Saturday, April 17, 2010

your book is published; now how to promote it?

If a book is going to sell, it needs to be promoted. Some publishers do a lot of promotion for books they publish. Others do little beyond putting the books in their catalogs. In either case it's helpful for authors to do what they can to promote their own books. You can promote in ways that suit your personality. Play to your strengths. Here are ten promotion methods that come to mind:

1. Speaking in public.

2. Doing interviews.

3. Schmoozing with people at conferences, talking up your book and selling copies if the opportunity presents itself.

4. Having a web site and or blog in which you discuss topics that relate to your book. People start reading because they are interested in those topics. Hopefully they then take the next step and buy your book.

5. Writing newspaper and magazine articles on topics that relate to your book. Hopefully the same thing happens as above.

6. Asking suitable friends and acquaintances to write reviews of your book and get them published online and or in print periodicals. 

7. Belonging to online and or face-to-face writers' groups. In such groups you're likely to make friends who would be glad to write reviews for you and talk your books up. [The idea would be that you would do the same for them.] One of the best things about belonging to online groups is that you make contact with people from different parts of our country as well as other countries. They can talk your book up where they live.

8. Having bookmarks made and distributing them in various ways.

9. Entering your book in contests for published books. If you win a contest or even get an honorable mention, it's great promotion for you.

10. Teaching an online or correspondence course about some topic that relates to your book, or teaching a course about aspects of writing. Some of your students would probably be interested in buying the book.


Monday, April 5, 2010

novel reading & writing as per Labonté, Weir, Schroeder, & Galloway

Looking for exciting new Canadian novels to read? Have questions about writing and marketing your novel? I recently attended a workshop addressing those interests. The workshop, held at the university in Kamloops, BC, featured:

- Chris Labonté, associate publisher and acquiring editor, Douglas & McIntyre of Vancouver and Toronto

- Ian Weir, whose novel DANIEL O'THUNDER is a "rollicking, comic, and ultimately haunting tale of fist-fighting, faith, and fine madness" set in 1800s England and British Columbia

- Adam Lewis Schroeder, whose novel IN THE FABLED EAST is about a young widow who in 1909 flees to French Indochina seeking a fabled spring of immortality. She disappears and in 1936 an academic goes looking for her—with surprising results.

- Steven Galloway, whose novel THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO features "three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted in their midst." It's set during the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s.

Editor Labonté provided excellent pointers for authors seeking publication. Among them:

- Get feedback from others on your writing. Revise as appropriate, but don't forget it's your story. You call the shots. Write the novel you'd like to read.

- You can develop a writing profile for yourself by trying to get short stories and/or novel chapters published in small literary magazines such as THE MALAHAT REVIEW, THE ANTIGONISH REVIEW, and PRAIRIE FIRE.

- The Association of Canadian Publishers provides a wealth of information on its web site,

- There are several routes to getting published. You can try: querying a publisher directly, getting a referral from a published author, and finding an agent to represent you. The process can be frustrating, almost akin to trying to win the lottery. But to win you need a ticket, which is your novel, written and revised so it's the best you can possibly make it.

The three authors read from their novels, after which Mr. Labonté led a panel discussion. Some gems that emerged:

- To be a novelist, "you have to like sitting in a room by yourself living in an imaginary world."

- On writer's block: Get on with it whether the "vibe" feels right or not. People in other jobs don't have the luxury of not working when they don't feel like it. They get on with teaching math, collecting garbage, filling teeth—whatever they need to do.

- "In moments of crisis, we discover what we're made of."