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Promoting Your Writing

Updated on August 22, 2014

Naturally the most lucrative way to promote your writing is through publishing companies. Publishers have departments entirely devoted to marketing. Therefore, if you can get a publisher interested in your work, working with a publishing company is probably the most effective way to promote your writing.

Today's market for writing is highly competitive. First, you have a limited number of people who actually read that make up your market. Of those, they all have tastes of what they like to read, decreasing your potential audience still more. Add to that your competition. Should J-Lo decide to write a piece on the same subject as you, guess which piece the publisher is going to publish, and which author a literary agent is most likely to want to represent?

Given all that, the situation is still not hopeless. New authors are published all the time. Therefore it is worth exploring the world of literary agents and commercial publishers before moving on to other means.

Resource Guides

The Writers Market , by Robert Brewer, and the Guide to Literary Agents , by Chuck Sambuchino, published by Writers Digest Books are very good resources for contact information by which to solicit publishers or literary agents. Because there are so many places to publish and/or get representation, guides like these are essential for the beginner. They help the writer select publishers or literary agents that deal with the type of writing that any given writer produces, rather than wasting time submitting cover letters and writing to entities that will simply not be interested because they do not handle that particular kind of work.

Each of these books contains great advice for writers of all genres, including how to write an effective cover letter, how to format work for submission, whether or not to submit to multiple publishers simultaneously, and what to charge for various kinds of writing. These books provide excellent starting points for promoting your work. They are updated annually to provide you with current information, so that hopefully you are not submitting to publishers who are out of business.

In addition to the Writers Market and the Guide to Literary Agents, Writers Digest Books publishes separate guides for many genres including poetry and fiction.

Ready for Publication

Before you submit work to a publisher or literary agent, make sure it is completely ready to publish. In my own experience and as I have been told by other writers, the days when a publisher sends back work for revision are gone. Book editors do not edit books, they approve or disapprove them, and usually the only correspondence a writer can expect is a rejection slip or an acceptance letter with terms.

Before you submit work, you should:

  1. Check spelling, grammar and word usage
  2. Get feedback from trusted readers
  3. Make all final changes until work is completely finished
  4. Make sure the submission is within the publisher's guidelines in every way


Formerly known as "vanity publishers," publishers that publish books for a fee enable writers to produce a product that they can thereafter self-promote. Another way to self-publish is by publishing an e-book that people can download from the Internet.

Self-publishing is a viable option for those writers with book-length works to market.

Promoting Your Work

Whether you are picked up by a publishing house or a magazine or are publishing your own work, promoting your writing is the same as promoting any other business.

  • Don't be shy. Tell every single person you know about your work and how they can buy it.
  • Seek out opportunities to read your work publicly. For example, if you write children's stories, get with your local bookstore owner and create an event in which you read a few of your stories to local kids. If you are a poet, go to open mic night. If you write non-fiction, try to get on a talk show. Everywhere you go, talk about your work and let people know how they can buy it.
  • Seek out opportunities to speak publicly on topics related to your work. Get yourself introduced as, "Joe Sumgai, author of... "
  • Publish a web site promoting your work. Put a link to your site in every single email you send out. Post links to your promotional site on your blogs and blog on topics related to your work. Find blogs on a topic related to your work and reference your work in comments. Write articles on HubPages on subjects related to your work and post links to your promotional site on your profile and in your hubs.
  • Submit articles related to your work to e-zines and magazines where you can get a by line: "by Jane Smith, author of... "

To successfully promote anything requires that you be focused on promoting it. To promote your writing, keep it always on the front burner and always look for ways to bring it up on conversation or otherwise put it before your potential readership. They can't read it if they don't find out about it, can they?

Personally I enjoy publishing work right here. A few hundred people a day look at my stuff, and eventually someday I'll probably make a couple of bucks at it. Mission accomplished!


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    • celeBritys4africA profile image

      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Good to learn from. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      Dennis, thank you so much for adding your invaluable experience and wisdom to this article. These are the kinds of lessons we can only learn through experience.

    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 6 years ago

      Great advice.

      I recently had the opportunity to have my book on auditing reviewed by two individuals from a professional organization to which I belong. The information I received in the review helped me to change my book to make it better. While I felt that my book was ready given the fact I had years of experience in the field I learned valuable insight to make my approach in future books better.

      We as writers take great pain to get our manuscripts ready for publication but when there is ample opportunity to get reviewes tht offer valuable points to consider it can change the way you write forever.

      Many times there is much information to provide to the reader that you want to communicate. Sometimes there is so much detail in a process that we must remember that we do not need to provide every detail. This makes a book more cumbersome to read. The key is to provide the right level of content to help the reader understand the process from your point of view.

      You can learn much from any review by receiving input from others about how they feel you accomplished your goal when writing your book.

      Great job

    • ahbless profile image

      ahbless 6 years ago

      I've been writing poetry for about 20 years and my girlfriend read one of my poems years ago and love it. That gave me a rush.

    • sunchild28 profile image

      sunchild28 6 years ago from Nigeria

      good hint,many people having been making that mistake,i personally have learnt from this hub.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

      I could and I might. In the mean time you might check out:

    • DavePrice profile image

      DavePrice 7 years ago from Sugar Grove, Ill

      I'd like to know your opinion of epub, and Amazon's createspace - could you do a hub on that?

    • diedraholley profile image

      diedraholley 8 years ago from Killeen, TX

      Tom, thank you so much for this info. I just completed the final approval on my first book. It's a how-to book and I self-pubbed it. I am currently working on a fiction novel that I intend to go through the traditional publishing route with this one. But knowing how to promote my first book could be a huge help to me for the second book. While I know agents don't take self-published books seriously, I also know if the sales are high enough, it will make an impact. I appreciate the information.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      Thanks, AIDY. I actually forgot I wrote this! Thank you for reminding me :)

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 8 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I am amazed that I have just gotten around to reading this one. Great suggestions, Tom.

    • jiberish profile image

      jiberish 8 years ago from florida

      Nice Hub. Obviously, for most it's not about the money. I enjoy reading the hubs as much as writing them.

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 8 years ago from Cornwall

      Very interesting, and very useful, Thanks Tom

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Good advice, Tom, thanks.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      You're welcome, FitnessPro.

      My pleasure, Dwilliamson. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor!

      Mr. T Goldentoad, that's more money than I ever got.

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      I got three dollars and sixty two cents for an advanced copy of your book.

    • dwilliamson profile image

      dwilliamson 8 years ago from Kamloops, BC

      Thank you so much for the depth of information that you have provided. I really appreciate it very much.

    • FitnessProDee profile image

      Dana Gore 8 years ago

      Thank-you for this info.