How to be an Author, or the Need to Advertise

Just read a column in the Careers section of this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “How to Be an Author.” For those interested in writing the great American novel, look elsewhere. This article is how to promote your book once it’s been published. Here’s a summary of their advice and what I’ve done to follow it:

Talk to Your Publisher’s Publicity Department.

Yes, I did that and dutifully filled out the author’s questionnaire. This isn’t a trade book so I’m not expecting to get on Oprah, or even Fresh Air, although I did make the Tri-Town Post! And, my buddy Gil has booked me for the Central Authors Series on local access TV.

Make the Net Work for You.

Yup, got it on my blog — for the dozen or so folks who read it! Seriously, I also posted an announcement on several listservs and got a bunch of hearty congratulations from by friends around the country (and Canada). I did have some trepidation (like many women) about “tooting my own horn” but in reply to my reservations, received the following reply from someone on WMST-L:

Tooting your own horn can be a public service — that is why you wrote
the book — to serve an audience like the students and faculty on my
campus (and others). It’s very important to let us know that the
material is there — think of how much time and effort you took and how
little we have to pay for all your work.

The rest of the article has advice about going out and giving lectures, making your work accessible to the general public, being realistic about sales, and so forth. So, I shall endeavor to get the word out without looking like a shameless self-promoter!

Go Out and Dramatize.

Check — was on the program for the AHA, will also be appearing at the Berkshire Conference on Women’s History in the summer.

Be Seen.

This means getting gigs at universities — better call up the ones where I did my research . . .

Don’t Get Flustered, Get Coherent.

This involves handling difficult questions.  I may be able to avoid this by NOT lecturing about contraception at Catholic institutions . . .

Inscribe, Dedicate, Thank.

Check — I am always a gracious guest!

Consider Trading Your Labor for Books.

Just as long as they pay my way to the gig!

Be Realistic About Sales Potential.

My husband said the same thing — I’ll be happy if the print run isn’t remaindered!

Stay in Touch.

Our public relations folks are terrific in this regard, although it helps I’m a nudge myself.

Open Up.

Be ready to speak to nonspecialists — well, the book was written with them in mind.

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