While the actual writing is certainly an essential part of being a writer, so is the marketing and promotion of your work. How are readers going to know about your masterpiece if they don't know it exists?
Readers don't have ESP, you know. They don't receive telekinetic messages from our publishers when our books hit the stands. Which means it's up to us to inform them about our newest release.
Here are some ways that you can help promote your work, 24/7/365:
- Help market and promote the books of other writers. We all have different circles of friends, family, acquaintances, business associates, fans, etc. By promoting other writers, we broaden our contact base and, as a result, our fan base. Host a blog, seek out blogs where you can post articles or announcements, join writer's groups and their listserves, join as many online writer's sites that allow you to post information about you and your books/works.
- Print up postcards or bookmarks to marketing/advertise your work and pass them out to the following people (some of whom you can recruit to pass them out to people THEY know): friends, family, co-workers, employees, clients/customers, bank tellers, grocery store clerks, your kids' teachers, member of civic groups, people at the gym, public bulletin boards, total strangers. (I've found postcards to be less costly. If you want a referral to an online site that prints quality material inexpensively, send me an e-mail.)
- Have nice business cards printed on quality cardstock. Pass those around to people as stated in the previous paragraph. If you take yourself seriously, and as a professional, others are likely to, as well.
- Contact local bookstore owners and offer to do book signings and/or readings.
- Contact local radio and TV stations and offer to give away signed copies of your books in exchange for brief free air-time.
- Offer to give writing workshops at local libraries, schools, bookstores, etc.
One thing I've learned, which still amazes me: people are thrilled to know published authors! They love the fact that they KNOW a published author and love, even more, TELLING OTHER PEOPLE that they know a published author. Take advantage of that love and allow those people to help you.
Be sure, however, to thank EVERYONE who helps you along the way. Although it's possible to write a book all by yourself, it isn't possible to market it all by yourself.