Blogger: Kathleen Y’Barbo, Publicist
Location: The Woodlands, TX Publicity Office
Weather: Sunny and 75 degrees
Finding the time and skills to market your books are essential, but what about the cost? Publicity, by definition, is free. A mention on a blog, in a review, or an interview in print or on air should never come with a price tag. But how do you as an author avail yourself of all that free publicity? How do members of media come calling if they don’t know where to find you?
There are many ways to get known, but at what cost? If you’re like most writers, you’re counting every penny. So with that in mind, here are a few low-cost ways to get out the word:
1. First and foremost, you must have a website. Though you can spend as little or as much as you want on this, a site can be useful even if it’s not filled with fancy flash and multiple pages. Costs for web hosting and domain names should be carefully shopped, for there are many different pricing structures available. Don’t skimp here, even if your budget isn’t high. A good site can be utilitarian in nature and yet still effective. Post your press kit along with your coming events. Don’t forget book covers, if you have them.
2. Along with #1, an online presence isn’t complete without considering Twitter (www.twitter.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com), and Shoutlife (www.shoutlife.com), to name the more popular venues. Cost is zero for these high-traffic sites, but the marketing potential is limited only by the enthusiasm with which you take to the endeavor.
3. Blog. As with the social networks I’ve already mentioned, cost for blogging is low or even free, depending on who hosts your blog. Keep content fresh, appropriate to the type of writing you publish, and above all, interesting. Better to resist the urge to blog than to do it halfway. On the other hand, blog tours, which include reviews and book mailings, are a handy way of getting information out. Your cost is limited to the postage it takes to send your books.
4. Bookmarks and other printed materials. Postcard mailings can be expensive, so consider a few other ways to use the printed materials your house provides. My favorite tip is to throw a bookmark into everything you mail. Everything. Including bills. Why not? There’s a live body on the receiving end of that envelope–perhaps one who will go out and purchase your book.
These are but a few of my favorite tips. What about yours? What do you do that’s inexpensive or, better yet, free?