Youre Published! Now How Do You Tell The Readers?

By: Michael Larocca

The first thing you must do is quit thinking like a writer and
start thinking like a reader. That shouldn't be a problem,
because you are one. If you don't enjoy reading, you can't write
something that someone else enjoys reading. So, when you read,
how do you choose what to read?

My wife can walk into a bookstore, look at the cover blurb of a
book, conclude "I'll like this," and buy it. Then she'll read it
and be correct. Every time.

I almost never do this. For me, it's word of mouth. It's book
reviews. A good reviewer tells me enough to decide if I want to
buy the book. I've rarely been led astray by a reviewer.

I suspect that, if you look at your own reading habits, you're
like me. You find new authors to read based on book reviews. Once
you find one you really like, you buy everything else he/she has
written and snatch up every new one as it comes out.

So there are your goals. Number one, write well enough to keep
those readers coming back. Number two, get those reviewers to say
"Hey, this author writes very well." Meaning, contact those

You want to be reviewed as much as possible. Walk into any
bookstore, log onto any e-publisher site, or visit Amazon or
Barnes & Noble.

Guess what you'll see? A whole lot of books. If
one of them happens to be yours, how will people notice it?

Your publisher will market your book, of course, but they market
all their titles equally. What you want is for a potential reader
to walk into that shop or log onto that site with your name and
title already in his or her head.

Your publisher will submit your book to reviewers. I don't know
about the quantity, but reviews (even negative ones) generate
sales. Work with your publisher to ensure everyone is covered.
Also make sure you don't both send the same book to the same
place because that's just plain embarrassing.

If you'll swing by
you'll find a list of book review and author interview sites.
Mostly electronic but a good print selection as well. At this
writing there are 111 of them. When your book hits the shelves,
if not sooner, visit every dang one of them. Write to everybody
and see what happens. It'll take you about ten hours.

Next, work the local media. Newspapers, radio, and signings at
local bookstores. Once that's generated enough interest -- and
again I assume your novel delivers the goods -- you can take a
shot at national coverage.

My next suggestion involves writing contests. I don't know about
you, but I usually buy every book on the Booker Prize Short List.
Likewise, the first ebook I ever read was an EPPIE winner. I
don't know how many people do the same, but certainly more than
enough to justify the effort. Some contests even offer cash

It stands to reason that some awards are more prestigious than`
others. Winning "Bubba's Book Award" probably won't help sales.

Entering contests is something that you should coordinate with
your publisher. Some contests don't allow author entries, and
certainly you don't both want to enter the same book. If there's
an entry fee, be realistic about your chances of winning, and
consider how many sales you must generate to pay that entry fee.

I keep a small but growing list of book contests at

I also believe that anyone selling anything should have, at the
very least, a free website. As I started with ebooks, I consider
it mandatory. As an author, of course I also write a newsletter.

To receive my article on the strategy involved in setting up your
website, send a blank email to

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