Author as publicist

Whether published by large or small publishers, writers are now expected to take an active role in helping to publicise their books.

Many writers these days have websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and are expected to build up a ‘following’. For writers, it can all become a bit distracting, as noted by Cate Kennedy in her essay, ‘Driven to Distraction’ where she says that ‘the last thing a writer needs is the clamoring, 24/7, caffeinated babble-fest that now beckons so seductively from the glowing screen’.

Here I am writing another blog post. I’m not sure if anyone reads it. Although the web statistics tell me there are visitors and the numbers are surprising. Who are these people?

Blog-writing is time-consuming and I wonder whether to keep it going or not. Maybe I’ve been a bit half-hearted about it and ought to get into it more. Though in reality it is taking precious time away from other ‘real’ writing. What to do?

Another reason some writers find this self-publicity thing daunting is that we may be quite introverted. We may pretend to be out-going but it’s all a façade and we would much prefer to be holed up in a cabin in the wilderness reading and writing than interacting with the world, digital and real. What is the ‘real world’ anyway?

Shy or not, we have an overwhelming desire for communication, or else we would not be writing. Cos I think, that’s what it’s all about really. For me, anyway.

Having said all that, I’ve lately heard a few clues and hints about publicity and promotion which I would like to share:

1. Champion other writers. I can’t express how much gratitude I feel toward Walter Mason, author of Destination Cambodia. Walter has so generously promoted my work in many ways, including on his website and Twitter, without being asked. Co-operation is the way to go – this is Walter’s philosophy. To support and promote others without expecting reciprocation. His fascinating blog is a feast of interviews and guest blogs with writers, as well as tips for promoting your work in the digital age. 

2. If you are a debut author, submit your book to ‘Friday Night Fictions’. This is an item on Kirsten Krauth’s blog, ‘Wild Colonial Girl’ – a great blog, well-worth checking out. Kirsten, author of the novel Just a Girl, decided to create a space for first-time authors to see and comment on each others’ work, a digital soiree. Click here for guidelines. 

3. Go regional! A key message at the recent NSW Writers’ Centre ‘Selling your book in the digital age symposium’ was that as an ‘emerging’ author you are more likely to get into festivals or events or attract audiences at readings in rural places than in the cities where author readings are far more frequent and commonplace.

4. Online community. Publishers can apparently be convinced by writers who already have a built-up online following. Some writers say to build up a “fan-base” long before you even release your book. Another message from the above symposium.

5. Social media. Begin with one thing, say Facebook, and become adept at it first, rather than trying everything at once. Follow authors you admire. Watch and learn from other writers who are good at this stuff.

6. Blog about your varied interests – this will bring readers to your website and create links to your book. Know your audience, be true to yourself.

Comments? Ideas on promoting and selling your book?

More hints here.

What self-marketing ideas can be applied to writers of literary fiction? Do literary fiction writers have ‘fan bases’? What can literary fiction writers do to promote and sell their work? See discussions below:

I am at a loss. Any more thoughts, ideas?

4 thoughts on “Author as publicist

  1. Walter Mason

    Dearest Jane – thanks so much for the lovely mention.
    I think that authors – especially in a literary scene as small as Australia’s – are all becoming aware that in supporting and promoting one another we help to strengthen and grow literary culture. I am constantly surprised by just how friendly, supportive and generous other writers are. It is nice to see.
    I always suggest Michael Hyatt’s book “Platform” – it really contains the most invaluable advice.

    1. Jane Skelton Post author

      Dear Walter – you are so inspiring. It’s important to keep a sense of perspective and remember we are small here. I will check out Michael Hyatt’s book, too.

  2. Christine Sun

    Hello Jane, Can I please say, you have seriously undermined the power of your words and the influence you have on other established and emerging authors. As long as you write, people will notice. I saw this article of yours via Walter Mason’s Tweet, but a curiosity to check it out led to a sense of awe and gratitude, as I find this article highly intelligent, informative and entertaining. Don’t give up! You don’t have to blog 24/7, but the occasional blog articles you publish here are truly worth reading. And I thank you for them. Best Wishes, Christine Sun.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *