Gaining publicity for a novel

TOP TIPS: Ten ways to gain publicity for your book …

So you’ve written your book – and self-published it. Gaining publicity for a novelNow what? Getting a book known enough so people know it exists can prove to be the biggest hurdle of all. Here, we give you ten ways to get your book out there…

1. Announce your book with a press release.

If you have published your book with a big mainstream publisher, this is likely to be one of the first ways they announce your book. Google free and paid for companies that will send a press release out. Don’t forget to make your press release interesting by making you, the author, memorable. Too many authors fail to give information about themselves but this is a mistake. If you are a mum of three say so, if your book is based on your own personal experience say so – even saying ‘Secretary publishes first novel’ will make someone read on.

2. Hold a launch party

You might not be able to afford a party in a top London restaurant attended by celebrities. But even a small party at your local toddler group to celebrate your launch will help spread the word.

3. Get local publicity

Many people are so focused on getting a review in a national newspaper that they forget about the local press. Write a special press release, focusing on the fact you live in the area (which is what makes it interesting for them) and send it to all the local papers, magazines, radio and TV stations in your area. Always include a photo of yourself, preferably with book in hand and your contact details. This will enable anyone to simply publish your press release complete with your photo without even talking to you.

4. Approach your local bookshop and library

Even big chains are often very supportive of a local author. Ring up the manager, send him or her a copy of your novel and your special local press release. Offer to do a book signing in the store.

5. Use social media.

A website to promote your book can cost nothing – you can set up a blog free using A diary about your journey from pitch to publication can make a fascinating blog and gain followers as you write. If you link this to your Twitter and Facebook account, you are immediately publicising your book. When it’s published, consider investing in a small website to promote and sell your book – perhaps as an e-book where people can instantly download your novel onto their computer.

6. Sell your own real life story.

This is the fastest and easiest way to gain major publicity. I have helped many authors gain recognition and even to gain a plug of their book in a national newspaper by selling their story – but you do need to have a story to tell. Your real life story doesn’t need to be connected hugely with your book. For example, if your divorce gave you the impetus to write a book, this might form the basis of an article for a women’s magazine.

7. Become a speaker.

Local groups are often interested in having an after dinner speaker. A witty account of how you overcame writer’s block to pen your novel, a story about the ups and downs of getting published or again, the story behind writing your book – all these things make good after dinner talks for local charity groups. Again, you are spreading the word – and don’t forget to take a few copies with you to sell.

8. Leave business cards

Leaving a business card in a hotels and restaurants, perhaps in the rooms if the manager is happy (and perhaps for a small price) can direct people to your website where perhaps they can download your novel. If someone is away on business and has a few hours to spend, they might well decide to spend it reading your book…

9. Send it out to review for journalists, papers and magazines

I have purposely not put this too high up as it is the route so many authors go without much success. While approaching a few well-chosen editors or journalists who are known to review your genre of book is worth doing, mass mailing books to national papers, magazines and TV can not only prove to be incredibly expensive but there is no guarantee your book will be picked up. Unless you are already a known author, a piece in your local paper might well prove more beneficial – and it might also be picked up by a local journalist or agency in your area.

10. Offer to write on blogs and writing websites

Get your story out there by offering for free to write a piece about you and your book. If you manage to gain publicity on a popular blog for example, it might be picked up by a national journalist to review. And if you can gain a link to your website where people can buy your book, it could well take off.

* Sell Your Story UK is about to launch a new facility to help authors gain publicity and sell their books – meanwhile, if you have written a non-fiction book or a novel and had it published, we would love to hear about it – tell us about your book here: My book.

You might also like: Writing a Press Release

And: Five ways to create a buzz

Media agent Written by Publicist and Media Agent Alison Smith-Squire.

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Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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