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I love writing but confess when it comes to marketing and promoting the two novels I’ve published so far . . .  This post about Hazel Gaynor’s excellent talk at last year’s RNA Conference is very much a case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’

hazel gaynorHAZEL GAYNOR began with the lesson of E.L. James’s runaway success. ALL publicity is good publicity. What followed was effervescent.

As a reader Hazel needed to be told three things:

  • Tell me the book exists
  • Give me a reason to care
  • Convince me to buy it

She showed how to go about doing this by quoting from the Bookseller Marketing and Publicity Conference using the link #mpconf15, reminding us the author knows their book the best, and is, therefore, the ideal publicist.

All that followed made perfect sense. Hazel emphasised be nice to everyone, engage rather than sell, keep engaging and interacting. Social media is to entertain, to inform, and to connect.

What not to do – #buymybook #buymybook #buymybook.

Her advice: focus on fluid media, Twitter, Facebook and be a user not a promoter. Be visual on Pinterest, use video – You Tube, Book Tube, Facebook Virtual Events – plus look at two new mediums for ideas: –for podcasts, sample chapters, interviews [billed on Google as a platform for women too busy to browse], and Periscope #whereiwrite [launched by Twitter March 2015] where authors give live tours around writing spaces.

social media signpost 300She recommended, chat and engage with people, support other writers, tag a relevant hashtag, share quotes from books, do a Twitter chat (be prepared), run a giveaway promotion/competition share interesting, relevant book-related content on your Author Central profile on Amazon, share milestones.

Who are you online? She emphasised the importance of photographs on Websites and Blog Posts, on Twitter, create a mailing list. Keep changing your Facebook Profile, and, more importantly, your FB Author Page.

She advised three to six months pre-publication, start sharing progress, cover reveal, look into Goodreads giveaways, and invite reviews.

Launch – quote from book. Make use of your Pinterest Notice Board, make it lively and interesting re-pinning from other Notice Boards but cave Copyright.

Engage with readers through your Goodreads Author Profile and Dashboard.

Our guests arrive . . .Be a real person in your locality, at writing festivals and events, book clubs and libraries. Run Workshops, attend conferences and festivals.

Skype – now there’s something to consider. Write articles online and in print. Write Blog posts. Review other authors’ books. Be interviewed.

Be creative like Joan Hessayon’ Award Winner Brigid Coady, photographed as “Writer in Residence” on her commuter train from Maidstone, and check out Matt Haig, author of The Humans.

Pitch a press release – what is your book? Research radio, TV, events, and don’t forget business cards, and book markers.

Finally, CELEBRATE.2015-10-21 11.35.53

But a note of caution, what if, after all this, it goes bad? Low attendance sucks. Mistakes happen.

Hazel’s personal observation, get over it like you do rejection of your precious manuscript(s). No resting on your laurels nowadays when you’ve written and published a book. That is just the beginning.

Thank you Hazel Gaynor for detailing what needs to happen next. Hazel ended with a Woody Allen quote “Eighty percent of success is showing up”.

First published in Romance Matters Autumn 2015

STEVE HODGKIN / Credit - CHADWICKS -Mags Cullingford
Independent Author Last Bite of the Cherry (2012) and
Twins of a Gazelle (2015)

Mags is currently completing and polishing her as yet untitled third novel – After her mother’s fatal car accident, Lexie Neave receives threatening anonymous letters. Private investigator Forbes’s brief is to identify the writer and discover what it is Lexie has that’s “valuable, very valuable which by rights is mine”. Lexie hasn’t a clue, and she’s in danger.