do, the more fun we’re having, the better we will do whatever it is we are trying to do—including promoting our work. If we absolutely hate it, then what’s the point? There is always another choice we could make that might work just as well that we would enjoy.



Sharona Nelson said...

April, I agree with your post that a writer has to do the kind(s) of promo that they enjoy. That's one reason I've resisted having a MySpace page, for example. I just am not interested in doing that.

Besides doing what you enjoy, I suggest that one also needs to fit promo into a schedule so you don't find yourself doing endless promotion without writing any new stories. Promotion in cyberspace in particular can become this vast time-sucking thing that leaves little time for writing.

Can you tell I've been there, done that? LOL. I have to watch those tendencies in myself to "feel productive" by doing too much online promo, tweaking my web site, blogging, etc.


April said...


Good point! One has to set limits on time as well as money when it comes to promotion--or anything else for that matter.