Keep the Ray-Bans Handy: Understanding the World of Book Promotion

By Brian Francis

(c) Paula Wilson

(c) Paula Wilson

Like many authors, especially ones just starting out, I always considered getting my novel published to be the finish line. As soon as it hit the shelves, thousands—if not millions—of readers would be clamouring to the bookstore, demanding my latest work of fiction. I’d wear sunglasses during radio interviews and suffer from jet lag. I’d build shelves to showcase my awards and tactfully critique the movie versions of my novels.

Gosh, it doesn’t take long for dreams to die.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy writing or consider myself unsuccessful, but the reality of the book business has tempered my naïveté. I’ve come to realize that publishing a book is really just one part of the writer’s journey. There’s a whole other world post-publication that many of us aren’t prepared for: the world of promotion.

Publicity 101, a workshop taught by me and Random House of Canada publicity manager, Adria Iwasutiak, aims to give emerging and pre-published authors an understanding of that world. And when you consider that most writers only have the attention of a book publicist for a short window of time (you should see the number of books one publicist is responsible for), you quickly realize that promoting your book, in many ways, ultimately comes down to you. This is especially true for self-published authors who don’t have the benefit of a publicist.

The good news? Promoting your book effectively doesn’t mean wearing a sandwich board (although don’t let me stop you). But it does take some navigation and know-how. That’s the aim of Publicity 101—to give you some tools and tips to maximize your promotional efforts, including social media, networking and reaching readers. At the very least, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of book promotion and what it entails.

The better prepared you are for all aspects of your writing career, the better your chances of success. Don’t throw away those Ray-Bans just yet.

Publicity 101 takes place March 16 at the Harbourfront Centre. Register here.

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