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Tips for writers 5


Promoting your writing (and yourself)

The fifth set of our pages of tips for writers

  1. There are many ways in which you can promote your work, some of which will be more appropriate for different kinds of work.
  2. These days social media offer a huge opportunity to publicise your book. Facebook and Twitter have been good places to publicise your work for some years, but it's increasingly important to think about BookTok, TikTok and Instragram as well. Even if social media don't come naturally to you, it's really worth giving them a go.
  3. More traditionally, readings can be an excellent way of promoting your work and hopefully selling it at the same time. Readings and performances are vital for poets but also helpful for a wide range of other kinds of writing.
  4. Festivals can be a good idea and local festivals in particular may be an effective way of reaching a local audience. There’s been a huge explosion in literary festivals over the last few years and it’s worth investigating whether there’s a festival or specialist event in which you could participate.
  5. Local bookshops can be enormously supportive of local authors, especially independent bookshops. If you are self-publishing they will be particularly important, and may even provide a large proportion of your sales, especially if the subject of your book is also of local interest.
  6. Can you write an article about your book or something relating to it and place this in a newspaper or magazine? Once again local media are most likely to be interested and local papers in particular are often short of material. They have been known to publish articles offered, especially with photographs, pretty much in their entirety. Make sure your article is succinct and attention-grabbing, and focuses on the story, rather than reading as a piece of selling copy for your book.
  7. Don’t forget the rest of the media. Could you talk about your book or offer yourself as a contributor on local radio or television? This may seem to be aiming high, but think carefully about what you have to offer and how to approach them.
  8. Have you explored all the web opportunities there might be for your book? Having a website of your own is the best way of going about this, but there are many other ways of promoting yourself online. It's well worth considering whether you could produce a blog and you need to seek out other writers and web communities to link into any network.
  9. It’s worth thinking about email lists, because if your book has a special interest market this may be a good way of reaching it. Of course you should put together your own email list as soon as you can and work at building this and sending out bulletins when you have something interesting to tell people.
  10. Have you ever given talks or lectures? Once again these work particularly well if your book is a non-fiction work which will appeal to a special interest group of some kind. Bear in mind that these might be anything from a local history group to the Women’s Institute, an after-dinner speech about your fascinating life or even a reading group focusing on fiction. Make sure you have books to sell afterwards.
  11. Don’t forget writers’ magazines, many of which are full of articles about writers’ own stories and which are always looking for new material.
  12. The same goes for writers’ websites, it really is worth exploring them fully and seeing if there’s a space for your work or for you to write something about it for one of them. If you have your own website then link it to as many of these sites as possible.
  13. Consider entering competitions, as this can be a good way of publicising your work. WritersServices list many of these in our Writing Opportunity series and there are many more to be found on the web. Our article on Entering Competitions will help you to make sure your entries have their best chance.
  14. Above all, turn yourself into your own publicity machine and never pass up an opportunity to talk about your book.

Marketing your book


The Marketing department – what it does from the Inside Publishing series

Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage.


Tips for Writers 1: Improving your writing
Tips for Writers 2: Learn on the job
Tips for Writers 3: New technology and the Internet
Tips for Writers 4: Self-publishing - is it for you?
Tips for Writers 5: Promoting your writing (and yourself)
Tips for Writers 6: Other kinds of writing
Tips for Writers 7: Keep up to date
Tips for Writers 8: Submission to publishers and agents