Creative Ways to Promote Your Novel
Publishing a novel is a huge accomplishment. Not only does it mean you had the tenacity to stick with it, writing and rewriting until you had something worth reading, but it means you also managed to catch the eye of a publisher. Of course, there is also the self-publishing route, which makes getting your novel out there in the public eye easier than ever.
The problem is that there are so many books flooding the market every single day that it can be really difficult for readers to find you. Even if you've managed to craft a fantastic story, you are still competing with countless other novels for attention.
A little creative promotion can help. Of course, there are the standard forms of promotion, such as a personal website and social media, but sometimes you need to think outside the box. With that in mind, here are a few creative promotions that have worked for me.
A writing workshop is a great way to garner some local attention. Contact local schools and see if they would be interested in having a published writer come in and spend the day "talking shop" with English classes. While there, you can share some creative writing techniques with students, brainstorm story ideas, and share advice on getting published. If you coordinate with the teachers, you can even time your workshop to coincide with a big project they are working on.
Your contact with local schools will be most effective if you've written young adult, middle grade, or children's novels. In that case, you can also talk about your novel a little bit, and the school library might even buy a couple of copies. Some schools will pay to bring in a published author, so don't be afraid to ask for a little reimbursement for travel expenses. Just make sure the school gets its money's worth by providing solid, meaningful content.
Contact local libraries to see if they would be interested in a book reading or an author talk as part of a literacy event. This could include you reading sample chapters, as well as discussing the challenges of writing and getting published. Sometimes libraries have events promoting regional authors. If not, suggest it. Inviting authors from all over the area is a great way to promote yourself, network with other writers, and meet and mingle with readers in your area.
Make Connections with Important People
Sometimes, friends in high places can make a huge impact on your visibility. Although nobody likes bothering people, you never know what connections might be out there. For example, I sent a copy of my first novel to a university professor who also conducts an annual conference for English teachers. He just happened to pick up the book and read it, and he liked it so much, he promoted it at his conference.
Try to be polite and don't spam people or harass them with constant messages. Instead, just consider sending a copy of your book to a few key people in the area and see what happens. It's a bit of a gamble, but if you win that gamble, it can really pay off. University professors, literacy program staff, media people, you just never know who might help.
Local Can Lead to National
If you can gain some local or regional attention, it might very well lead to sales and promotions that produce national or even international success. It requires creativity and boldness, but if you don't believe in yourself and your own writing, nobody else will.