Become an expert in your field and book sales will follow. It’s true that promoting a book requires a great amount of resolve, but it is also true that working smarter, rather than harder, can help reap those rewards. By positioning yourself as an expert in the genre in which you write, you can open new doors for networking, doors that often remain shut without that expertise status.
1. Write a book
You’ve done this already, right? If you haven’t, consider it. You may find yourself closer to a finished manuscript than you realize. Writing a publishable book from your knowledge or experience is often a matter of simply putting your expertise on paper.
2. Publish your book
A published book becomes a calling card to line-up speaking engagements, freelance writing gigs, and other opportunities. Don’t become a victim of “Catch-22 Paralysis” where you can’t promote because no one knows about you, but no one knows about you since you can’t promote. Instead, become a “Catch-all front runner” where you’re an expert because you have published a book, and your published book proves your expertise.
3. Promote your expertise
Two good places to begin are AOL and ABOUT.COM. Both have category-specific forums in which you can participate. By mentioning that you are the “author of such-and-such” within the scope of your communication, you begin to label yourself as an expert. Other forums about just about every topic under the sun can be found in Yahoo Groups and Google Groups.
Web-logs, or “blogs” are also a cost effective, efficient way to promote your expertise. Blogs utilize .xml and RSS feeds to provide dynamic, up-to-the minute publication across a variety of searchable platforms. The integration between blogs and contextual search engines becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy toward recognition. If you write about something, people searching for the topic will invariably find you, and that makes you an expert!
4. Overcome the fiction hurdle
Being recognized as an expert in a technical or non-fiction category is admittedly easier than the largely subjective category of a “fiction expert.” Even so, if you have written a work of fiction, becoming a recognized expert in your genre is not only possible, but necessary. Just look at Clancy, Rowling, and Robbins.
5. Explore the possibilities
Whether you’ve penned a techno-thriller, children’s fantasy, or romance, there is a forum in which to voice your expertise. The Internet is full of chat rooms, writing groups, genre-sites, and more. They’re all thirsty for content from published writers. You just have to know where to look. Conducting a Google search is a good place to start.
6. Join, participate, schmooze
Seek out conferences, associations, and other experts to help you. At Outskirts Press, we are members of IBPA, SPAN, CIPA, FWA, SWWA, and the BBB, just to name a few. This leads to professional relationships with experts, mentors, editors, writers, and many other professionals who can offer help or support.
Remember, keep on writing, keep on reading, and keep on promoting your published book. Becoming a published author may feel like a once-in-a-lifetime experience when it first happens, but like everything else in life, success requires tenacity and passion.
Not yet a successfully published, author?
This article was reprinted with permission from Brent Sampson, president/CEO of Outskirts Press.