Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hey, Look At Me!

I had an epiphany this morning. Contrary to any prior beliefs I may have entertained, I'm NOT the only writer in the world. In fact, I determined that there are somewhere close to ten billion others who have made the leap into the literary realm in one way or another.

Okay--so maybe ten billion is stretching it a little. But, I do know there are quite a few.

Ever-changing trends in the publishing industry are making it easier for authors to get their works into print causing those numbers to grow daily. Given this knowledge, how does one stand out in the crowd? What can a new author do to get noticed? Here are just a few tips to help you answer those questions:

1) Produce a quality product. By "quality" I mean everything from polished, carefully edited text to a catchy title and exquisite cover. Don't rely on your own abilities to catch manuscript errors, and stay away from cover templates. If your publisher doesn't offer these services automatically and your budget will allow for it, consider hiring professionals to help you proofread and custom design your book's appearance. If money is a factor, network to find people with some expertise in these areas.

2) Talk it up. Don't be afraid to tell people what you do and what you have to offer. Opportunities for networking are everywhere. I have become very skilled in bringing the words, "I'm an author" into virtually every conversation and situation. You never know when you will make a helpful connection! Remember the "3-foot rule"--everyone within three feet of you at any time should know what you do.

3)Find your niche market. What is your book about? Is there a specific audience that would benefit from its message? I write moral and tasteful fictional romance, and while there are men who have enjoyed my work, my actual target audience is women aged 15 and up. I have found success in speaking to church women's groups, ladies organizations, book clubs, and Christian-based groups. Take your work straight to those who will appreciate it most.

4) Advertise yourself. It's easy to talk about your work, but who are YOU? Believe it or not, there are many times when people are more interested in the author's story than the story the author has written. I can stand all day and tell a prospective reader what my books are about, but I find that when I share HOW the books came about, i.e, my personal story, I sell more of them. If someone likes, trusts, and values you as a person, they will naturally be drawn to what you've written.

5) Don't let them forget you. Seize every opportunity to promote yourself and your work, whether it's a simple book signing event, an appearance with a local group, or being a keynote speaker at a writer's conference. Seek out interviews with local media, volunteer to do readings at schools or assisted living communities (depending on the genre and age group of your book). Host a "Meet the Author" event at your local library. Even if you are far from finishing the next manuscript, keep your name and face out there promoting what you currently have to offer. It will only build anticipation for your future works.

What other tips do you have to offer new authors? What has worked for you? Please share!


  1. Debbie, this is an EXCELLENT post. You're already getting the hang of this blogging thing. The tip format where you bold and number your tips works GREAT for blogs. people want fast & quick info, and you did it, and you were really helpful. Good job. Good reminder about the "elevator pitch," too!

  2. You are so right, but be careful of the dreaded overkill. As a writer, you're right, you should seize ever opportunity to get your name out there, but you also have to watch that you aren't turning people away. Think of it this way: if you have a friend who talks about a book, you'll find you want to look into it, but if that same friend talks so much about the book and buy, buy, buy, then you may think otherwise.

    But IMHO, I think you have a great balance of hey, here's my book and hey, let chat about the weather. Yanno?

    I can't wait for the next book. Keep up the good work.

  3. Thanks, ladies! Yes, Kris, I am finally getting the hang of this, and it's fun! Wendi, you are right--being confident and outgoing about your work is one thing, being downright pushy is another. Of course, we always want people to buy our books, but I think it's better as you said to tell them about it and let them decide for themselves. Thank you both for your comments and support!