Free and Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Romance


Copyright Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved

 

Getting your story published is just the beginning of the journey for you and your book. In this day and age, even with the large established "New York" publishing houses, and most certainly with the small independent presses, an author needs to be prepared to take a leading role in promoting and marketing their work. 

This doesn't have to be an odious and financially crippling thing. There are a number of inexpensive and creative ways to promote your romance novel, and I'll share a few of them with you here. 

Having your own website is the single most important element in your marketing program. Your website is your "home" on the web, a place to which you can invite readers so they can learn about you and your books. You don't have to know HTML or be a computer whiz to do it either. Homestead (www.homestead.com) and Geocities (www.geocities.com) are just two website hosts that provide templates, and all the tools for you to put a decent site together. You can easily import jpgs of both you and your book covers. You can link to your publisher and purchase sites or sales pages. You can even communicate with fans. And as you become more proficient at working on your website, you can incorporate all sorts of nifty little things to really make your web home a desirable place to visit.

If you simply have no aptitude or desire to build your own site, look around you. You probably have a computer savvy friend, relative or neighbour, who would be happy to help you build your cyber presence, and act as your webmaster. Make sure they are available for regular updating, or willing to take the time to teach you what you need to know to maintain your own site. 

Another set of popular marketing tools these days, are blogs, forums and chats. Again, there are a multitude of places where you can set these up.

Here are a few:

www.wordpress.com

www.conforums.com

www.livejournal.com

www.blogger.com 

www.chatfreak.com

www.chattersonline.com 

 

A Google search will glean many more choices. The only cost to you your time, because for them to be successful, you have to keep them current and work to drive traffic to them. 

Forums offer you a chance to set up discussion groups for your fans. You can have multiple threads at once; for example, a thread about your latest book, one on you as an author, another offering writing advice, discussions on pop culture...anything...whatever will interest your fans and bring them to your forum over and over. A great example of an active forum is http://indigochick.conforums3.com 

Blogs, a sort of online journal, gives you a bragging zone for your writing. Post excerpts and teasers of your work. Post about any appearances coming up, reviews you've received, or interviews you've done. Talk about what you're working on, or set up a contest.Again, blogs are open to all sorts of different uses. A good example of a writer's blog is http://daisydexterdobbs.blogspot.com/ 

Chats can be a lot of fun. You can host a virtual book launch, or have reader appreciation days for your fans. You can invite fellow authors to visit and have an author day where your fans can come and ask questions. 

Yahoo and MSN offer the ability to set up groups for free. These can be a great way of connecting with your fans. My fan club is on a geocities site and my monthly fan newsletter goes out through a Yahoo group. It gives another place for fans to go and find out about me and my books, and it gives me a forum every month to talk to my fans, run contests just for them, promote upcoming work, remind them of what work I have available. And it doesn't cost me a thing. A close friend acts as my fanclub president and does a lot of the work for me. 

Building up your fan base is a slow process, but worthwhile. What I've done is to keep track of anyone who signs my guestbook on my website. I then send them an invitation to join. They can choose to accept or decline. As well, I belong to a couple of promotional groups www.bookswelove.com and www.divasofromance.com 

At Books We Love, I have a page with a guestbook. They run regular popular contests for readers and so I get hundreds of visits to my page and guestbook. These guests are also invited to join my fanclub. Many have. You can then direct these "fans" to your forums, blogs and chats. Just remember to avoid spamming unsuspecting people with random invitations. If they've signed your guestbook, they at least have shown an interest. 

Promotional groups are a great way to gain some visibility with someone else doing the work. The two I mentioned above are not expensive, but give lots of exposure. Books We Love provides an author webpage that they update as needed. They run extremely popular, well-publicized contests. You pay for a package with Divas of Romance and are given a year's worth of publicizing opportunities--internet radio interviews, ads in newsletters that go to thousands of libraries, ads in newsletters that go to readers, opportunities for ads in magazines, among other things. 

It is relatively easy to create your own promotional materials to hand out, things like brochures, business cards and bookmarks. For business cards I recommend www.vistaprint.com (or in Canada www.vistaprint.ca) You can design your own cards using their large selections of graphics. They have an easy system to work through and they are fast. Your designs are then stored and you can go back to alter them or reorder. You can get 250 business cards for only the cost of shipping, and they are shipped quickly. Vistaprint offers a range of other items like magnets, postcards, and greeting cards that you can use for promoting your work. 

I create my own bookmarks using my Word program. I have a general all purpose author bookmark, and then sometimes will create individual ones for each of my books. I can print them out on my colour inkjet printer as I need them. I give two out with each book I sell, asking that the purchaser pass on the spare bookmark to a friend. 

I also create my own brochures using MSWorks. Again, it's easy to do using the templates provided, and I can update them often. Printed out on my little inkjet colour printer, they are eye-catching and give a potential reader a good idea of what my work is all about. 

I've covered some of the basics that any romance writer can utilize to promote and market their work. Next month I'll cover some other creative inexpensive tools.

 

Read Part Two of this article here

    

About the Author: Judy Bagshaw has been published since 2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include 4 novels, 1 collection of short stories, and short stories in three anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website: www.judybagshaw.com

 

 

  

Easy Way to Write Romance - by Rob Parnell