Elaine Everest chats about promoting oneself and how it’s an important part of a writer’s life.
We’ve started writing our books but what comes next? We need to get our name ‘out there’ and we need readers to know about our books. We need sales and we need to earn a living from our writing. Sales mean we rise in the book rankings. The higher we go the more we are known. The more we are known the more books we sell.
The song, ‘It’s not where you start, It’s where you finish’, says we finish on top – but how do we get there?
I was a shy little thing when I first started writing. If I’d been told I would need to speak on radio and stand up in front of a room full of people and chat about writing I’d have given up then. Fortunately I didn’t and today I enjoy speaking about my books and meeting my readers.
My first venture into the world of books was when I was invited to submit some of my short stories to the Sexy Shorts charity anthologies. These popular books from the publisher, Accent Press, were well promoted and like others I had to play my part in talking about these lovely books and the worthwhile charities. I bit the bullet and I did it!
When my first book, Showing Your Dog, A Beginner’s Guide (How To Books Ltd), was published it was expected that the author played her part in promoting the book. I took a big gulp and dived in. The hardest part was standing up in a very large crowd of experienced dog show folk. I shouldn’t have worried as there was so much support from the show fraternity. To this day my book is used to help newcomers to join a fabulous sport.
This is the first year I will not be doing book signings on trade stands at Crufts as I’m competing with my Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, and will be ring side cheering on fellow competitors as well as my friend, Rachel, who will be handling Henry – and a good job she does too. I will have books in my show bag – an author never stops being a sales person!
By the time my second dog book, Canine Cuisine, came along I was being called upon to speak on local and national radio when a dog topic cropped up in the news. I’ve learned that it’s best to just be myself and speak from the heart. When the third book, A New Puppy in the Family, was published I was writing a weekly column for a canine newspaper. Not only did I get to speak on behalf of fellow dog folk but my name (and my books) were ‘out there’ for readers to see – and buy. Every time I supplied a quote or spoke on radio I asked for my books to be mentioned. A veteran author once told me that we should never stop promoting ourselves or our books.
When my first novel, Gracie’s War (Pulse Romance), was published I felt confident to contact radio stations, newsapers and libraries and offer to talk about my latest project. I’d served my apprenticeship on those early charity anthologies.
My advice to any new writer would to be to get yourself out there and promote your work in any way you can. These days we have Twitter, Facebook, websites and blogs so even more chance of getting your face (and work) known. It’s all part of the job
I wouldn’t say that I’m at ‘the top’ by a long chalk but by learning my craft and doing my best – and not being afraid – I like to think I’ve started that long climb to the top!