Monday, July 28, 2014

Pre-Promoting your Novel: Gathering the Information.

First prompting is an important part of any business, and it is something I am not good at. As many of you may know, I was an independent professional wrestler. Technically, I am a good wrestler, but I had an issue with self-promoting, and this kept me from reaching the big time. As a martial artist over my lifetime, I committed to be as humble as possible, unfortunately humility is bad for a pro wrestler.

Now that I am having my book published. As per request of my publisher, I had to “gain interest” in my upcoming novel; I had no idea what he was talking about. Luckily, for me my publisher gave me the basics of how to pre-promote a book. In addition, and lucky for me, was the fact that many of these authors with this publisher were more than helpful in assisting me. It is time to thank them:

Sheryl Browne: She helped me quite a bit.  She even gave me support before my book was accepted by the publisher

Carol E. Wyer: Knows a lot about using the internet for promotion.  She is a great writer who has received a lot of acclaims lately.

Irene Soldatos: She helped me throughout the process.  Not only is she a fellow author, she also enjoys the medieval period and also collects edged weapons

There are so many others who have helped me over the time, and each one of them has my respect and thanks.

I know what I am about to write down is known by many of you, but if someone (like I was) has little understanding of the Internet, I wanted to give them the basic information.

So my first step was to create a Linkedin account. Linkedin is a business-oriented social network with over 260 million users.

Now was to set up a blog. I had several questions about this, first “What the heck is a blog” and also, “What am I supposed to write about on it.”

Since you are reading this, you understand I must have gotten those questions answered. Setting up the blog was quite easy; finding information to write about was difficult.

Since my upcoming fantasy novel is set in medieval times, and I also am a part-time historian, I decided to write about that topic. Many of you have read the information I have presented about knights, and how people lived in those times; I hope my writings here have enlightened you about the medieval period. I will also state that it has been a pleasure to write these blogs and to read your reviews.

Another step was to get a page on Goodreads. Goodreads is a site that allows you to catalog the books you have read and to find others with your similar taste. It is also a useful tool for an author to find fans to rate or review your books.

I did start a twitter account. I will admit; I do not get it. I simply write a couple of sentences here or there and sometimes I put in a link. I guess I do not need to get it, as long as others do.

I soon learned, that sites like Linkedin and Goodreads, are not only a good way to promote yourself, it is also a way to gain knowledge. I was lucky enough to go to both sites and find others who had knowledge about writing and blogging, and they were more than gracious in helping me. I probably would not be doing this blog if it was not for the assistance of people I connected with. Some of these people are, in fact, readers of this blog, and I again want to thank them for their help.

When you are doing pre-promotion, it is also a time to make contacts (again go back and see about Linkedin and Goodreads.) I have been able to connect with book reviewers and hosts of book shows on radio and TV. I am not expecting them to do a review of my novel, or an interview with me, but they have helped me in how to obtain the necessities in book promotion.

I will say that if you are an author, and you are self-promoting or not; you are never too busy to write. Continue writing other novels, or short stories. Writing can put you in an author’s mood; this frame of mind will assist you in the creativity part of promotion. It was during this time I had written “The Knight’s Last Stand” which was part of the “Romantic Heroes” anthology.

(Now if you are a constant reader of my blog, remember what I said in the above paragraph, we will revisit this paragraph in the next blog.)

Now it is time to think outside of the box. Everyone else who has published a novel or short story is on Linkedin or Goodreads or a million other sites. You are competing with these other authors in terms of promoting, and in obtaining readers, to get an edge you must look elsewhere.

My upcoming novel, Legend of the Mystic Knights is set in Europe, particularly Switzerland. I reference numerous towns, sites and attractions in my novel, which do exist in that country; this is how I would begin. I gathered numerous tourism sites, which deal with the locations I describe in my novel. When my book comes out, a press released indicated this information will be sent to these tourism boards.

As readers of my blog, you remember how I tried to portray knights accurately in my writings; I also describe how people lived during the middle ages. My next step was to gather as many emails or addresses for renaissance faires, or reenactment groups that deal with the middle ages. These groups will also be sent a press release specifically designed for them.

I know that many of these groups will dismiss my press release; however, I might get listed in a newsletter or a website; this is free advertisement for my novel. You do not have to sell a million books to be a success; you just get a million people to know your book exists. I came up with that phrase; I think I should trademark it, lol.

If you analyze the above two groups, they have little in common, but each can be an asset for me. The tourism sites will only be interested in the locations listed in my book. Contrary, the reenactment groups and faires do not care that the novel is set in Switzerland, but they do care that the novel shows medieval lifestyles. Although the 2nd group is limited as a target audience, they are not limited in location; I can send a press release to a reenactment group or renaissance faire regardless of where they are located.

