A fellow Manitoba writer posted a statement on her social media not long ago that struck a chord with me. It said………
The publishing world, aside from the major houses, lacks the money to heavily promote books. Authors have no choice but to do it themselves if they want their work to succeed. So when you see an author constantly mention their book, that’s why. It’s not vanity.
Some of you may wonder why I talk about my novel Lost on the Prairie so often on this blog and on my social media, but the quote above explains it.
Every professional writing organization I belong to regularly has workshops and presentations about how to promote your book. It is something that is just expected of published authors these days and the pandemic has made it even more vital. Lately many of the publishing houses where I have submitted my work have asked that I include a marketing plan with my manuscript. They want to know how I plan to help sell a book before they decide whether or not to publish it.
Some authors bemoan this state of affairs. They want to spend their time writing not Twittering and Facebooking and Instagramming. But there is really no way around it. Unless you are a famous author signed with a big publishing house you need to work at widening your circle of contacts, ideally have a website and possibly a newsletter, and establish an interesting social media presence. Of course, writing a good book is still of prime importance but people have to hear about it and that may be largely up to you.
I have resigned myself to the fact that I need to spend a great deal of time this summer promoting my book and that will continue into the fall if the pandemic lifts and I can start accepting many of the invitations I have been receiving to go and talk to different groups about Lost on the Prairie. I do have two other novels on the go and would love to be working on them, but right now there isn’t much time for that.
None of this is to say that the marketing manager at my publisher Heritage House Monica Miller isn’t doing a fantastic job! She arranged for my launch with McNally Robinson Booksellers and she convinced CTV to interview me on their morning show. Her persistence resulted in Free Press writer John Longhurst writing a story about my book. Monica is constantly doing posts on social media about Lost on the Prairie and is promoting my book in all sorts of other ways. But she and my publisher Heritage House are counting on me to do my part too.
I just hope as I work hard to give my novel exposure people aren’t thinking I’m too vain or pushy as my fellow Manitoba writer alluded to in the quote that opens this post.
Kevin Sylvester is a well-known Canadian children’s author with more than 30 books to his credit. In a recent tweet, Kevin was asking people to buy his latest book, and he said…
“It can sometimes seem weird to see an author plug their own work, but gosh darn it, this business is hard. And our books mean the world to us.”