Guest Post: Rachel Smith – Four Simple Ways To Get Your Book Noticed

Rachel SmithThe t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted. Your book is done and you’re ready to publish. And the hardest part is over…but your work is not done. Now it’s time to begin your marketing plan. First, let’s assume that your manuscript is as polished as it can be – you’ve had it edited and maybe even beta read by family and friends. Let’s assume that you’ve picked out a great title, designed the perfect cover and clicked that final upload button to the publisher of your choice. Now what? How do you get the word out about your book? Here’s a quick list of ways you can get your book noticed:

Get your book reviewed. There are lots of different types of reviews. Editorial review are generally the most expensive ($299+). These reviews are by neutral third parties (yes, we do those) where an editor reads and reviews your book. You are then allowed to use that review in your marketing materials, on the cover, etc. But you can also leverage the blogger network.

What does this mean? I call it the ripple effect. If you have an amazing, compelling book – it will be successful. Remember the last time you read a truly excellent book – didn’t you want to tell everyone about it? There are quite a few bloggers that will read and do reviews for books they are interested in, some of them are even free. But it takes time, perseverance and research. There are several companies that will also manage the process of getting these reviews for you (yes, we do that too). Other options include contacting local media, newspapers and television. You’ll have a better chance of being talked about in your local news if you present your story in an interesting way for the editor of that outlet. Media outlets are always looking for more content that they can provide to their readers.

Use your social networks. This seems obvious but you don’t need to spam your friends and family. However, getting a mention to your book, a link, a like, a post can help a friend of a friend of a friend find your book. And don’t forget for every reader you have, your circle of influence expands. Social networks don’t have to be limited to online contacts. I was recently checking out at a store when the woman in front of me struck up a conversation with the cashier. She said something to the effect of, “I think that you would like my music. I just finished recording this and I’d like to share it with you.” She then left a copy of a CD with the surprised and pleased employee. That made an impact.

Donate when you can. There are libraries and schools near you that are always in need of new books. Find out how you can donate a copy or two of your book to them. They may have an area where they spotlight new books or local authors. Take advantage of this free publicity. Many of these library employees are in the business of recommending books on a daily basis. Also, don’t overlook that many retirement homes or senior citizen centers could benefit from your book as well. All donations are tax deductible either as charity or as a marketing expense. Ask your tax advisor for more information.

Sponsor a book club. There are thousands of book clubs all over the world that meet in person and online to read and discuss a specific book. Contact the leaders of these groups to suggest your book as the book of the month/week, donate it or offer to speak to the group personally for a question and answer session. Everyone loves to get a little “special attention” when they are involved in running or participating in a book group. These experiences give you an opportunity to form relationships with people that can become “super fans” and help grow your reputation while increasing awareness about your book.

These are just a few ways to increase awareness for you and your book. Most are fairly low cost but all involve forming relationships with people. You can download more marketing ideas free at http://www.entradapublishing.com/marketing_guide.html to get you started.

You can do this next step! Just take a few minutes to brainstorm your ideas and write them down, including the ones that you had while reading this article. Your book won’t sell itself. It need a little help from you – but don’t forget…YOU CAN DO it!

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Rachel Smith is the lead acquisitions editor and marketing manager at Entrada Publishing. She works with beta readers, editors and authors to get books into selling and award winning shape. She prides herself on having found two authors through beta reading for publication, holding their hand every step of the way and celebrating when they signed their first book deal contract. You can get help with all areas of book marketing, book reviews, beta reading, cover design and more at www.entradapublishing.com.

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Putting Your Writing Out There

Putting your writing out there: What are the benefits of sharing your writing and how can you do it?One of the scariest things I did in 2013 was to start my blog (Little Write Lies). I remember the day I decided to do it, when a friend and I met up for coffee.

“You should start a blog and put some of your stories up on it,” he said.
“Yeah, sure.” I nodded, but inwardly scoffed at the casual way he said this – like putting my writing up on the internet where ANYONE could see it wasn’t scary as all hell.
“No, really, you should,” he said.
I mulled it over, and despite the terrified part of me that was screaming “Don’t do it, you fool!”, I told him I would, and even set a launch date.

