After you've written "The End" on your manuscript and sent the file to your publisher, what next? Just a short few years ago, the answer would be start your next project.
With the increased importance of e-book sales, the demise of many of the large bookstores like Waldenbooks and Borders, and a market flood of all kinds of books, everything has changed. While you must still prepare to start your next project, now you need to create a major promotional plan as well.
1. Develop a presence on the Internet. Be involved. Be interested. Join groups of writers whose work is in or close to your genre. Be positive in what you say. The personality of a writer is evident in the comments that writer posts. People have long memories, and sometimes even an innocently conceived remark can be taken the wrong way. So choose your words wisely. You will need a Facebook page for both you and your book. You should have a Twitter account. Try to visit both sites once or twice a day. Check out the people who want to friend you or follow you. Friend and follow back those people who you feel comfortable having as followers and friends.
2. You will need both a Web site and a Blog. The Web site is the steady location to which you will direct your readers so they can learn more about you and your books. You should update your Web site periodically. Ideally, the site should contain a buy link for each of your books.
You can create one or more blogs for free. Blogger and Word Press are among the most popular. You will need to create a new post at least once a week. The Facebook and Twitter icons at the end of your new post make it easier to announce it. Choose a theme and post with the theme in mind at least periodically.
3. Create an impressive and useful Blog by taking a class or reading articles. Dani Greer offers occasional Blog Book Tour courses and also has helpful articles and tips available for free on the blog site.
4. Plan a Blog Book Tour. You will need to research blogs that feature writers in your genre. Also, you will want to find readers' blogs. After all, these are the people you really want to reach. Once you discover appropriate blogs that have good traffic and comments, then contact them and see if they are willing to host you during a one- or two-week blog tour.
5. Write Press Releases. Get the word out about your book the old fashioned way. Tell about your new book with a brief blurb. Make your press release appealing by focusing on an unique aspect about you or your book. Attract the editor's interest.
6. Write an Article about the location where your book is set or about some unusual aspect of the plot. If your book happens to be a reincarnation story, write on that subject. Become an expert on a subject important to your book.
7. Become a speaker for meetings of local organizations, conferences, libraries, etc. Let people know about your areas of knowledge. Put your speaking topics up on your Web site. Be sure contact information is easily accessible.
8. Make new Business Cards, Brochures, Flyers, Posters. Have them ready for your personal appearances everywhere.
9. Get new Photographs taken of you, the author. If you don't have someone who can take good photos, hire a professional. You'll be amazed at how often you will need these pictures, especially for your internet blog appearances and for your press releases.
10. Consider every possibility. Radio shows, television, blog radio. The list keeps growing. Be sure to write down all the ideas you have.
All of this promotional effort will take a lot of time, so don't forget to keep on writing--a little each day--on that next book.