The following is an excerpt from an interview with Craig Hart, Christian author and book reviewer. Craig started Christian Fiction Online as a book reviewing service. To learn more about Craig, go to www.craighart.blogspot.com
Q: Writers are faced with so much to do from a publicity standpoint. What promotional technique has been most effective for you? Least effective?
A: You know, you’re right. Writers are being faced with more and more of their own promotion. One writer said, “Well, the book’s done…now comes the hard part.” Sadly, that’s more true than not.
I’ve tried a lot of different techniques, such as bookmarks, postcards, business cards, you name it. I think the biggest thing, though, is to get your name out there any way you can. With thousands of new books published every year, it’s a daunting task to undertake a marketing campaign. But, unless you’re Grisham or King, a lot of the burden is on your shoulders.
Blogging has become the biggest thing in self-promotion. Not just blogging, but good blogging. Consistent posting that exhibits your unique writing style and makes people want to read more. People are more likely to buy things from people they know and, if they feel like they know you (either from reading your blog or mere name recognition), you have a much better chance of making the sale.
New authors have an especially tough time with this, because their name means nothing to most people. While a publisher could put the name Stephen King on a telephone book and have a bestseller, newbies have to work doubly hard to make an impression. It’s the natural way of things, but that doesn’t make it fun. It’s a slow process and takes a lot of effort and commitment.
There are a lot of things a writer can do to gain publicity, such as:
1. Join writer’s groups
2. Start a blog
3. Make lots of bookmarks and give them away like candy
4. Get book reviews from reputable sites
5. Hold book signings
6. Send press releases to local newspapers and media stations (radio and TV)
7. Start a newsletter
8. Contact libraries for book talks
9. The list never ends, so get creative!
The most important thing to remember is that, while getting your book published is a big deal, you have a lot of work yet to do. If nobody knows about your book, they won’t buy it. Spread the word and keeping spreading it! It may take a while to see any results, but don’t let your enthusiasm or confidence in your work falter. You have a story to tell!
Q: Any advice to first time writers on getting published?
A: 1. Write everyday
2. Read as much as you can
3. Follow your instincts
4. Never quit!
As far as getting published goes, I don’t think there is a tried and true method. Ask ten different writers and you’ll ten different stories. The most important thing, I think, is to be persistent and maintain a positive outlook on your writing.
Keep the writing process fun at all costs! And never say “if I get published.” It should be “when I get published.” The difference between writers who make it and writers who don’t is the amount of backbone they’ve got.
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Just that I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and other writers about this crazy biz! Ain’t it great?