I also started collecting the name of numerous book clubs who read fantasy novels. These groups will also be notified when my novel comes out. If they read my novel, perhaps word of mouth from these groups will increase sales later.

Remember, you do not have to have a huge promotional campaign to get your book noticed; you just need to constantly promote your work, adding and expanding your circle of those who have received your publicity material. A drop of water is called a raindrop; millions of them together are called an ocean. I should also trademark this phrase.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites that will assist you in your writing endeavors. I wanted to list a few here and give you my input on them.

As always, I enjoy you taking your time to leave a comment. Maybe you have some more suggestions about promoting that are outside the box? Leave these comments for others to learn by.

If you want to join my group dedicated to my novel, or join my mailing list, email me here.


  1. Congratulations on your upcoming book! My publisher, who contacted me with a proposal to write for them, told me they would do some marketing as well. My book has been delayed by 2 months, which I look at as a blessing. I have been asked for radio show interviews, been self-promoting both online and in-person. I still have a couple of fun things I want to do however, I'm waiting for a GO with the publisher. My background is sales and marketing so, unlike you, it's a comfortable part of the process for me. Hope to hear more about your book soon.

  2. Seems like you are doing a wonderful job with the upfront work needed to build your platform:) Kudos to you and having the wisdom to seek experienced and willing mentors. This can only increase your chances for success

  3. Since you believe luck is everything when it comes to success, William, I can't help wondering why you make an effort?:-) Seems to me you believe that we create our own luck. If not, you would not pre-promote your novel

  4. I have to give some background to some you readers. I commented on Catarina's World:
    I commented that I thought that luck was a major impact on success. Give a look at her blog, it is always an enjoyable read.
    I do believe most success if luck. But if you do not play the game, then luck means nothing.
    In terms of writing, you can write the best poetry in the world, if not one reads (because of bad luck) it then it cannot be perceived as great. Look at Emily Dickinson, she never knew she was a great writer, because only a handful of her poems were published while she was alive. Was she successful as a writer? Her poems are being read in almost every English class.. The vast majority of her poems were found by her sister. It was by luck that allowed Emily’s sister to find the poems.
    You can be great, but it is luck that gives you the ability to be successful.

  5. It sounds as if you are the right track in promoting your book. Renaissance fairs often have book stores. Maybe they will stock your book.

  6. I think that spending the time and working hard does pay off. Luck is not success. I have often felt that I can have the best website but if no one sees it what does it matter. It has been hard work but has paid off. I wish great success with your book

  7. William, first of all congrats on your book and secondly thanks for such an informative article. The self promotion part of any endeavor is often most difficult for all of us. I love how you shared your own personal experiences instead of just objectively listing hints (makes for a much more interesting read).

  8. Carol offers great advice :) I know a few indie writers and traditionally pubbed writers who have great success from attending various ComicCons and promoting their work there.

  9. Carol certainly does offer great advice, I recommend everyone to look at her sites.
    Thanks to everyone who congratulated me on the upcoming publishing of my novel. I hope you will stay and read about my ongoing adventures in the publishing world.

  10. It looks like you are doing all the right thing and a great a job with the upfront work to build your platform. Having the wisdom to seek experienced mentors is always a good idea. I applaud you for that. I'm doing that now in a few of my current projects. Their advise is always so useful. :-)

  11. Sounds like you've done a lot of hard work on your writing - that takes discipline and focus. And about "thinking out of the box" - I like to say I've completely forgotten about the box! Promoting yourself isn't easy, but it sounds like you've got a lot of good help. Go for it.

  12. And to think there was a time when the publisher took care of all the promotion.

  13. I think it's really cool of you to take some time to thank the people that have helped you, as well as share your knowledge with other people going through what you are. Every time I read one of your posts, I'm intrigued to read your book!

  14. Carol Wyer is, indeed, one smart lady. I've read many of her posts on Indies Unlimited.

    I'm still getting used to social media sites like Goodreads, too. You're not alone, William!

    If you want a good resource about blogging, you are welcome to pick up a copy of "20 Blog Post Must-Haves" for free from Wording Well (my site). :)

    Also, let's connect on Twitter, too. I'm there daily...

  15. It's great that you're sharing your experience on book promotion. I always learn something. You're also courageous by venturing into social media and blogging. Let the trademarking begin, and I hope your books are successful. LinkedIn has so many helpful author's groups that it boggles the mind.

  16. How excellent for you that you were able to gain the help and insight from three people already in the industry. Nothing is better than a good mentor, unless it's three of them! The info you're learning and now sharing will no doubt help someone else along the way!