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Not Being One of Those Authors

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I was talking with Todd Gallowglas of the Genre Underground and he asked me how I advertise my books while not being annoying. The truth is, I’m sure if I’m being annoying or not. But I do know none of my friends have pulled me aside to say, “Uh, Jenn, enough with the selling.” So, I must be doing something right. Here are some of the things I do:

Use social media with a personal touch – Twitter, Facebook, blogging, LiveJournal, GoodReads, etc. Be a real person on the social media of your choice. By this I mean, be personable. Talk about other things going on in your life. Yes, talk about writing and your books. Don’t forget the links to where to buy them but, overall, social media is about being social, not selling.

Participate in social media opportunities – This could be a Twitter chat. Or a blog interview. Or GoodReads giveaway. When given the opportunity to talk about yourself and your work by someone else in a finite, limited way, do it. And then give the readers something more than “this book is awesome.” Tell them about how you made it awesome. Or how your cat’s antics gave you the idea. Or a tip about working to your full potential.

Engage your audience – This is where you listen to the people who follow you. You ask them questions. You challenge them to a flash fiction contest. You ask trivia questions with your books as prizes. Yes, prizes are important. People love free stuff and if they are following you, they probably are interested in you and your stuff. Also, they probably want to be heard by you. I once spent a good hour on twitter figuring out how long it would take the world to notice if every person in a single state up and died. That became the basis of a book I’m shopping around right now.

Use all of the tools at your disposal – There are so many tools out there to get word of your book out there: reviewers, contests, release notices to magazines and newspapers, free fiction linked to the book, talking to your local bookstores and coffee shops. Heck, your sig file on your email is free marketing space. Writing a regular blog column either on your own blog or another’s blog. There are ways to get the word out—both actively and passively—without being annoying about it.

Support your fellow creators – Note that I didn’t say “authors.” By creators I mean artists, jewelry makers, script writers, sculptors, authors, and anyone who creates something whose work you admire. Social media and getting the word out is not all about you. Talk about other people who inspire you and why. We are all in this together, making the world a better place one creation at a time. Anything anyone can make that inspires another to dream great dreams is a hero in my book and worthy of lauding.