Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Favorite Ways to Promote

Many of my readers are writers struggling to promote their brand and books as I do. Let me take a moment to share what I consider to be the two major tools in my promotional toolbox. They aren't unusual.

1. 500-700-word pieces.
2. Postcards.


Here's the sorta-rub with writing these articles. I've preached to writers for a decade that they should write solely for pay. I still believe that if you are writing a piece for a publication, and the point is to publish the piece, then hold out for pay. However, if you are writing to promote your book, copywriting services, or editing prowess, consider compensation for those short pieces as the form of future business and sales.

I advocated 700 words per day not long ago. That works well for most venues. Take a look at my news page to see some of these short pieces, and there are dozens more to come. Not only do they connect with a different readership at each source, spreading my reach, but they improve search rankings. Beats paying for advertising . . . and boy am I getting efficient at these brief pieces. Talk about stretching writing muscles. And I've made some fantastic new online friends.


I adore my postcards. They are crisp, informational, and eye-catching to readers. They are mailed in envelopes, handed out at group settings, and left on counters. I give them out like business cards. They've been mailed to everyone on my Christmas list. My parents give them out to their tax clients. Friends pass them out at work. The owner of my UPS store hands them out in the line at the grocery store. They are harder to lose.

Make them colorful. Don't save $10 by ordering black and white on one side. Order more than you think you need, and don't be too frugal handing them out. But I get the biggest rush when I hand them to someone and they can't take their eyes off the design - so make it pop.

What are your favorite ways to promote your business, your book, your services? Would love to hear them!


Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

Those short pieces are great!
What company do you use to make your postcards or do you print them yourself?

Hope Clark said...


Vistaprint does my postcards, but I design them (don't use their designs), and this one was from a wedding template I elaborated on. My business cards come from I've also started making small posters (12 x 18) at Vistaprint for the bookstores I talk to.

Barbara Techel said...

Love the postcard idea. I use mine as business cards too - handing out every where I can. Also every time I get a book order I include at least two with the order. I leave behind at restaurants too - one just never knows where it will lead.


Diva Jefferson said...

Hope, I will admit, I REALLY love this blog tour. I have been receiving great feedback from readers and people who've never heard of me. They ask me the best questions and besides, I'm connecting with the authors who host me along the way. It's a great way to BE there as an author and promote your work. Readers love someone who is tangible.

The postcard idea sounds great! I will definitely try that out.

-Diva J.

Bagby said...

I had bookmarks printed with my novel's cover design on the front and, on the back, a one-sentence plot teaser and the URLs for my website and my publisher. It cost under $50 for several thousand. Many bookstores let me leave a stack by the register. And I included a bookmark in every book I signed at signings; people can keep using my bookmark--and flashing the title to fellow subway-riders, etc.--long after they're done reading my book.

Jenny Dreadful said...

Wonderful blog - I've been scrolling through your posts and found so much!

I do have a question - I had a chapbook of poetry published by an independent press - and I really want to promote myself. I'm thinking of donating copies to libraries and leaving copies placed all over town. I've tried contacting bookstores - it's usually hit or miss (more miss). Do you have any suggestions? It's my first published collection in print - thought I know it's a lowly chapbook. Hate to let it languish!

Thanks so much,
-Jenny Rossi

Hope Clark said...


If you give away copies of your book, you are telling people that's all the respect it deserves. Be particular where you give away your books. Libraries have budgets to buy books. Everybody doesn't read chapbooks so leaving them all over the place is poor marketing. Where do people meet who appreciate the arts? Coffee shops, museum gift shops, college campuses, libraries, classrooms, writing clubs. I don't know the gist of your chapbook, so I can't take it much further.

Another thing, the chapbook has a book and hopefully a website/blog. You should never mention your book generically. It has a name and a home. Speak of it often. If you want to leave things all over town or in bookstores, have phenomenal artsy postcards done up that are eye-catching. Give them to those you trust so they can pass them out.

Have an event and contact the media and schools and everyone I mentioned above.I know the bookstores are hard. I HATE dealing with bookstores.They can be so dang cheap. But at least they can be venues for readings. But take it further than a reading. Maybe have finger food. Invite someone to provide music. Treat it like an event and get the bookstore to promote it to their people.

Women's clubs, churches, book fairs, arts festivals. And don't forget to partner with others of your kind and do a joint session to make more noise!

Enter it in contests. Build attention one teeny step at a time. And write the second one. The first book rarely makes a name for a writer. It's the slow and steady trickle efforts
over time that do.

Hope that helps you a bit.