My new book, 70 Ways to Bullyproof Yourself, is out this month and I’ve been busy promoting.
It’s hard work and, as far as I can see, there are no quick, easy short cuts. But the more you do it, the less challenging it feels, and I’ve actually come to enjoy it. Here’s the 5 point plan that works for me.
1 Choose a good launch date for the particular book
I chose September for 70 Ways to Bullyproof Yourself because lots of parents and children are concerned about bullying at the start of a new school year. I thought that would be a good angle for articles and social media updates around the launch, with the added bonus of Anti Bullying Week coming up soon after for another flurry of promoting in November.
Hashtag #bullying !
2 Try to get some reviews
I always email local magazines and newspapers when I’ve got a new book coming out, offering to send them a review copy. Uptake on this one hasn’t been as good as usual, but influential book blogs are probably even more important these days, and the book got a great review from Pippa Goodhart in Awfully Big Reviews, which is full of great quotables that I can use in twitter and facebook.
Two other influential bloggers, Minerva Reads and Books for Topics have have told me their reviews will be posted around Anti Bullying Week.
Only Peters Booksellers customers get to see what the awesome librarians who review for them have to say, but I think this book must have fared all right because I’ve had several orders already.
3 Pitch some articles
I got an article in the September issue of Devon Life – we didn’t even discuss a fee because they let me include the cover and book details, so it was a win-win – they could view it as a free article, and I as a free one-page ad.
But as with reviews, blogs can be as influential as magazines these days, so I wrote articles for The Alliance of Independent Authors blog and my lovely cover designer Rachel Lawston’s blog and did an interview with Authors Electric.
It’s all very time consuming, but I find that pitching and writing articles is a really good way of focusing my ideas about what the book is actually about and why people should read it – the process helps me find the so-called elevator pitch.
4 Get some bookmarks and fliers
Rachel offers promotional bits and pieces such as this as part of her cover design package, which is wonderful because she can create everything to fit the book’s branding. Everything carries my website address, so it’s like handing out a business card really.
5 Organise some events
I almost always have a launch party to celebrate the publication of a new book, because it feels important to me to celebrate and you can add photos and updates to the buzz you’re trying to build in your social networks, but I just haven’t had time with 70 Ways to Bullyproof Yourself.
I’ll usually try to do arrange some author talks in my local libraries, bookshops and festivals around launch time too, but that hasn’t happened – same problem. It’s partly because I’m still doing my free-range writing tour to celebrate Free-Range Writing: 75 Forays for the Wild Writer’s Soul – talks and workshops throughout the year just wherever I happen to be (the next ones are in Cheltenham on Sunday September 30th, Launceston on October 10th and Bath on Friday October 19th)
A piece of advice
That brings me to my personal piece of advice for other inde authors around launch time – and most traditionally published authors, come to that, since publishers usually expect you to do most of the promoting yourself.
Make a list of all the possible things you could do, such as publications you could approach for a review or articles you could pitch around the subject, but don’t expect yourself to be able to do it all.
Be able, after a month or two, to ditch the list or cut it right back to anything you still quite fancy doing – I’ve got a few publications that have expressed interest in articles, for example, but I won’t be pitching to new ones.
Promoting a book is stressful and you need to look after yourself, and part of that, for a writer, is looking after your writing.
After several months of focusing on trying to get these two 70 Ways books noticed, I’m letting that be one of my low level background activities and switching my attention back towards starting some new writing projects.
What have I missed in my 5 point plan? New ideas for promoting my next book would be most welcome!