Many people assume that once a book is published, the author has only to sit back and relax while the publisher arranges book signings, tours and media interviews. I blame Hollywood for this misperception. Think of those movie scenes in which the newly published sensation sits at an autograph table in a bookstore with a line of adoring fans spilling out the door.
In the real world, authors–in collaboration with their publisher–are expected to do a lot of the promotional legwork. Since the publication of The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare on 1 June, I have completed/scheduled 15 book signings and public lectures, done 4 radio interviews, written 3 guest blogs and participated in an online chat. I have contacted over 100 Shakespeare organizations, 40 bookstores and 20 media outlets that might be interested in my book. I have distributed approximately 500 postcards (kindly supplied by my publisher) featuring the book cover and end0rsements.
Welcome to the world of hustling your book!
The faces of aspiring writers almost always fall when I convey this information at a speaking engagement or writers’ conference. But if you’re serious about making your book a success, expect to spend a hefty amount of time, effort and your own money on promotion. Moreover, you need to start a good three months before the book comes out so you can hit the ground running on the publication date.
By the way, if you haven’t yet booked me for a signing or presentation at your college, conference, literary or Shakespeare event, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I still have a few open dates.