Sunday, August 17, 2008

Guest Blogger, Donna Gephart: 12 3/4 Ways to Promote Your Novel

Thanks Mary and Robin for inviting me to be a guest blogger. 

Here’s an (almost) baker’s dozen of practically painless ways to promote your novel . . . 

1.  Create a signature line that will appear at the bottom of your e-mails with your book’s title, publisher and publication date.

2.   Have business cards made with your book’s title, brief description and contact information.  (I used Vista Print.)

3.  Give your business cards to everyone you can think of.  When I gave cards to the receptionists at my doctor’s office, I ended up signing three copies of my novel for their children and grandchildren at my next visit.

4.  Introduce yourself to local booksellers.  This can often lead to school visits, signings and them hand-selling your book.  Give them your business card so they can contact you.

5.  Write articles about writing or about something related to your novel.  For example, my article about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman who ran for president fifty years before women were even allowed to vote, will appear in New Moon Magazine this coming January.

6.  Contact specialty groups that have a connection to your novel.  For example, the main character in my novel is a Scrabble buff.  I also list Scrabble resources at the back of the book.  So I contacted educators who run Scrabble clubs at schools to let them know about my book, and received some very enthusiastic responses. 

7.  Contact your alumni magazine or have your publicity person contact them.  They will usually be happy to print something about you and your book in their magazine. 

8.  Get to know your local librarians. 

9.  Ditto with school media specialists, educators and administrators.  These are the people who will get your book into the hands of young readers. 

10.  Give.  Think about what you can offer schools, bookstores, editors, etc.  Can you write a how-to article?   Can you offer a presentation that will excite and inspire young people?  Can you do a short program that will bring business into a bookstore?  What can you give?

11.  See if you can put your book and a few business cards in places you frequent – the pediatrician’s office, the orthodontist’s office, the music studio where your child takes lessons, etc.

12.  Find out if your hometown newspaper would be interested in interviewing you.  Print media has far-reaching impact.  After the Palm Beach Post did a feature about me and my novel, I was invited to do a local TV interview, was told that my local bookstore sold tons of my book and the waiting list for my book at the local library grew to 30 patrons.

12 ¾.  Write the next book.

Remember, you’re not selling one book, you’re building a career.  And the best way to do that is to find a balance between promotion and writing (and life).

Donna Gephart’s novel, As If Being 12 ¾ Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! is available from Delacorte Press.  She’s also written an article for the 2009 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market titled:  “Six Reasons to Quit Writing (& One Reason You Shouldn’t).”  Learn more at Donna's website.

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A special note from Mary & Robin:  Thank you so much to those of you that entered a slogan for our most recent contest!  Congratulations to our first prize winner, Liquidambar  for her very funny entry, Introverts Unite!  LA will receive Priscilla Ahn's new CD!  Second place to Kimberly Lynn for The Package isn't Dancing, but the Contents Are!  Is that the best dance floor tee, or what?  Third place goes to Celise for Introversion is Not a Social Disease, which she discovered in our sidebar. Well done, Celise!  We should soon have some very fun SVP Cafe Press merchandise up for all of you out there soon.  Will the three of you please contact me here for your prizes?

Big thanks to Donna Gephart for her guest spot with us today!  Great tips! Number seven never occurred to me, geez-- and number ten just can't be said often enough.  Give.

And here's to all of you and the last, lingering days of your summer!

Mary Hershey


Anonymous said...

Great tips, Donna! I really enjoyed listening to your speech down in Miami at the SCBWI conference, too. Good luck with your book sales!

And yeah! I was second place?! First time being an introvert has worked in my favor. Grin. Congrats to Liquidambar and Celise. Your slogans were a riot!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Good post, Donna!
I like the slogans, too. Someday we should have a Shrinking Violets convention. One seat per table? ;-)

Kimbra Kasch said...

I am hoping that one day I will need to know this information. Thanks for sharing it.

R.L. LaFevers said...

Great tips, Donna! Thank you so much for being a guest blogger on SVP!

Wild About Words said...

Thank you everyone for the nice comments. And thanks so much, Robin and Mary. You rock!
Now . . . off to write that next book.
All best,