19.1.12

Guestpost: 'What I Did To Promote My Book'

 Today I'm hosting a guest post from Sheila Dalton, author of 'The Girl in the Box', a psychological thriller published in 2011 and described as follows:

Caitlin Shaughnessy, a Canadian journalist, discovers that Inez, a traumatized young Mayan woman originally from Guatemala, has killed Caitlin's psychoanalyst partner, Dr. Jerry Simpson. Simpson brought the girl, who may be autistic, back to Canada as an act of mercy and to attempt to treat her obvious trauma. Cailin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can find the strength to forgive and move on with her life.

Inez, whose sense of wonder and innocence touches all who meet her, becomes a focal point for many of the Canadians who encounter her. As Caitlin struggles to uncover the truth about Inez's relationship with Jerry, Inez struggles to break free of the projections of others. Each must confront her own anger and despair. The doctors in the north have an iciness that matches their surroundings, a kind of clinical armour that Caitlin must penetrate if she is to reach Inez.

The Girl in the Box is a psychological drama of the highest order and a gripping tale of intrigue and passion.


I'm thrilled to present this to you all, as I think it gives an interesting description of the roles of the author, publisher, blogger and the internet in promoting and publicising a new book. Take it away, Sheila!


'The Girl in the Box, my new novel of psychological suspense, is the first book I have had published for which I was able to make use of the Internet for publicity and promotion.

At first I was at a loss. My last book before this one was a YA mystery, Trial by Fire, published in 1998, before social media really took off.

I began by asking my writer friends what they thought was important. Many had personal Facebook pages as well as pages for their books. So I created two pages, one for me, and one for The Girl in the Box. You can see it below, and please feel free to hit the “like” button! 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Girl-in-the-Box-a-novel/166826139999771 

The instructions are there on Facebook about how to do this, but I confess to borrowing a few books from the library to help.

I also had a website designed: www.sheila-anne-dalton.com, and a trailer made: http://www.sheila-anne-dalton.com/the-girl-in-the-box.html 

The next stop, and one of the most important for me, was to register as an author with Goodreads, and list my books, including the new one. Then I used their service to create a pre-pub giveaway, in which I agreed to send 3 signed copies to each of 3 winners in the States or Canada. I ended up with over one thousand entries, and more than 250 people added my book to their “to read” lists. Whether this will result in sales is still uncertain. But it was a thrill to see the numbers going up, and to know I reached so many people who might otherwise never have heard of me and my book.

I also signed up for Library Thing, and they also ran a giveaway in December. The difference here is that the publisher must organize the giveaway, and provide at least 15 copies, but they will include ebooks, unlike Goodreads. I was lucky that my publisher, Dundurn, agreed. The idea is to get the book into the hands of readers who are likely to enjoy it, and hope they tell their friends, and also leave reviews on both Library Thing and Amazon. At the time of writing, the contest is still going on, so, again, I have no idea how helpful it will turn out to be.

Goodreads and Library Thing both offer opportunities to post on blogs and forums, to “brag” about your book, announce its publication date, any contests or reviews, etc. You can also join groups that have nothing to do with your own work, but connect you to fellow readers and book enthusiasts. This pleasurable activity might not seem much like marketing, but it actually is. If you’re making friends, and not constantly “pushing” your own work, you will eventually reach more people, and not turn anyone off!

I also opened Linked In and Twitter accounts. I post links to helpful articles regularly on Twitter, but I’m still not sure how to use it to best effect, and I have only a few followers. I rarely used Linked In, or Shelfari, another social network I joined. I find I don’t have time for them all, and also it will take me a while to understand how some of them work. 

Once my book was published, I searched for bloggers, mostly through Goodreads, who were willing to review it.  I soon had 10 positive reviews on Amazon, so my book looks less lonely up there! I was also featured as a guest on many blogs, did interviews and posts, and met up with various people who did blog tours for authors in the process. I’m already in the middle of one, and have three more lined up (including this one). I love bloggers! Without them, it would be almost impossible to reach readers as far away as Australia and the U.K., among others.

And then, more traditionally, I had bookmarks made up, using a design provided by my publisher. Publishers used to provide the whole bookmark, but it seems those days are behind us, at least for mid-size Canadian publishers!

I spent about $700 on publicity and promo, which may sound like a little or a lot depending on your perspective. Social media  are free. My website and trailer cost money, as did the bookmarks. I hope the time, money and effort make a difference. I’m still learning.'
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