What Can a Traditionally Published Author Learn About Book Promotion from Self-Published Authors?

I have an editing client whose book will be traditionally published. Her publisher took care of promotion with her earlier books, but she’s discovering that having a traditional publishing contract in today’s world means she needs to learn about book promotion—FAST!

book promotion
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici @freedigitalphotos.com

This got me to thinking about how similar her dilemma is to those faced by self-publishing authors: ultimately, she will be responsible for the lion’s share of promoting her newest book. True, she has some support from her publisher, but nothing like “the good ol’ days” of having a team assigned to help her. Her (small) publisher has limited staff, limited resources, and limited ideas. As the publication date draws near, she’s beginning to realize that the world of traditional publishing has changed.Yes, she’s late to the party, but you really can’t blame her. She began writing in the days when, for the author, marketing equaled getting a good haircut and packing for a book tour. In contrast, today’s successful self-publishing authors have experience that nearly equals having a college degree in book marketing and promotion.

She’s an expert in her field. She has a website, she’s started a blog, she’s tapped into her social and professional connections to get book endorsements, and she’s willing to write articles related to her topic. She isn’t in a position to hire an expensive PR firm to promote her book, nor is she in a position to spend months educating herself about book promotion the way a self-publishing author would.

Help Wanted: My questions to you, fellow bloggers, are these:

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  1. If your book was scheduled for publication in a few months, what one or two things would you absolutely do to it? What catches your eye when another author is marketing his or her book?
  2. If you’ve been lucky enough to already publish a book, what was the most effective thing you did to sell books? Was it tweeting about your book? Writing articles related to it? Giving away signed copies on a blog tour? Or did you do something unique? Perhaps something crazy and creative, like an author I met who set up the equivalent of a lemonade stand and sold her book on the street to passers-by!

Thanks for your help with this—I hope everyone who reads this will take a moment to comment—and my client will be eternally grateful for your suggestions!

Happy Writing!



5 thoughts on “What Can a Traditionally Published Author Learn About Book Promotion from Self-Published Authors?”

  1. Hi Candace,
    I just recently helped launch a book for a NY Times best selling author. I was in charge of the blog tour. My biggest advice is to stay AWAY from the tour companies. You are spending $200+ for a 3-10 blog tour. If you want to launch a successful tour start months in advance researching blogs in your field (fiction, YA, non-fiction). READ the blogs, the blogger’s information, and if they have it read their policy’s on tours/reviews. Email them directly with comments about their blog and why it fits your book. Create relationships with the bloggers, chances are you aren’t going to just write one book…by creating a relationship you have people will to support you in future endeavors as well.
    If your book is carried by Barnes & Nobel…call every store in your state…most love having book signings and they promote the event on their site and well as in store.
    And use the internet- get a website for yourself, make a separate page for the book and another for the book promotion. Think clear, easy-to-use, and eye catching. (Go look at other author sites to get ideas…)
    Good luck to your author!

    1. This is all great advice, Jana–my author and I both appreciate your thoughts! She does have a website and a blog, but not the separate pages for the book or book promotion–great ideas. And thanks for your input about blog tour companies–good to know.

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