It’s been 10 months since the launch of my micro-fiction site and I couldn’t be more thankful that I pushed past that scared, insecure part of me and put my work out there for all of the internet to see.

To those who have never shared their work with anyone – or only with a good friend or a loved one – the idea of putting your writing on public display can be horrifying. If you’re like me, your writing is very close to your heart. It’s a piece of you. A bit of your soul went into that novel/short story/poem. What if people hate it? What if people think it’s boring or poorly written? Or what if nobody reads it? Ultimately, what if the rest of the world deems your writing – the thing you love – as a waste of time?

I understand that, for many, writing is just a hobby. Something done in one’s spare time and not ever meant to be shared or crafted. It’s an outlet. Maybe a source of entertainment. Nothing more. And that’s great! But many writers have dreams of large readerships and ambitions of being published. So for those of you who want something more from your writing, I urge you to push aside those fears and take a closer look at the many benefits of putting your writing out there.

Benefits of Putting Your Writing Out There

You’ll get feedback.
Putting your work out there, be it on the internet or in traditional publications, invites readers to provide their thoughts and feedback on your writing. Some of it will be reaffirming. Some of it will be critical. And some of it will be unnecessarily rude. Forget about the rude feedback for now (it comes into play when developing a thick skin – but more on that in a bit). The feedback, in my opinion, is the scariest thing about putting your writing out there. That’s where you learn what people think about your writing. It’s where you see how your work measures up to reader’s expectations. But that’s what makes it so rewarding. You’ll get outside perspective on your writing and realize what you can do better. Take everything with a grain of salt (and never forget to listen to your own opinions, too) and you’ll see your writing start to transform. Which leads me to my next point…

You’ll grow as a writer.
In addition to the feedback you’ll get, you’ll start to challenge yourself to write better. Writing regularly and with purpose helps get your writing to the next level. The more you write, the more you grow. And the more you write knowing that you want to produce something worthy of sharing with others, the harder you’ll push yourself to writer better.

You’ll grow as an editor.
Once you put your work out there, you start to find yourself editing and polishing pieces more so than you normally would. Because you KNOW people will be reading your work, you begin to learn how to look at your work a bit more objectively. You figure out how to identify which things should be cut, which sections need rewriting, and what areas need clarification or development. As a writer, it is valuable to be able to edit your own work – not to discount the importance of having others edit your writing – but  figuring out how to make a solid editing pass at your work allows you valuable insight into this huge part of the writing process.

You’ll develop a thick skin.
I’m not saying that people are going to hate your work and you’ll either have to rise above it all and get stronger or else crumble into a sobbing heap of failure. But sometimes people won’t love your stuff. In fact, if we’re looking at this on a global scale, the majority of people in the world won’t know about or care about your writing. And that’s okay. Knowing that your work can never be perfect – it will never be enjoyed by every single person who comes across it – frees you from the expectation that you need to write the perfect story. All you need to do is write the best story you can. Maintaining this mindset when you put your work out there will allow you to brush off those harsh criticisms that are inevitable. This resistance to negativity and ability to persevere is key when it comes to putting your work out there – especially if you want to publish your work on a large scale.

Different Ways to Put Your Work Out There
When I say you should put your work out there, I’m talking in very general terms. For some people, a blog or site is the perfect platform. But for others, a critique group is far more useful. It all comes down to what your goals are with writing. There are many different ways to get your writing out into the world and into the hands of readers. Here are just a few options.

Traditional Options
Literary magazines/blogs/publications (typically for shorter or serialized work)
Traditional publishing houses

Self-Publishing Options
Blogs and/or websites
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, etc.)
Self-publication through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.

Peer Options
Beta readers
Critique groups
Friends and family (especially voracious readers!)

I highly recommend tackling a few of these options. I post new work to my blog each week, plus I routinely submit to literary magazines and occasionally send my work to beta readers. I am also working on self-publishing a few things in the coming months. There are many ways to get your work out there. And the more routes you take, the more varied your feedback will be, and the more you’ll grow.

So put your work out there! Share your stories! And remember that, above all, it’s a learning experience. And it should be fun. Good luck and enjoy!

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What are your thoughts on putting your writing out into the world? Have you tried it? What have you learned? Leave us a comment below!