Wednesday, May 3, 2017

This is a Public Service Announcement…

One of the most difficult things for an author—especially an “indie” or “small press” author—to do is actually connect with people who might want to purchase and read his/her book.

Of course there are all manner of people and groups out there who offer to promote your work. Generally for a fee. And that’s fine. Whether they actually work or not, I couldn’t say—that’s for someone else to weigh in on (comments on this are welcomed below…) But my focus today is on a couple of things you, as an author, can do that won’t cost you anything but a bit of time.

The first is one is Indie Author Day, an annual event inaugurated in 2016 which is focused on a day of celebration and inspiration dedicated to indie authors. In 2016 over 250 libraries across 45 states participated in this event (held, oddly enough, on Columbus Day weekend). Even with the holiday weekend (and the advent of Hurricane Matthew in the southern states, Indie Author Day reports that 3000+ authors, readers, fans & community members attended events.

Planning for Indie Author Day 2017 is already well underway, with the official event scheduled for October 14th (the weekend after the Columbus Day holiday). There are already a significant number of libraries signed up to participate (you can find the list here). I just convinced my local library to sign up, and I’ll be working with the adult services librarian and our local author community to set up programs for the event. I would urge you to contact your library and encourage them to host an event. It’s a great way to connect writers with readers right in their own community.

The second is Hometown Reads, a community dedicated to serving local authors across the country, by helping them connect with readers in their hometown through what they call the Read Local movement. Their site is the first of its kind to organize authors by local community, a design that is intended to facilitate both networking for authors and exposure/connection to more readers. Hometown Reads is eager to add new locations and authors to their listings as they showcase books and help readers discover books written by local authors.

Both Indie Author Day and Hometown Reads are relatively painless ways to increase your exposure and ultimately your fan base (and people who will not only buy your next book, but encourage their friends, relatives, and co-workers to buy it as well). That personal connection is worth its weight in wombats.

All right, I’m done. You may go now…

Keith W. Willis is a semi-professional word-wrangler with a fondness for flannel shirts. He thus is resigned to never appearing on a book cover. He lives in the upper Hudson Valley region of NY, where he's certain the sounds attributed to Captain Hudson's crew bowling are really just the dragons grumbling. Keith is fortunate to have a wonderful and loving wife who not only puts up with his writing but generally encourages it. When it doesn't get the way of their cut-throat Scrabble games, that is.

Keith is the author of the award-winning fantasy/romance Traitor Knight (Champagne Books). His newest work,Desperate Knight, which contains 50% more dragon, and no shirtless heroes, will be released in Summer 2017.  


Veronica Helen Hart said...


Two very interesting possibilities. I shall talk to our local library community representative this week! And I'd heard of Hometown Reads but had no idea that it was really effective. I'll have to get back to the lady who approached me at a book signing and talk more with her.

Thank you so much for these ideas and the mention in your column.