Freelance writing is tough. Instead of a newspaper, magazine, or website looking out for you, you have to look out for yourself. Even though the pay is minimal, you write because you love to, and are searching constantly for new projects. Identifying the next project is a job itself. You are also in charge of publicity, a huge job.
I’m a grandmother and have been freelancing for 37 years. Despite a body of work, it is hard for me to get publicity in my own home town. Maybe this is because Rochester, Minnesota is home base of Mayo Clinic, and the city is filled with experts. Indeed, medical experts are the norm.
Age is a problem for me as well. Some people can’t believe I’m a freelancer or have written any books. “You wrote a book?” someone asked recently. Her sentence ended on an up note, an indication of her disbelief. How can freelancers like me and you get their work noticed?
Although I’m not a marketing expert, I’ve learned from experience. These tips worked for me and may work for you.
Talk with the bookstore manager. My motto has always been “Start at the top.” Starting with the manager can save you time. You can always talk with the community relations person later. Give the manager an information sheet about your book and your business card.
Make sure your book is in the system. Chain stores like Barnes & Noble will not order your book unless it is in their system. Contact the publisher if you do not know if your book has been posted.
Have an “elevator speech.” Write two sentences, three at the most, that tell the title of your book, genre, publisher, and how to get it. Practice your elevator speech aloud so it becomes automatic.
Create talks that extend your book. It’s okay to share a few things, but don’t share too much of your book. Pick a point or character or event and expand upon it. Offer to give this talk to community groups.
Give books away. You may not believe this, but giving books away is one of the cheapest forms of publicity. Donate a copy or copies of your book to the public library. Give books to friends and ask them to post reviews on the Internet.
Use social/Internet marketing. Join Facebook, Twitter, Google+, specialized websites such as Bublish, and Internet book clubs. Post regularly so people will start to recognize your name and your work.
These tips can get your toe in the marketing door, but they do not guarantee a surge in sales. Building interest in your book takes time, so keep at it. Believe in your book and believe in yourself.