Monday, April 17, 2017

Making Your Book Stand Out

Q: With thousands of new titles being published every day, what do you do to try to raise your new book above the fray and catch the eye of readers?

- from Susan

A: Anything and everything as long as it isn’t annoying, offensive, or negative.

Shameless promotion: my granddaughter displaying my previous book in 2016.

Really, I have no expert advice or magic tricks and I’m not sure who has them. This question has come up in one form or another before, and I’m no wiser now than when I first answered it.

1. Write the very best – the very best – book you can, not thinking about what will sell but being deeply engaged with your characters and the story.

2. Find a publisher – and this isn’t easy, I know – who “gets” what you’re trying to say and loves the manuscript. Negotiate, push, do what you have to because if the publisher isn’t actively rooting for your success, getting the book into bookstores and online, it’s hard to make it happen on your own.

3. Let your Facebook and Twitter followers feel your genuine excitement about the book, share interesting bits about the setting, the plot, characteristics of your cast, but don’t just post verbiage – make it count. Don’t overdo it. And never, never post your book news in all caps. Side note: I created a Pinterest page for my French village mystery and to my surprise a fair number of people are ‘grabbing’ and re-posting my images.

4. Related to that, think carefully about newsletters and e-blasts. I just did one email – the only one I will do – to let people know about my launch party for Love & Death in Burgundy. (May 13 at 4 o’clock – you’re invited if you live anywhere near Book Passage in Corte Madera CA.) 
Shameless promotion: my new book, the first in my French Village mysteries.

I read a few newsletters from fellow authors because I know I will only hear from them 2-3 times a year and they make sure there’s interesting material in their newsletters. Jane Cleland and Tim Hallinan are two such smart authors.

5. Say “yes” to every invitation you can to talk with readers and writers. If you’re face-to-face with people, you’ll be able to focus on what they really want to know about you and your book. If you treat them like friends, they are likely to become friends and will happily promote your books to others.

I’m sure there’s more and better advice my fellow Minds will post this week. If you’re a reader and want to chime in, please do. We’d all like to hear what gets your attention in this sea of new books every year.


Paul D. Marks said...

All good points, Susan. And sometimes I know I feel like I'm more of a PR person than a writer, at least it seems that way. But we have to get the word out.

Kristopher said...

All great advice, Susan. Good luck with the upcoming launch. See you at Malice!

catriona said...

I'm never sure about newsletters. I get some but I don't read them. But then I'm not a typical reader (on account of also being a writer) and I don't write one. I'd be really interested to here what other readers think.

Susan C Shea said...

Paul, I know what you mean, but if we don't do some PR, who else will? I vote for quality over quantity!

Thanks, Kristopher and please say hi at Malice!

Catriona, I share your uncertainty. I haven't done one so far because they do take time even though I'm not as genius as you are in producing books.

RJ Harlick said...

I agree with the others, Susan. All valuable methods. I'm interested to see that you got somewhere from Pinterest. I've never tried it, so might give it a go for my upcoming book.

Susan C Shea said...

RJ, I'm not sure where I got, LOL, only that pictures of la belle France do get attention. I need to find an image of my own book online, I guess, to add that image.