Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Publicity Manager Adria Iwasutiak & Author Brian Francis on the Top Mistakes Writers Make in Self-Promotion

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Publicity Manager Adria Iwasutiak & Author Brian Francis on the Top Mistakes Writers Make in Self-Promotion

You've done it. You've written a book, gotten a publisher, and it's time to get the word out to readers. But how exactly does that work?

For some writers, tooting their writerly horns comes easily. For others, not so much. Some are afraid that if they promote themselves, they’ll annoy people. They’ll sound like carnival barkers. They’ll cheapen what they hope is quality work.

But self-promotion doesn’t have to shameless or tacky. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly important — and expected — for writers to build their author platforms even before their first book comes out.

That said, there are certain things you should avoid. In advance of their Promoting Your Writing IFOA workshop on Saturday, November 8, author Brian Francis and Random House publicity manager Adria Iwasutiak offer their top mistakes authors make when self-promoting.

Top Mistakes Writers Make When Self-Promoting

Brian’s Top Mistakes:

  1. Selling you instead of your book
    Okay, so you’ve published a book. A huge accomplishment. But don’t assume that people, namely strangers, will automatically be interested in you. People pay attention to things that are relevant to them. So get them interested in what your book is about. Consider the content, topic and issues your book raises. Use those as the starting points to engage others.
  2. Treating writing like it’s a hobby
    For most of us, writing isn’t all that lucrative. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Present yourself professionally at all times. Have a good author photo taken (sorry, your vacation photo isn’t going to cut it). Hire a designer to help with your website. Dress up for a reading. How you perceive yourself – and your writing – is how others will perceive you.
  3. Being a jerk
    Well, maybe not a jerk. But old-fashioned niceness goes a long way. The publishing industry is small and you should maintain positive working relationships with everyone. That doesn’t mean you have to be schmoozy and fake, but it does mean carrying yourself with a bit of class. Send thank you cards, acknowledge favours and try to be friendly with everyone. You never know if the next person you meet will be the one to give you your big break.

Adria’s Top Mistakes:

  1. Spreading yourself too thin on social media
    There is increasing pressure for authors to be active on social media but it’s about quality and not quantity. Social media is about engagement, dialogue and celebrating your writing as a living and breathing thing. You don't have to be everywhere if you're in one place doing it well.
  2. Not practicing good book karma
    Shop at your favourite bookseller(s) and get to know the staff. Go to readings and festivals. Get to know authors and event organizers. Buy other author's books. Share people's good news on your social media platforms. Learn from everything you take in. And hope that you create some wonderful relationships.
  3. Responding to negative reviews or comments
    It's a trap. Never do it. Ever. Send your rant to your best friend and then buy them a drink for listening.

And don't miss the chance to learn more from Brian and Adria in their workshop. Visit the IFOA website for more information.

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