Doing the promotion

 The research is done, the book written, the publisher is pleased with it, the cover is chosen, the blurb written and the printer has done his work. Publication day has arrived. Time to celebrate, yes? Well, no. There is still work to be done.

You need to let your readers know it is out there for them to buy and that’s where promotion comes in. As a child I was taught not to boast, no one liked a show-off. If you have done something praiseworthy, then let that something speak for itself. I remember my father telling me that in ancient Rome (or was it Greece?) it was a punishable offence to boast.

Consequently putting myself forward comes hard to me, as I suspect it does for many writers.But as things are today with literally millions of books out there to choose from, why should anyone pick up mine, especially if I do nothing to point out that it is available?

 Photo by kind permission of The Cambridge News

So, you persuade the local book shop to let you do a signing. This is my least favourite way of doing things. No one may come in the shop while you are there, or there may be a stream of people coming and going who look away when they see you sitting there beside your pile of books with a pen in your hand. Some might pick up one of the books, leaf through it and put it down again. You have to pluck up your courage to speak and sometimes that results in a sale. Sometimes you have an interesting conversation and still no sale. But will they remember you afterwards? 

The next thing is to contact the local newspaper and ask for a review of the book and/or an interview. If they have already done a piece about you for previous books, then you need to tell them why this is different, a hook on which to base the article. You are at the mercy of the reporter here; sometimes they do a good job and sometimes manage to get things wrong. You wish they would concentrate on the book and not on how old you are, but it is publicity for your book, all grist to the mill.
You fill in the form to have yourself put on the local Women’s Institute list of speakers and that can lead to other groups getting in touch with you. ‘So and so enjoyed your talk and will you come and speak to our group?’ Sometimes you need to search them out yourself.


A launch is different, you give a short talk, usually after the shop has shut in the evening, and invite questions. A joke or two against yourself often helps; laughter is a great way of engaging with an audience. And it is very gratifying to have a full house.

And then there’s the electronic side of things. There’s a world out there, a huge ocean, not just your own little pond, and a stone thrown into it causes ripples that spread far and wide. I have a website which I keep up to date and post blogs, not only on my own site, which is new, but as a guest on others, but I still cannot bring myself to tweet, especially as blatant promotion is frowned on and may have a negative effect. I haven’t the time to engage in meaningless chatter. I have another book to write. And that’s what I like best.