Author Self-Promotion. What Works For You As A Reader?

I had a long conversation with writer friend earlier this week. The topic? What form of media influences us to buy books. An author she’d talked to recommended a static web site that simply tells the reader about herself, what books she has, and when the next is coming out. My friend said that she didn’t care to write blogs, post on blogs, tweet, or use Facebook as forms of self-publication. Her thoughts are that a static web page itself plus collecting emails from her site to send book/promo updates and maybe ads in newspapers, etc., would be as effective as anything else.

So, what do you think as readers? What methods should authors use to promote themselves? Do author interviews on other people’s sites, author blogs, websites, Amazon reviews, newspaper ads, book signings, or anything else spur you to try a new author? Do you sign up on author sites for promotional email? Other than word of mouth from family and friends, which methods have spurred you to buy a book from an author you haven’t read before?



12 thoughts on “Author Self-Promotion. What Works For You As A Reader?

  1. Hi Michelle!

    I’d say book reviews, from Amazon, B&N, Kirkus, etc, really influence my book buying. I don’t want to spend my money on a book that’s reviewed as so-so. Although, if it’s an author I really like I’ll usually buy it anyway. 😉

    I love my blog and website. Such great tools for getting the word out there! I think social networking sites like Twitter, facebook, etc, are great! But I also think writers need to be aware of what they post there if they write for a younger age group. Kids, as well as parents, look at these sites and if they think there is “questionable” content for whatever reason, they may change their minds about buying an author’s work, which would be terrible! 😦

    BTW: I adore your zombie cat!! Too funny (and way creepy)!!!

    xoxo — Hilary

    • Hilary!

      Hello! Excellent point about watching what you put on a blog/site/tweet if you write for a younger group.

      For those reading, Hilary has a great site – awesome artwork (Hilary is an artist as well as a recently signed author for Holiday House.

      And, although Hilary may think zombie cat is adorable in a creepy sort of way, the residents of her novel Nightshade City might disagree. HA!

  2. My book won’t be out for a year, so I can’t pretend to be an expert, but I am trying to get signed on to speak to writers’ groups. Since writers are readers, I’m hoping this will help, as well as enable me to meet more people. (As much as I love my cats, I need to be able to talk about writing!)

    I don’t know how typical I am when it comes to buying books by new authors, but I just love browsing in a book store and reading the back covers.

    (Your zombie kitty pic. is scary!)

    • I’d love to hear how the speaking arrangements go!

      Yeah, talking about our craft too much to our pets might turn make them resemble the little guy in the photo.

  3. Hi Michelle,
    Lovers the kitty photo. : ) I think with the world-web at your fingertips, authors have a great chance at promoting their books. I suggest you sign on for interviews, blog tours etc. And I hear that the Twitter, FB thingys ain’t bad either. ; ) Michael Hyatt has some valuable info on his blog for promoting.


    • Excellent ideas.

      Of course, it takes a great book and Kimmi’s is certainly drawing a LOT of attention – The Unbreakable Child.

  4. I like to see an author who is interested in his or her fans. As long as that interest comes across I’m pretty good.

    I do a lot by word of mouth though and I get some of that from author blogs, online writing group forums, stuff like that.

    • True. Nothing worse than an author with a pretty site who doesn’t sound like he/she is really interested in the reader.

      So far, seems blogs/blog tours are on the top of the list…

  5. Hi Michelle,
    To be honest I think relying on a static website to bring you readers is pretty self defeating. You have to get out there, grab readers by the proverbial nuts and drag them to see your work.

    Theres numerous things that you can do to help promote yourself. For example the Book Trailer seems to be getting a great head of steam these days, they don’t have to be expensive to make and if you do it right will help sell the product. Secondly interviews are a must for any author, the more you can get your voice out there the more attention people will be prepared to pay to your work.

    I’m also an advocate of having a sample of the book on your site, it gives readers a taster of what to expect and will make them more ameanable to you, after all even if it only attracts one or two readers, they’ll know other readers with similar tastes and then sell the author to the others. Its a cracking tool.

    Finally getting reviews up is a great way to go, however you have to have honest reviews, personally Im dubious of authors that have an absolute ton of five stars with no other comments. Likewise networking yourself is a good way to go. Add to the mix that the majority have also shown thier work before publication to other like minded individuals and it helps spread the net wider.

    • I have been convinced to read a new author because of blog reviews – especially if the author themselves seem really into their work.

      Networking is everything these days, isn’t it?

  6. I don’t read book reviews on Amazon or similar internet sites. If I want to know what’s new and ‘hot’ in literary fiction – I sometimes read the Globe and Mail book reviews, or the New York Times review section. Also, I sometimes read what friends recommend. I do think every writer who has a book published should have a website. One of the tricks is to have the kind of info on your site that makes it pop up quickly on Google. Don’t ask me how that’s done – I haven’t a clue!

    Networking is important , in person, and online. Although I have been told by another writer friend that some writers can get too, um, energetic and that their constant self-promotion of every single thing they do, on facebook for example, can be annoying. I don’t know if that’s true. I simply skip past facebook posts that aren’t of interest to me, and I suspect other people do that too. I guess if a writer posted something about his work every few hours, that might be a tad de trop, but that’s only my opinion.

  7. Hmmmm other than friend recs (my family has very different tastes than I do)? I’ve been swayed by book reviews in the paper before, but that is a rare thing, mainly because I know that someone else loving a book doesn’t mean I will.

    I like websites because they USUALLY give me a better idea about the book. However, for the website to get traffic from me, odds are I will have heard about the book/author elsewhere first. Same with Facebook.

    Twitter is a different animal. The reason for that is that I’m a writer, and on Twitter I’m looking to connect with other writers, along with agents and editors. So Twitter sometimes leads me to author websites, which can lead me to buy their books. It has also brought me some free books. Some of those freebies have convinced me to seek out other books by the author. A few have convinced me to avoid an author like the plague. So I’d call that part a draw.

    Convention appearances count for me too. Author readings can convince me to pick up a book. Other discussion panels can intrigue me enough to at least look into an author’s books.

    So, I guess I look at it this way, some things are for people who are already fans (Facebook), others are better designed to get new fans (giveaways and appearances – though of course those appeal to fans as well).

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