Sharon Boothroyd, along with her husband Keith, runs a free e-zine for fiction lovers called KISHBOO. The magazine has gone from strength to strength since its launch, and yet Sharon, as a canny Yorkshirewoman, has spent nothing at all on advertising.
Sharon kindly offered to share some of her promotional tips today. Thanks for dropping in with your advice, Sharon. (As a hard-pressed writer and fellow-Yorkshirewoman, you had me at the word “free”!)
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TEN WAYS TO GET FREE PUBLICITY
by Sharon Boothroyd
Every writer must take publicity seriously.
I’m the editor of a non- profit (yet successful) e-magazine KISHBOO We launched our project in October 2014 – and guess what?
We haven’t paid a single penny for advertising.
Would you like free publicity? Here’s ten tips for you to follow:
I already knew quite a few writers who might be interested in our new e-magazine project. Once we’d got our website up and running, I contacted them with all the information about KISHBOO, what we were looking for, the digital platforms we publish on, etc.
We needed to fill our pages of our e-magazine with fiction and articles.
All it took was a brief mention on their blogs, and the material began to flood in!
2 Send out press releases to local media
Make sure you grab all press attention!
After you’ve emailed a press release to your local newspaper, a reporter may come out and interview you. They could bring a camera to take photos, so be prepared and choose a nice outfit for the occasion.
Some radio stations might ask you take part in a phone interview, instead of visiting the studio. It’s normal to feel nervous about this, yet don’t let this put you off.
Never turn down any promotional opportunity, because it may lead to more sales or an increase in traffic to your site.
(Don’t forget to contact hospital radio too!)
3 Set up a free website or blog
We decided to pay for our website, but there are plenty of free ones available. We have another free site (It’s also mobile friendly) www.ryecorn.orgfree.com
It’s fairly easy these days to set up a site or blog – you simply pick a template for a background image.
Once you have established an online presence, you can fill your web space with book promotion, features, interviews with other writers, guest bloggers,comps, etc. Be generous to other writers – if you offer them free publicity for their book/project, in return, they’ll help you.
4 Use social media regularly
It important that you don’t just trot out ‘Buy my book’ (Although lots of people do)
There’s no harm in publishing your book blurb as a taster, yet please also be a real Facebook friend – support others by clicking LIKE a lot and posting Get well soon, Happy Birthday, Good luck, etc.
Also, consider having more than one FB page to promote your book or project. We have 3 FB accounts and we’ve invited people to like them all.
Tweet about a variety of different things too. It’s about gaining a good online reputation.
Post regularly – and I don’t mean twice a week! Create an online buzz – plan and hold launch parties and send out invitations to existing and new FB friends.
5 Set up a links swap on your site or blog
Swapping links is a quick, free and easy way to generate publicity. It helps spread the word for both parties. Lots of surfers often visit the links page – there might be something there that captures their interest.
It’s a concept that’s well worth considering. And it’s FREE!
6 Contact local Arts/Literary projects
I was surprised at how many arts/literary based projects there are in my area. They could offer you a one -off guest blog post.
Push yourself – small projects like these are always looking for fresh material, as they need to offer variety to their online readers. Bear in mind that some organisations send out a monthly email newsletter too.
This is sent out to hundreds, if not thousands of people – and you and your book/project will probably be mentioned in it.
You’ll be able to reach lots of potential new readers – and it costs you nothing!
7 Write a short story and send it to an online fiction project
There are lots of online projects that publish a good standard of fiction. They usually require a brief bio and an author photo – this is a fabulous chance to promote your book/project.
Make sure you include a link to your site/ blog. If your story’s selected for e-publication, you could scoop a brand new readership.
8 Offer to do a talk
Writer’s groups and other community based groups need new speakers. Okay – I confess – this idea isn’t completely free – you may have to fork out for petrol and/or bus fares. On the plus side, you’d have a willing audience of up to 20 folk at one time.
If you’re not particularly well- known, you probably won’t be offered a fee for your talk. Take plenty of copies of your book along and make sure you hand out business cards at the end. You can have fun designing and printing your own business cards on the PC.
9 Write to a magazine’s letters page
With it being an e-magazine, I thought KISHBOO might be of interest to tech geeks, so I took a gamble and wrote a letter to a national UK web based magazine.
To my surprise, it got published! And this particular publication has since gone on to support us by publishing more of my letters, with a link and a KISHBOO site image thrown in.
So if your book/project holds a strong angle – say, for instance, it features a cheeky kitten – send a letter to a cat magazine. It may only be a few lines, yet a few lines in a national publication is not to be sniffed at.
10 Don’t be scared to ask for reviews
I once cheekily posted on FB: ‘ I’d love to read reviews about KISHBOO on Amazon.’ To my utter amazement and delight, I later discovered that people had taken the time and trouble to do exactly that! And they were lovely reviews too.
I was so touched. So don’t be afraid of asking folk to review your book/project. You never know who will stumble across it.
So there you go. I hope I’ve given you some ideas. You don’t need to fork out a fortune for publicity.
So what’s stopping you? Write that press release today!
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Great advice, Sharon! I love your KISHBOO e-zine, too, and I’m not surprised it’s become such a success. Thanks so much for dropping in today and for sharing your tips.
If you’ve enjoyed Sharon’s post, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. And if you have any other tips of your own, we’d love to hear from you!