Every writer knows that writing the book and selling it to a publisher is only part of the project. You have tons of work to market what you’ve created. There are all sorts of online ideas for enticing readers to buy your book, and that’s great, but when I thought about my own book buying habits, I had to admit that I don't like social media as the only way to showcase my work.
Other authors say the same thing. Here’s what one author wrote just recently.
“I don’t wait to buy a book until I read the first chapters in the library or a bookstore. I buy a lot of books that I haven’t read one sentence in. Since Amazon, I buy a lot books I’ve never picked up in my hands.”
So why do many people buy books?
- They’ve heard the author speak.
- They’ve gone to a book signing.
- A friend said, “Don’t miss this one.”
One great personal way to put your book into the hands of readers is to do a workshop. I’ve done several of these. Some for young adults and more recently, with the release of my Middle Grade novel, for eight to twelve-year-olds.
|These writers are my readers, too. And I love knowing them.|
This year I did a Young Writers’ Workshop at our town center. Twenty, eight to twelve year-olds attended, and every one of them wrote a story or created a draft of a story, so they had a taste of the process. I created the workshop around three simple premises.
- In the beginning, the main characters must want or need something badly.
- In the middle, the main characters can’t get what they want or need. Every time the reader thinks that might happen, snatch that something away.
- In the end, the main characters either succeed (happy ending) or fail (sad ending) to get what they want or need.
The workshop is about four hours and when they’re done they at least have an idea about the structure of a story and what holds a reader’s interest. That’s a great time to let these readers hear your first chapter.
|They write amazing stories.|
I read once that you don’t have to do much to persuade people to buy your book. Readers only need a single reason. So at the end of the workshop, I read the first chapter of my book and ask them if I’ve done what I told them to do in the beginning part of their stories? I ask if they like my characters based on this brief sample. And I always ask them to guess what they think will happen in the middle? In the end?
I’ve created curiosity. I’ve created the single reason for someone to want to read my story. I never take home any unsold books. The kids have the experience of getting their own autographed copy, and each year I have at least four who return to do the workshop again. The only problem I have is writing a new book in time for that next workshop.
Have you had a chance to meet your readers in person? What was your experience? Do you prefer in-person promotion or social media online? Any hints for other writers who are telling about their books?
There's a new group of Young Adult authors that is offering some
books for the teen+ reader. I hope you'll take a look and spread the word.