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Authors: Make Your Name Known

by Nann Dunne

We hear constant advice to push, push, push our book titles if we want sales toincrease. Letís face it, the author bears most of the responsibility for promoting his or her books. But how do we do that? Some suggest book signings, attendance at conventions, approaching bookstores, etc., and all of these have some merit. But thereís another way to achieve promotion that doesnít receive as much notice: instead of promoting your books, promote your name.

Many companies spend huge amounts of money for the express purpose of name recognition. They know people buy what they are most familiar with, and as long as the products are satisfactory, the customer will come back again and again. In this way, familiarity with the name breeds trust in the product and vice versa. So, how can an author trade on this tendency? By building a reputation as a knowledgeable writer/reviewer/editor for instance, so that his or her name becomes known and recognized in as many circles as possible.

With such easy access to the Internet, opportunities abound for the enterprising author to achieve name recognition. They all take time, and some take more effort or talent than others. Here are a few that come to mind:

1. Establish your own web site and tout yourself and your books there. If your ISP doesnít offer free web hosting, just type "free hosting" into and start looking. (Be aware that most free hosts will put ads or banners on your site, which can be distracting.) There are also some really reasonable hosts that will allow you to have your own domain for an extra charge. Explore the offerings thoroughly, then build your own site or find a friend who can build one for you.

2. Offer site visitors signed book plates and bookmarks if you have them.

3. Buy some books in your genre and write reviews for them that can be posted on bookseller sites like Amazon. This takes time, because you need to read the book. But if itís one you would like to read anyway, make use of this opportunity to get your name seen by other readers in that genre. Once you establish a reputation as a reviewer, it may be possible to solicit free books from authors with the express intention of providing a review.

4. Join lists, on or, for example, that have some connection with reading or writing. Participate! Many groups are happy to have published authors as their members, and some even provide feedback for you.

5. Visit sites of writers that you know or admire and sign their guestbook if they have one. Drop them an email with some encouraging words and invite them to visit your site and sign your guestbook.

6. Find web sites, preferably in your genre, that post author interviews and ask permission to send them yours for posting.

7. Find organizations of writers that are a good fit for you and join them.

8. Compose original articles about various phases of the writing craft, and submit them to ezines and newsletters that appeal to writers. Establish yourself as an expert in the craft.

9. Investigate bulletin boards related to writing. Lurk for a while to get a feel for their style, then post to a few. Ads are not allowed, but they do let you include a signature box below your name.

10. ALWAYS answer fan mail.

You might be able to find other ways to publicize yourself online. Whatever you think might help, give it a try. When people know your name, they are more likely to buy your book(s).

óNann Dunne
© 2003

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