As a writer, one of the best marketing tools you can use is yourself. Self-promotion might be out of character for you but talking about your book gets it into the hands of readers. I’m not comfortable endorsing my own stories but who else knows my books as well as I do?
Self-promotion is hard for most of us. However, some people do excel in this area. In 2009, I met a writer in Vernon who went door to door selling his books. He sold 500 copies in a couple of weeks by asking people to buy his novel. Also pre-pandemic, I met author Chuck Shipley at the Millarville Christmas Market. He’s written several books about his time as a wildlife warden in Alberta. Chuck regularly rented booths at festivals and markets and sat there, talking about his stories and thus, selling his books.
Last week, I was visiting my family home in Nova Scotia. The day before I left, I thought, “Why not send a message to the newspaper in the area and ask if the editor would be interested in a story about… my books?”
So, I sent a message over Facebook to the paper that covers the area where I’m from, the Kings County Advertiser and Register. I told the editor that I’m a writer living in Edmonton but that I’m from the Annapolis Valley.
“I’m wondering if the paper does interviews with authors?” I queried.
I included the dates I was home and times when someone could talk to me. I also mentioned that I used to write a bi-weekly column for the paper many years ago about my life in South Korea as well as The Gambia, West Africa. Also, I had freelanced articles for The Advertiser from Ultimate Frisbee in the Valley, to what was going on at the municipal airport in Waterville.
It was a shot in the dark but my Facebook pitch was forwarded to a reporter, Kirk Starratt, who called me. We arranged a time and a meeting place, the County Fair Mall in New Minas. I was going to be dropping books off at the Coles, the local bookstore, in the morning.
Kirk and I met that sunny Wednesday at the mall. We sat on the bench outside and chatted about the Annapolis Valley, the state of the media today, my books and writing. Then, the reporter took my photo at the bookstore. I wasn’t uncomfortable at any time in the conversation while sharing aspects of my book as well as the writing process. In fact, I took the opportunity to encourage other authors to take the plunge into indie-publishing (independent publishing).
Nowadays, writers can’t simply write a book and expect it to sell without a little bit of push from the author. That’s you. Get out of your comfort zone and start talking about your story and why you wrote it and what it means to you. Don’t be shy about asking your local newspaper or a book podcast for an interview. Someone could read or hear it and want to read your book.