Writing a book is one thing, the publication process is another but the promotion of the book, once published, is something else altogether and is rarely considered by the first time author. I can only comment on my own efforts in this direction but there are many books on the subject already available.
In my case I just wrote the book I wanted to write - Our Best Attention. Simples! However, after the first efforts of publication (thank you Comely Bank Publishing) and the euphoria of the book launch (thank you Blackwell’s bookshop) it was time to develop a clear book promotion strategy. I felt that it was a matter of matching the book to its potential readership and working out how to bring it to their attention.
This is what I did:
• Analysed my book. Who might enjoy it?
• Worked out where this potential readership might be best located
• Worked out how best to connect with this potential readership
• Analysed which of my own personal skills were most likely to facilitate this connection
• Made the connection.
As my book is based in the 1970s, more than 40 years ago, the potential readership is older adults. Given that it’s about the activities of a large department store, it seemed likely to be of most interest to older ladies, either previous customers of such a shop or former staff members.
Many older ladies enjoy membership of a variety of ladies associations of various types e.g. Women’s Institutes, church group and book groups, for example.
Personally, I have many years’ experience of public speaking and facilitating interaction among groups. I decided that the best way to make the connection with this readership was by direct targeting of ladies groups and offering to provide a talk to their members about me, my book and the old department stores.
This seems to have been a successful way ahead. Once I had carried out a few events at these groups, I began to be directly approached to talk at other groups. Word of mouth has been effective and I now have bookings up until January 2017 and many requests from groups for return visits to tell them about Book 2.
Apart from anything else, I really enjoy talking to these ladies and I think this transmits. We've had great fun talking about the department stores of old and sharing memories. I've met some lovely people and I've heard some terrific stories from previous staff members. It’s not all about the sales for me. All I wanted was an interesting activity and I certainly found it, quite unexpectedly, in promoting my book. I just wanted to inspire people to read it.
Other writers might find this a useful way ahead but it’s crucial for them to analyse their likely readership and target them in an appropriately individualistic way. The internet may be the way ahead for most but I really enjoy doing it my way!
Jane Tulloch is the author of Our Best Attention. Set in a fictional department store in the 1970s, the book tells the stories of staff and customers (including one very special VIP). You can buy the book here.