Whether you're just starting to plan your next non-fiction book or you've got a polished manuscript you're about to self-publish, writing and publishing shorter articles on the same topic can be a great way to generate interest and enthusiasm for your work.
Promote By Doing What You Do Best: Writing!
Self publishing typically means handling the majority of your book marketing as well, which can suck a lot of time away from the hours you've already committed to actually writing. Writing and sending out articles that support or expand the ideas in your book can keep you in the writing groove while simultaneously promoting your new project and building your name recognition. If you're not the kind of person who gets jazzed by writing a press release and jumping from one social media account to the next to promote your book, then this might be a more sane, reasonable approach for your book marketing plan.
Getting Started: Article or Excerpt?
First, consider whether you want to try to publish an excerpt from your book or a separate article that is still relevant to your book's subject matter. The goal is to provide readers with an entertaining, informative read that nonetheless keeps them wanting more. You should also consider the pros and cons of writing a "fresh" piece; this can be exciting and give you a boost of energy after completing a long book, but don't underestimate how long it can take to write a good pitch and complete an article for publication. You don't give away all the "good" stuff in an excerpt, but also avoid writing an article that's just a thinly veiled commercial for your book. Try to write a solid stand alone piece that will genuinely engage readers, then simply include the link for your book in your author's bio.
Next, it's time to pitch some editors of either online or traditonal brick and mortar publications. And yes, this is exactly the kind of stress you got to avoid when deciding to self publish! However, daily news, subject specific and culture publications thrive on variety, so if you've got a solid pitch, you have a good chance of getting that "yes" from a website or magazine publisher. Browse a site like Poets and Writers to get a sense of which print magazines are open to pitches for articles. You can also pitch local newspapers and magazines with an article that puts a regional spin on your subject matter. Many websites and blogs also accept pitches for articles, so if you have a site where you think the audience could be a good fit for your work, be sure to clearly read over the guidelines before contacting the editor. A good pitch is succinct and clear, and establishes that you are a professional author with a unique, well developed idea to share with readers. Be sure to include a professional bio that provides information on your current book project, and always follow up within a week or two to be proactive and get the ball moving!
Shifting from long form to short form can help energize your writing practice and hone your self-promotion skills, all while generating new connections and potential readers to introduce to your self published book. Start today and start building: piece by piece, reader by reader!
This is what I call a "natural strategy" for writers!
Keep the faith and may the force be with you!