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Marketing your book when you are stuck at home

Publishing during the pandemic quarantine means shifting the plans you had put into place to promote your book. Swallowed by a Secret was published January 21, 2020, and the events I had lined up in the spring never happened.

So, I turned my focus to social media as the only available avenue to try to get my book in front of people. I had a Facebook launch party with three other authors, and I also tweeted, and then tweeted some more, about the book. I did an Instagram live interview, had a book trailer prepared, and went on an Itsy Bitsy Book tour on Instagram to generate more reviews. There was modest success for all these efforts.

During all this, I often questioned the time one has to spend on social media to keep your name out there and wonder if it’s worth it. Putting all those hours into creating graphics or posting photos might be more productive writing and reading. But, as the British say (I watch a lot of British mystery shows), “Needs must.”

On the positive side, I have found kindred spirits in other authors experiencing the same difficulties who are willing to share what they think works and what is most likely an epic fail. The authors, who are published by Immortal Works like I am, are such a supportive group. I learn so much from them and from the IW team that backs us all up.

For example, through them I found out which book awards are open to those of us by a small traditional publisher. The major publishing houses have a lock on many of the book awards. I heard about Readers’ Favorite and entered my book. It thrilled me that Swallowed by a Secret won the gold medal for Children’s Mystery for 2020, almost as great as winning an academy award. It is so validating.

Whenever I have a chance to get my book out to the public, I plunge in with both feet. Swallowed by a Secret will appear in the catalogue of Rhode Island authors for 2020 and on a Bookstop page on the SCBWI website.

Promotion and marketing are a constant and require much time and lots of creativity to find to take advantage of opportunities. I’m sure some authors might love, or at least, don’t mind the time they put in on that, but for others, and not just me, it’s a drag. I’m in that latter group of authors and would much rather be working on my next manuscript.

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