by Nann Dunne
We hear constant advice to push, push,
push our book titles if we want sales toincrease. Letís face it, the author bears most of the
responsibility for promoting his or her books. But how do we do
that? Some suggest book signings, attendance at conventions,
approaching bookstores, etc., and all of these have some merit. But
thereís another way to achieve promotion that doesnít receive as
much notice: instead of promoting your books, promote your name.
Many companies spend huge amounts of money for the express
purpose of name recognition. They know people buy what they are most
familiar with, and as long as the products are satisfactory, the
customer will come back again and again. In this way, familiarity
with the name breeds trust in the product and vice versa. So, how
can an author trade on this tendency? By building a reputation as a
knowledgeable writer/reviewer/editor for instance, so that his or
her name becomes known and recognized in as many circles as
With such easy access to the Internet, opportunities abound for
the enterprising author to achieve name recognition. They all take
time, and some take more effort or talent than others. Here are a
few that come to mind:
1. Establish your own web site and tout yourself and your books
there. If your ISP doesnít offer free web hosting, just type "free
hosting" into Google.com and start looking. (Be aware that most free
hosts will put ads or banners on your site, which can be
distracting.) There are also some really reasonable hosts that will
allow you to have your own domain for an extra charge. Explore the
offerings thoroughly, then build your own site or find a friend who
can build one for you.
2. Offer site visitors signed book plates and bookmarks if you
3. Buy some books in your genre and
write reviews for them that can be posted on bookseller sites
like Amazon. This takes time, because you need to read the book. But if itís
one you would like to read anyway, make use of this opportunity to
get your name seen by other readers in that genre.
Once you establish a reputation as a reviewer, it may be possible to
solicit free books from authors with the express intention of
providing a review.
4. Join lists, on Yahoo.com or SmartGroups.com, for example, that
have some connection with reading or writing. Participate! Many
groups are happy to have published authors as their members, and
some even provide feedback for you.
5. Visit sites of writers that you know or admire and sign their
guestbook if they have one. Drop them an email with some encouraging
words and invite them to visit your site and sign your guestbook.
6. Find web sites, preferably in your genre, that post author
interviews and ask permission to send them yours for posting.
7. Find organizations of writers that are a good fit for you and
8. Compose original articles about various phases of the writing
craft, and submit them to ezines and newsletters that appeal to
writers. Establish yourself as an expert in the craft.
9. Investigate bulletin boards related to writing. Lurk for a
while to get a feel for their style, then post to a few. Ads are not
allowed, but they do let you include a signature box below your
10. ALWAYS answer fan mail.
You might be able to find other ways to publicize yourself
online. Whatever you think might help, give it a try. When people
know your name, they are more likely to buy your book(s).
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