This post appeared in October of 2007. I thought it was worth repeating.
Do you write articles to promote your nonfiction book? If you don’t, you’re really missing out on an opportunity to strut your stuff. Your informative, educational articles help to position you as an expert in your field. Each article can also serve as a vehicle to promote you, your book and your services.
What if your book is a memoir or a novel? You can still write articles and stories designed to promote it. Here are some suggestions:
1: Offer book excerpts to appropriate magazines, newsletters and websites. Be sure to represent your material as an excerpt when you submit it. You may need to do a minor rewrite so that the piece has a beginning, middle and end.
2: Write new stories related to your topic/genre. For example, if your memoir or novel takes place in Nashville, come up with an article about a recent occurrence in that city or one featuring a little-known aspect of Nashville history. Maybe your memoir or novel features struggles with MS. Write a new story or an article with this theme.
3: Multiply your ideas. You will be amazed at how one idea, theme or topic can grow into hundreds once you get the hang of this concept. Let’s say that your story involves an eccentric woman with lots of cats, publicize your book through articles and stories on many aspects of cats: caring for a cat, unusual cat stories, how a cat colony works, profiles of cat people. Now take each of those topics and watch your list of article/story ideas grow: Under caring for a cat, there’s how to prepare when bringing a new cat home, cat-proofing a home, introducing the new cat to the resident pets, traveling with your cat, grooming the cat, the aging cat and so forth. You should be able to come up with at least a dozen article/story ideas related to your theme or sub-themes in just one attempt.
4: Look for ideas everywhere. Here’s where your observational skills will come in handy. Did you notice a cat wandering through the aisles at your local independent bookstore? Interview the bookseller about his shop cat. Maybe you saw someone walking a cat on a leash. Hey, there’s an idea to research and write about. I met a woman at a cat show once who had her cat dressed up in a little coat, hat, glasses and she was even carrying a cat-size purse. Wouldn’t cat lovers be interested in an article or even a fictionalized story about playing dress-up with your cat?
5: If you are promoting a novel, you probably have drawers full of short stories that you’ve written over the years. Dig them out, polish them up and start sending them to appropriate magazines.
Remember, the reason that you are writing these articles and stories is to position yourself as an expert in your field, gain credibility in your topic or genre and generate a following (readers) for your book. Make it your goal to write highly informative and/or entertaining articles or stories. And then include information about your book and yourself in the bio at the bottom of the article.
For details on submitting articles and stories for publication, read pages 217-219 in my book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author and on pages 112-114 in Publish Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. Available at Amazon.com in print and Kindle as well as other online and downtown bookstores.