You have spent hours upon hours writing and rewriting your book to make sure that every single sentence reads exactly the way you want it. You added chapters and deleted some chapters. You drank more coffee than can possibly be healthy for a single human being — and now it’s finally done. You have it printed, bound, published, and you’ve even put it into MOBI and uploaded it to Amazon. Whew.
So the hard work is over right? I mean … right? Well, not quite.
It’s a common, sad fact that the book you’ve poured your sweat, time, and tears into might never get into the hands of those who might want to read it the very most.
Often, this has little to do with quality of the work. So if you’re facing a similar problem — a published book with too few readers — don’t you dare place the blame on your talent. If you’ve been workshopping, getting second and third opinions, and making a truly dedicated effort to bring your work to life, don’t for a second think that you don’t have what it takes.
Author Self-Promotion Woes?
Most often a lack of readership has almost nothing to do with a lack of talent, but a whole lot to do with a lack of self-promotion. The only way for people to want your book is for them to know about it first. Makes sense, right? Talent isn’t what’s stopping you — it’s a lack of concerted, focused, and consistent marketing.
Self-promotional marketing doesn’t even have to be expensive, nor does it have to be soul-suckingly icky. You can use several methods to get your name out there like blogging, guest-blogging, writing press releases, social media, and in-person networking.
There’s another powerful, free service out there that I’ve seen work wonders; however, it’s usually completely overlooked. That’s why when people ask my opinion, I almost always recommend that authors take advantage of HARO – Help A Reporter Out.
HARO is a social networking tool that connects news sources — that’s you — with reporters and media outlets that need some expertise, opinions or quotes. The service sends out emails three times a day with requests from news or entertainment agencies. If you have knowledge regarding a subject, you can email the reporter back with your story (and, of course a few mentions of your book).
This may sound like something appropriate only for nonfiction writers, but I’ve seen romance authors land interviews as ‘love experts’. The opportunities are out there for everyone.
Some tips for authors using HARO for the first time:
- Don’t get overwhelmed. The lists emailed are expansive and cover a range of subjects. Look at the requests that you know apply to your knowledge base. Be creative.
- Writers are in a hurry, so don’t ask them to call you. Give them what they ask for in the email whether it be a quote or expertise on a subject — right up front. Include your contact information in case they want to follow up, but don’t expect a call.
- Include a bio about you along with a link to your book(s).
- Keep answering their requests even when they don’t pick your answer. Like most things, persistence pays off.
- If they do use your answer, link to it from your page and share the heck out of it.
If you use these tips and follow the rules that HARO gives (like no spamming), you will be that much closer to reaching a broader audience.