Promoting books today is very different than it was twenty years ago, when my first book, a bed and breakfast guide, and cookbook, was published. It was available in paperback. Period. There were no eBooks; audiobooks were available, but only as tapes or CDs.
We used computers back then, and the internet, but mainly for emailing and to do online research. There were no social media. We relied on press releases, appearances on local radio and TV talk shows, notices on the publisher’s website (most of us, other than some best- selling authors, didn’t have one), and through book signings at small indie and occasionally local chain booksellers. Sometimes a newspaper or magazine would publish a review if we, or our publisher, had the right contacts.
Today most authors are expected to help promote their books, and the methods for doing so are varied. Yes, we still send press releases and if we’re lucky, our local newspapers will carry the story. We still are interviewed on broadcast media shows. But now we also have our own websites and a presence on social media that enables us to get the word out about our books to a vast international market. Weblog, a word that didn’t even show up in a dictionary until 20 years ago and was not commonly utilized as a promotional tool until some years after that. And we obtain reviews from those who may live continents away.
We continue to do book signings, but now not only in bookstores but also in a multitude of non-traditional venues. In our county, for example, authors are encouraged to speak and do signings at local libraries, museums, tourist gift shops, visitors’ centers and historical societies. Now, the creative ways of promoting a book are endless.
We also host book launch parties, another great way to promote our books to friends and family. A festive occasion, with food and drink, a book launch party can be held just about anywhere that makes sense: a firehouse, community center, library community room, restaurant, pub, or even on a beach or in the middle of a vineyard. My launch party for Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery, was held at our local golf and tennis club, in a room with spectacular views of Lake Ontario and the bay, which is the setting for the book.
The world has changed in the past twenty years, and our pace of life much faster. The good news is, as authors, we’re lucky to have so many different options available to us to help us promote our books.