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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

Almighty Internet: Your Novel’s Publicity

As a writer, your passions are probably directed largely toward, well, the writing of your book. Editing happens next, and then–hopefully!–publication. After all that, you would think that you could easily just sit back and relax while others read and discover your masterpiece as it magically appears on store shelves. Your work is done! Well, until you get started on your next book…. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Your role in your first novel will continue until long after it’s made available for the public. Whether you’ve decided to print and sell it yourself, or whether you were miraculously picked up by a big name press, your book’s publicity and subsequent fame ultimately rest on your shoulders.

It’s easy enough to understand if you’re self-publishing. Simply because your novel is available on Amazon doesn’t mean it will start selling–people have to know about it before they can look for it. Likewise, publishing companies seldom do a whole lot to promote their newest authors. It’s the more established and already semi-famous authors that they want to push out there. Either way, you have a lot to do if you want your book to be a success. Fortunately, it can be very easy to get the word out in this century: we have the Internet.

There are many different ways you could get the word out about your novel online, so let’s look at some of the easier (and cheaper) ways to get out there and get known.

1. Set up a website. Or a blog. Somewhere you can strut your stuff. Feature the book, write about it, offer a sample chapter for people to read online. Make it a big deal. Mention your inspirations and tell everyone why your book is the best new thing out there. It’s also a really good idea to look up some SEO tips. A few well-placed keywords can go a long way!

2. Social networks. Most people have Facebook, but make sure you’re also present on Twitter, Google Plus, and anything else you could use to get the word out. Make sure you check out the terms of service before posting too much about your book, though–some content sharing sites such as Reddit don’t like people posting links to their own stuff. And make sure you keep it personal, too. People like to know that this book was written by a real person and not a spambot!

3. Make it big. If you really want to go places, setting up a website and posting on Facebook about it probably won’t do the trick. Set up a whole Facebook page dedicated to it. Get a new Twitter account that’s just about the book instead of about you writing the book. Submit your site or blog to directories and other search engines. When I was first messing around with Internet publicity with an experimental short story blog, 101 Short Stories, I was surprised to find that a huge portion of my web traffic was coming from Russia because of a single Russian search engine I had submitted to. You never know who will be interested in your work, so make sure it gets out!

There are lots of ways to publicize your book offline as well–bumper stickers, book parties, or author signings; but I generally find it easier when starting out to focus on something that won’t take as much time or money to get going. Find out what strategy works best for you and your book, and you might be in for some pleasant surprises down the road!

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