I recently attended the annual ASJA Writers Conference (http://www.asja.org/for-writers/annual-conference/2014/) to learn more about publicizing my novel that is coming out in November. The conference was held in the lovely Roosevelt hotel on East 45th Street. It was well attended by writers of all kinds. Many of them wrote non-fiction, but there were several novelists like myself. The conference was three days, and offered numerous seminars and panels including a pitch session with agents and publishers. I recommend this conference if you are looking for either one of those team members, and to get the latest in information.
Although I have a deal with a solid boutique house, Koehler Books, like all first time novelists, I am expected to spearhead my own publicity campaign. In the past, this part of the process – getting a book before the public – was the publisher’s job, but now it falls largely to the writer. Mercifully, the publisher still handles preparation, production and design of the physical paperback and e-book, distribution and sales.
What I learned from the terrific speakers and panelists was the following:
1. A writer needs to look at the various publicity outlets available and hire people who have a specialty. There are a couple of companies that do more than one thing, but personally I have had to accept that I will be actively managing my own campaign and creating my own content in the form of blogs and articles.
2. Traditional Media is alive and kicking in the form of book reviews and articles.
3. Radio remains a powerful tool for getting the word out.
4. You must use your website as the central meeting place for all of your media, so make sure it’s an effective one.
5. Amazon is the new place to publicize via reviews etc. This is a sub-specialty and not easy to find experts at reasonable prices.
6. The on-line community of book sites is vast and again, requires careful navigation and guidance.
7. You must look at your novel and imagine it is a how-to book: what will the reader “learn” from reading it. In my novel, The Book of Zev, two people who are troubled by issues of personal faith and their life’s purpose are thrown into an adventure that forces each of them take a stand, and most importantly, redeem themselves in their own eyes.
8. Most important: You are the only one who can know what’s best. Listen to the advice of experts but make your own choices!
Here’s to your successful and happy writing!