Today I introduce my third guest blogger, author Lawrence Johnson Sr. It is a great pleasure to have Lawrence's blog, on book promotion and I think he has some wonderful advice to share with all of us.
I love to write, especially science fiction. It gives me the freedom to create and develop any character, place or thing without boundaries but as thousands of authors are finding out everyday writing a good story is only half the battle.
Promoting a novel requires time, effort, and money. If you are considering putting pen to paper in hopes of become the next J.K. Rowling or Mary Higgins Clark ask your self two simple questions. What is my motivation for writing this story?
The answer is usually one of the following.
3. Financial gain
The second question is: how bad do you want it?
Promoting your book online is a must these days and many new authors are naïve in thinking that all you need is a slick website, a fancy book trailer and you’re set. I call it the “build it and they will come” strategy. Well with hundreds of new books being published every week the competition is fierce and that strategy is destined to fail. As a member of the writers’ network called Book Town I am struck by the large number of authors who do not actively promote their work. No, I am not the peddler of doom and gloom nor am I here to rain on your parade. I am a realist and I am speaking from experience.
Book promotion is about getting the word out to as many people worldwide as possible in the most effective way possible. Spending thousands of dollars on ads is not an effective way of reaching your target audience unless you are targeting a specific market. If you write romance novels buying ad space on Life Time’s website would make more sense than advertising on CNN’s site. As I said earlier the internet is a valuable tool. I have a website, several book trailers, and a weekly blog. I also am a member of MySpace, Facebook, Booktown.ning, Twitter and a few other social networking sites however in my option nothing is more effective than meeting potential buyers face to face at book fairs, conventions, and book store book signings. Every year I do a minimum of four. This year I will attend book fairs in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. I enjoy meeting other sci fi fans, talking about my book and science fiction in general, but as an added bonus every now and then I get to hang out with really cool people like John Billingsley (from Star Trek Enterprise) and his lovely wife Bonnie ( from Chuck).
The sequel to Escape 2 Earth titled Return 2 Earth has been completed for sometime now and I have also finished writing a short fantasy story, and a collection of inspirational quotes titled Observations from the Edge of Society but I will not release them until I am satisfied that I have done all that I can do to promote my current novel. Escape 2 Earth has a 2012 theme and with the highly anticipated release of Roland Emmerich’s 2012 movie I hope to capitalize on the publicity that comes with it. I am also currently working on the final book in the Escape 2 Earth trilogy.
Launch parties, interviews, having your book reviewed online, book club appearances, e-mails, Craigslist and word of mouth are just a few of the ways that you can promote your novel free. I always keep a few copies in the trunk of my car, you never know who you may run into.
I know what you are thinking, wow, that’s a lot of work. You’re right, it is, but it brings me back to my original question. How bad do you want to succeed? Remember this, the worse thing that could happen to an author is to have a really great story that no one ever gets to read.
Lawrence Johnson Sr., author of Escape 2 Earth.