Today I am pleased to welcome Sharon Boothroyd from West Yorkshire to The Contents Page. Sharon has had many letters, opinion pieces and poems published in UK national magazines and her short stories have been published in magazines such as My Weekly, Your Cat, The Weekly News, Take a Break’s Fiction Feast, Prima, Ireland’s Own, YOU (South Africa) and Fast Fiction (Australia). In 2011, Sharon set up a short story email critique group called Fiction Addiction, which is still going strong. You can find out more about this group and read some of Sharon’s stories and poems on her website: http://sbee.orgfree.com.
Last year, Sharon and her husband, Keith, launched a new project to help raise fund for the RSPCA – a short story e-book anthology called Paws for Thought: 27 Tail Thumping Stories. Income from the sales of this book raises funds for the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield and District Branch. You can find out more here: http://ryecorn.orgfree.com.
Sharon is joining us today to also tell us all about getting free publicity – getting yourself and your work/books seen is a really important part of being a writer/author and it is something that many of us struggle with. Sharon has some really interesting points to make and I am sure you will find them as useful as I have.
HOW TO GET FREE PUBLICITY!
by Sharon Boothroyd
Whether you’re promoting a book, a workshop, a play, a website or a project, writers must take publicity seriously. For two years, I was the editor of a non-profit, fiction-based e-magazine, which I co-owned and managed with my husband.
And guess what?
We didn’t pay a single penny for advertising. And our project was a HUGE, HUGE success.
Would you like free publicity for your project or book? Here’s 11 tips for you to follow.
I already knew quite a few writers who would be interested in our e-magazine project. Once we’d got our website up and running, I contacted them with information about our e-mag. We needed to fill our pages with fiction and articles for the first issue. All it took was a brief mention on their blogs and websites, and the material began to flood in!
2. Send out press releases to local media
Make sure you grab all press attention. After you’ve emailed a press release to your local newspaper, a reporter may come out and interview you. They could bring a camera to take photos; so once a date has been arranged, choose a casual but smart outfit for the occasion. After you’ve sent a PR to local radio stations, be prepared. Some might ask you take part in a phone interview, instead of visiting the studio. It’s normal to feel nervous about this, yet don’t let this put you off.
Never turn down any promotional opportunity, because it may lead to more interest. (Don’t forget to contact hospital radio too!)
3. Set up a free website or blog
We decided to pay for our website, but there are plenty of free ones available. It’s fairly easy these days to set up a site or blog – you simply pick a template and a background image. Once you have established an online presence, you can fill your web space with book promotion, features, interviews with other writers, guest bloggers, giveaways etc.
Be generous to other writers – if you offer them free publicity for their book/project, in return, they’ll help you. And leaving comments on each other’s blogs is a subtle yet effective way of making your mark. If people click on your name out of curiosity, the link automatically takes them to your website/blog.
4. Post on social media regularly
Be a real Facebook friend – support others by clicking LIKE a lot and posting upbeat messages such as ‘Take care’, ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Good luck’ etc. It’s about having a good online reputation. Also, consider having more than one FB or Twitter account to promote your book or project. We had three FB accounts and we invited people to like them all.
Introduce yourself to new FB friends. If you can’t post on their FB wall, send them a private message instead.
Post regularly – and I don’t mean twice a week! It’s about creating an online buzz.
5. Set up a links swap on your site or blog
Swapping links is a quick, free and easy way to generate publicity. It helps spread the word for both parties. Surfers often visit the links page, because there might be something there that captures their interest. It’s a concept that’s well worth considering. And it’s totally FREE!
6. Contact local and national literary projects
I was surprised at just how many literary-based projects there are in my area. Small projects like these are always looking for fresh material, as they need to offer variety to their online readers. Bear in mind that some organisations send out a monthly email newsletter too. This is sent out to hundreds, if not thousands of people – and you and your book/project will almost certainly be mentioned.
7. Write a short story and send it to an online fiction project
Search for online projects that publish a good standard of fiction. They usually require a brief bio and an author photo with your story. In your bio, mention your book/project. Make sure you include a link to your site/blog too. If your story’s selected for e-publication, you could scoop a brand new readership.
8. Offer to do a talk
Writer’s groups and community-based groups need new speakers. Okay – I confess – this idea isn’t completely free – you may have to fork out for petrol and/or travel fares. On the plus side, you’ll have a willing audience of up to 20 folk at one time. If you’re not particularly well-known, you probably won’t be offered a fee for your talk. Take plenty of copies of your book along and make sure you hand out business cards and flyers at the end.
9. Write to a magazine’s letters page
As our project was an e-magazine, I thought it might be of interest to tech geeks, as well as writers and readers of fiction, so I took a gamble and emailed a letter to a national UK web-based magazine.
To my surprise, my letter got published! And that particular publication went on to support us by publishing more of my letters, with a link and a website image thrown in. It may only be a few lines, yet a few lines in a national publication is not to be sniffed at.
10. Write articles for an e-magazine or small press magazines
E-magazines and small publications are looking for content to fill their pages. If you pen a brief, interesting piece about what inspired you to write your book etc, then this is another form of free publicity for you. Bear in mind that some e-mags are subscription only – but some aren’t. Make it easy for the editor and provide links to your book on Amazon, links to your site/blog, book cover images, photos of you and a bio.
11. Do a blog tour
Doing a blog tour means guest blogging on a series of other people’s blogs, so it’s good to find as many you can! Make sure you actively welcome other guest tours on your blog too. New guest blogs offer readers/subscribers something fresh to read, it fills the blog space and gives you a rest from your usual blog writing.
It’s all free publicity!
So there you go. I hope I’ve given you some ideas. You don’t need to fork out a fortune for publicity.
So what’s stopping you? Get writing that press release today!
Thank you so much Sharon for guest blogging with us today, it has been a pleasure. We hope to see you back again soon. I hope that you have been inspired to get yourself some free publicity for your book/work today.
You can check out Sharon’s e-book anthology for the RSPCA – Paws for Thought: 27 Tail Thumping Stories – here:
There’s a wide selection of fiction – from ghost, crime and twist in tales, to the light-hearted and upbeat. And, of course, there are stories that feature animals.
Sales from this Kindle anthology will help raise funds for the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield & District Branch. It’s priced at £2.99.
You can also read Paws For Thought on any tablet or smart phone if you download the free Kindle app from the Google Play Store.
For more information, please visit: http://ryecorn.orgfree.com
The above site is mobile friendly and can be viewed on a computer, a tablet or a smart phone.
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