Dare to Bare (all!)

Where is the centerfold?

Like many authors, I spend huge amounts of time on-line building up a strong network, getting ‘likes’ for my Facebook page, attracting followers, reading up and producing profiles on Amazon, Linkedin, GoodReads and many other sites.

I have networked so much that my typing fingers have gone stiff, my eyes hurt and I require a cushion to support my back. However, it’s what we do to get recognition and sales. You need to be ‘out there’. You need to be making your presence felt, getting people to notice you and here at Indies Unlimited we have many opportunities to help you improve your social networking skills. I have taken advantage of them all. I religiously work through each tutorial and the results are impressive.

Having now spent the best part of three years promoting my books, I have finally discovered something very valuable that I wish to share with you. To get noticed or ‘ahead of the game’ you need more than all of this. You need to be different. You need to stand out from all the hundreds of thousands of other authors there are also vying for reader’s attention.

That point was made blatantly obvious to me after I badgered all the local newspapers recently to let them know I had a new release being launched at a local bookshop. To ensure I piqued their interest I told them about the five awards for humour I had won and how I had even secured a two book deal with a publishing company who would release the eBook version of my latest release.

Convinced I had an interesting story, I followed up my emails with a phone call to see if they would like to interview me or mention the book launch. After three attempts with three newspapers I managed to secure an interview with a local newspaper that has quite a decent distribution. I punched the air with my fist. Recognition at last!

On the day in question I took along two of my novels and my large silver medal that I had won for Best Indie Book. The female reporter sat me down and opened up her notepad ready to make notes. She looked tired already and it was only 10am.

“We’ve got four authors launching new books in town this month. How are you different to them?” she asked.

I explained about the humorous side of the novels, the awards and the publishing deal. I added my piece de resistance, that my latest novel was a Costa Award nominee. She just nodded blankly. “The author who did a launch last week used her elderly parent’s burial money they’d been saving all their lives to fund publishing her book,” she continued. “She brought them along to the launch where they looked suitably frail and yet very proud of her. What will make your book launch different?”

“I suppose I could get the Town Crier to announce it loudly outside the bookshop in full regalia.”

“That’s been done before.”

“I could have a raffle and give away a large basket containing free copies of the book with a large bottle of champagne.” She shook her head.

“Get some young men and women to dress up in swimwear, carry surfboards and lure people in?”

She looked marginally more interested.

“Run naked down the cobbled high street wearing only stilettos and shouting ‘Come and get my new book’?”

“Ah, now that is newsworthy,” she said and got her pen ready to write it down.

“No, I’m not going to do that,” I continued.

She sighed.

“Oh well, it’s a quiet month for news. The persistent rain has meant all the agricultural shows have been cancelled and there isn’t much else going on, so I suppose we could take a photo of you with your large medal. Some people might think it’s an Olympic medal. We’ll do a short article. Pity you won’t do the naked thing though. I could really use that.”

On-line I have worked tremendously hard to increase my twitter followers. It takes time and effort. 1800 followers seemed pretty good to me. Apparently, that’s not good enough. You need thousands of followers to hit people’s radar. One PR company succeeded in promoting a young author because she got 220,000 followers on Twitter in only one month.

How about a successful blog? I worked tirelessly to attract people to mine. I have over 1000 regular subscribers and posts get about 500-800 hits a time. I thought that was decent traffic but I learned that you need thousands of hits a day to be different and get noticed. Only then will you stand out.

What can you do? You could try to get a celebrity endorsement for your novel but I am still waiting for mine. I guess I was a bit ambitious sending my novels to her Majesty.

Try to link up with charities if it is relevant. One fellow author wrote a romantic novel. One of the characters in it has an autistic child who is helped and begins to be more independent thanks to a lovable dog trained to assist children like this. Her book supports that dog trust. That in turn makes it more interesting to the press. It is not just another romantic comedy.

Another author I know succeeds in getting press coverage because she only started writing in her sixties. So if you too have just started writing in your latter years, let people know. Be proud of the fact.

Your book may be fantastic but you will need to engage your audience and certainly if you want the press to notice you, you will have to come up with something juicy or interesting for them. The press loves controversy. Be daring. If your book touches on controversial subjects make sure the press know about it.

