If you’re self-published, this is one serious hat that you’ll have to wear often if you expect to earn back the money you’ve invested in your a course in miracles But even if you’ve been published via a traditional publisher, you’ll need to do at least some of the marketing yourself. Publishers have only so much money to spend on marketing, and most of that money goes into a few big, blockbuster titles. The more you can help promote your book and increase sales, the happier your publisher will be with you — and the more likely they’ll be to look on your next book with a favorable eye.
Every author should have their own website. It can be as simple as a single page with your name and contact information and links to where people can buy your books. It can be as complex as a full-service site with articles, a blog, links pages, and other helpful things that will keep your visitors coming back for more.
If you’ve never made a website before, consider starting with a blog. There are lots of large blogging sites out there, such as Blogger.com. Choose a simple name for your blog that will make you easy to find in the search engines. Your own name would be a good choice. The title of your book would be another. Then keep the blog content fresh and active so that people will want to return to the site. Your blog will be indexed with the larger blog community so that people can find it.
If you design your own website, learn everything you can about website promotion. Before you can promote your book through your website, you need to promote your website so that people can find it. Learn about Search Engine Optimization at Organic SEO Wiki. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything you read there. There’s some pretty technical bits. Follow the advice that you do understand, and you’ll be ahead of most of your competition. If your book is listed on Amazon.com, consider signing up for Amazon’s affiliate program, and use your affiliate code in your links to your book on Amazon.com. You’ll receive a small commission from Amazon for each book that is sold through the link.
When it comes to contact information, protect your email address. Spam robots search sites for email addresses, including those that are in the page’s code but hidden from the viewer, such as addresses hidden in a “contact the author” form. You can use a paint program to make a graphic that includes your email address. Robots can’t read graphics. This is a bit inconvenient for other people, however. Another way to protect your name is to use a service, such as Bravenet, that will allow you to make contact forms to post on your site that will direct the mail to the service, which forwards it to you.
When you think of book signings, you may think of a grand event, where the pampered author sits behind a table, facing a long line of adoring fans, signing book after book, while the bookstore personnel or a private entourage bring cool drinks.
In reality, unless you’re Stephen King or John Grisham, a bookstore signing is a much humbler affair, with a lone and sometimes desperate-looking author smiling stiffly from behind a table, hoping that someone might at least come over and say hello. Still, even so humble an event can get your book out in front of the public, and the contacts you make one evening may pay off months or even years later.
The key to a good book signing is preparation. When your book is just about to be shipped, call your local bookstores to arrange book signings. Independent bookstores are often very willing to assist local authors. Even the big chains can be open to arranging a book signing. Discuss with the bookstore owner whether you will provide books to sell through them, or if they will order the books for you. Ask if they will provide a sign for your table, or if you should make one. You can go to an office supply store and find nice acetate stands made for slipping a printed sheet of paper inside. You might also buy your own bookstand so you can prop up a copy of your book at the signing table.