Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tiptoeing Down the Path to Publication

Now that I have successfully landed a publisher and have a tentative release date, I'm starting to look at ways author's promote their books. And let me tell ya, it's all just a little bit daunting right now. According to all the websites and books I've read, here's what I know.

Establish A Social Media Presence
It's all about being accessible to your readers. Authors today absolutely have to have a website, preferably one that's easy to find and user friendly. I finally settled on a webpage name (using my pen name) and design. After half a day, my brand spanking new website was up and running. I have no idea if I'm getting hits yet, or how to increase my search engine visibility yet, but at least my site is awfully pretty!

Since most of the people I know are on FaceBook, it made sense to also create an author page on FB. Creating the page wasn't too difficult. Figuring out how to make my page look nifty and neat is going to take an act of God. Or at least someone with better computer skills than I have.

And then there's this blog. I have one. You're reading it, though for the life of me, I can't figure out how you actually found it. Actually, to be truthful, I have three blogs, but I'm a terrible blogger. I blog a lot during the summer months when I'm not teaching. But then school starts again and I fall off the blogging wagon. I tend to go months on end without writing a single post. *holds up three fingers and says solemnly* I promise to be a better blogger in the future. Starting now.

There are dozens of other ways I can connect with my future and current readers as well as other writers, but for the moment, I think it might be best if I just try to juggle the plates I already have up in the air. Twitter can wait.

Purchase business cards and give out to random readers
I gotta say, I love designing things. Creating cute business cards is right up my ally. Actually passing them out, not so much.

So a month or so ago, I started looking into business card designs. It's easy to get overwhelmed in the thousands of designs I found online. Should I go simple with a black card? Or should I go with something sensual to show that I write romance? It's all very confusing. And then it occurred to me. What in the world should I put on these new cards I was expected to pass out to every person I passed? I don't have a book cover to proudly display just yet. Until yesterday, I didn't even have an author website, email, or FB page to announce.

So what did I do? Created a business card . . . for my teaching career.

Buy Swag for Readers
Here's the part that makes me all tingly inside. Swag. I get to create bookmarks and postcards and . . . and . . . actually I'm not sure what readers enjoy getting from their authors.

Last Spring I attended the SoCalRWA Writer's Conference. Every writer I met had a business card to pass out and some sort of swag to give. Bookmarks and postcards were the most popular items, however I did snag a compact mirror, pens, booklets, and a cloth to buff my glasses with. Did any of those novelty items encourage me to buy a book? Nope.

What do you think? What swag items should I purchase to give to my readers? Or should I save my money and instead invest my time on building a strong web presence?

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