You are the best promoter of your work so don’t be afraid to sell yourself. If you need to delve into your dark and murky past to promote yourself, then go for it. I have settled on finally discussing a subject that I have kept private for most of my life. I have confessed that humour and writing saw me through dark times when a spinal procedure went wrong in my twenties and I found myself paralysed for some time. Determination, humour and several operations saw me through it. I went on to attack life with vigour, took up kick boxing, scuba diving, flying and retrained to become a personal trainer to help others like me. Hitherto I wouldn’t have mentioned this to anyone but now my books need sales, so this is no time to be a Greta Garbo and claim you “want to be alone!”

Having a back story (in my case it really was a ‘back’ story!) is now working for me. The press is showing interest in me. Articles are beginning to appear in the media, I have been invited onto radio shows, appear on other blogs and I have more interviews lined up.

Make sure you also stand out from the crowd. Encourage people to find you interesting. My novels attempt to encourage others to enjoy life. If people know why I write them and then it helps sell those books. If however, that fails and sales begin to dwindle, I shall be looking for a nice pair of Jimmy Choo shoes and practising my sprinting ready to charge down the high street, butt naked, waving copies of my novels at startled passers-by.

Author: Carol Wyer

Carol E Wyer is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and an award-winning and best-selling author of humorous novels including MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES, SURFING IN STILETTOS, and HOW NOT TO MURDER YOUR GRUMPY. Carol has been featured on NBC News, BBC Radio, and in The Huffington Post. For more about Carol, go to her website or her Amazon author page.

29 thoughts on “Dare to Bare (all!)”

  1. Good overview Carol.
    So if I don’t bare my body (no one would want to see THAT anyway) I need to bare my dark history or play the age card. What a choice – my age or my soul. lol.

  2. Interesting ideas. Thanks for sharing them. I’ve been toying with the idea of putting more personal interest stories up on my blog and your advice gives me some ideas on how to go about doing that. 🙂

  3. I appreciate that you would wear Jimmy Choo heels to run in. Just watch the cobble stones.
    There are several “clothing optional” neighborhoods in Florida. Perhaps a naked, group book-signing would be good for promotion. I’m sure you could wear your medal. 🙂

  4. Carol, I HAVE put my soul in my novel – don’t all authors reveal who they are no matter what genre they write? Or at least what has captured their minds for the moment. I’m preparing for my book launch, I know friends will come but others????. I wonder if all the social media effort is worth it? When I could be on to the next creation. Thanks for answering my question. It is – with a creative twist.

    1. It’s surprising how worthwhile the social networking is. If only five people turn up to an event – charm them -they’ll tell another ten etc. so be patient. I’ll be writing about that another time. Stick at it. Good luck.

  5. Thanks Carol, your advice is especially timely, for me.
    I have a reading/signing scheduled at our largest local bookstore on Oct. 3rd. I SHOULD be contacting local news publications, but have not done so. Thank you for sharing your experience and suggestions.

    1. Get your release out asap and find as many twitter groups or Facebook groups, on line newspapers etc in your area who might be interested in going to the signing and let them know. Next, take a deep breath and enjoy it. Good luck!

  6. Hmm, I don’t think running naked down Main Street would be a good idea- A. I live in the Bible Belt- so it probably wouldn’t be appreciated. And B. the police station is right there- I’m afraid I wouldn’t make it very far. Darn!

    But thanks for the insight, now I need to come up with a good angle.

  7. Very enlightening article, I am definitely going to take your suggestions to heart. Thanks for the insight, It is similar to the first time I saw a pitcher-pour milk carton, my first thought was, “Wow, is that simple, why didn’t I think of that.” Sometimes the best ideas are the ones right in front of your nose, a little work with a big pay-off.

    1. Doug – it is always the simple ideas that work the best and I’m afraid if you want to get noticed, or generate more sales, you really do have to work at it. Keep focused on the pay-off and it’ll give you renewed enthusiasm on those days when it is a little difficult to get going.

  8. This is something I struggle with. I’ve been told that my writing is so much better when I inject plenty of emotional content, but I am naturally reticent about emoting in public… yet I keep being drawn into doing it. Like a kind of self torture for introverts.

    1. I know what you mean, David. It is true, though, that real emotion gives writing in general, and yours in particular, more immediacy. It is what grabs the reader and helps us identify with the writing. I, too, shy away from it when I write about myself, but in my fiction it is easier as I can attribute the emotions and thoughts to a character of imagination- once removed, so to speak.

  9. My debut novel, Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, is going to launch on Monday the 17th, so it was with great interest I followed your post. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You have a great sense of humor coupled with neat ideas for promotion!

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