I have a friend who talks about “shameless self-promotion.” She thinks it’s a great thing, and something that most of us just don’t do enough. Most authors I know are afraid to promote their books. Why? I think it is because our books are very personal to us. They are our babies. And promoting our books, not to mention ourselves, feels just a little cheap.
It’s exactly what our parents and teachers told us never to do. “Don’t brag about yourself, dear. It isn’t polite.”
Every time we start to tell someone about our book, hand out a bookmark or business card, send out a press release or do anything else that even hints at “bragging about ourselves,” that little voice whispers in our ear and stops us.
But if you don’t tell people about your book, how will they know to buy it? That’s why I’ve come up with the phrase, “Self-Promotion with Heart.”
What does putting your heart in your promotion mean? It means opening up and letting people see who you are. It means understanding that true self-promotion includes helping others.
The steps that are needed to promote a book, sell a seminar, or get a new client are pretty much the same for all of us, no matter in what business we are in or in what genre we write. But make sure your book promotion doesn’t feel “heartless,” as if you were just following a formula. Here are some suggestions for how to add your heart to your book promotion basics.
1. Write a great book. If you believe your book is wonderful, it will help give you the confidence to promote it. Give it to your friends for feedback, but don’t stop there. Hire an editor to go over the book with you – then rewrite it. Make sure that whether your book is a novel, a memoir or a business book it reflects who you are. If you haven’t put yourself – your heart – in your book it will never really be great.
2. Start a blog. Write about the process of writing your book as well as about the subject matter. Post to your blog weekly and use Twitter to promote your posts. Include a link to purchase your book at the end of each blog post. Here’s where we combine that shameless self-promotion with heart. Yes, frequently telling people where to buy your book and providing an easy-to-click link to enable them to purchase it could be called shameless. Making sure that your blog is filled with useful, inspirational information that is a genuine help to others is adding the heart.
3. Create a Media Kit. Make sure it includes your contact information, a jpeg of your book, a head shot by a professional photographer. DO NOT use a photograph taken by a friend with a camera phone. This is the time to invest in yourself and your book, not the time to pinch a penny. A short bio of you is where you add the heart. Your bio is not a job resume. It is a well-written 150 words explaining to why you are uniquely qualified to have written your book. Your media kit should also include a single sheet with a one-page description of the book. Include any testimonials or great reviews that you have received.
4. Create a Book Pitch. You must become comfortable with telling people about your book. Create 10 second, 30 second and 60 second “pitches” for your book. That way, if you give the 10-second version and your listener says, “Tell me more,” you’ll have more ready. Practice your pitches on friends until they tell you that they work. Your goal isn’t to bore someone with all the details of your book, it is to engage your listener by being genuine; by showing them your heart so that they want to read your book.
5. Get Book Reviews. Don’t wait for your friends, or strangers, to post online reviews of your book. ASK for them. Send reviewers a PDF of your book before it is completed and ask for a review that you can print on the back cover or inside front page. Don’t be afraid to ask a “big name” for a few sentences about your book. What’s the worst that can happen? They can say no and you are no worse off than your were before. Make your request friendly and personal. If you’ve met the person, remind them of where and when. If you don’t know them, explain why you would like them to review your book. Once the book is written, send the book to reviewers and book bloggers as well as friends and family asking for reviews on Amazon.
6. Think Positively About Book – and Self – Promotion. Don’t look at promoting your book as a necessary evil. Instead, develop a positive attitude. If you believe in your book you know that it can help others. Yes, even fiction is inspirational. If you feel embarrassed or shy about promoting your book others will notice. Your discomfort will discourage them from buying your book. The reverse is also true. If you feel great about promoting your book you will make others want to read it.
And that, my friends, is bringing your heart to the art of self-promotion.