By Julie Flanders
I know I’m not alone among writers when I say that marketing and promotion does not come naturally or easily to me. But as we all know, our books don’t sell themselves and our work doesn’t end when our books are released. Marketing is a continuous and essential part of the publishing process.
Fortunately for writers like me, the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is a wonderful tool for marketing and promotion. I’ve known since my first A-Z in 2011 that the challenge was a great way to network with other bloggers, make new friends, and increase traffic to my site. This year, I learned that it can also be an invaluable resource for marketing a book.
From the time I knew that my debut novel Polar Night would be released in February of this year, I knew that I was going to tie the book in with my challenge posts in some way. But I didn’t want to come off as one of those writers (we’ve all seen them, I’m sure) who post or tweet nothing but declarations about the greatness of their books and tell us all to buy them, over and over (and over!) again.
The A to Z April Challenge gave me a great opportunity to showcase my book without even posting that much about the book itself. As Polar Night takes place in Alaska, I wrote an A to Z of Alaska and shared interesting and fun tidbits I had learned about the state. I had a good time researching and writing the posts and the visitors to my blog seemed to enjoy reading them.
I know of other writers who used this year’s challenge to market their books in interesting and creative ways. My friend Carol Kilgore of Under the Tiki Hut wrote several of her A to Z posts using the voices of the characters from her latest novel Solomon’s Compass, thus introducing readers to the world of her novel and the people who populate it. And my new friend Sheena-kay Graham, who I was fortunate to get to know through this year’s challenge, shared tantalizing hints and tidbits about The Sacrifice Series, her series of novellas which will be released beginning in the fall of 2013. These are just two of many great examples.
I’ve said many times that joining the A to Z in April Challenge for the first time in 2011 was the best blogging decision I’ve ever made. There’s no question that it was also one of the best writing decisions I’ve ever made. If I am fortunate enough to have another book published, I know one of the first things I will start thinking about is how I can work that book into a challenge theme, just as I did with Polar Night.
The opportunities that come along with participating in the challenge are limited only by our own imaginations, and I will always encourage any writers I meet to sign up and participate. I don’t believe anyone will regret it.
About the Author: Julie Flanders is a writer and a librarian who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie shares her home with her dog and cat and, when not writing fiction, she loves to write about animals and animal-related issues. Her debut novel, the paranormal suspense thriller Polar Night, is now available from Ink Smith Publishing. Find Julie online at http://julieflanders.blogspot.com.