Here are Catherine’s best tips for publishers and authors to promote their books:
Brain Lag publishes a range of speculative fiction books, mainly novels with some short story collections. Catherine Fitzsimmons, owner of Brain Lag, shares her experience with standing out in a highly competitive publishing industry.
Tip one: Release new titles
The best strategy for us has been to continue releasing more new books. New authors and new genres widen our audience appeal and a steady stream of new titles keeps Brain Lag in the spotlight. That's why we're always happy to receive new submissions, as well as getting the opportunity to help more authors, especially emerging authors, to further their writing careers. There are a lot of fantastic books out there waiting to be discovered - yours could be one of them.
Tip Two: work with a publicist
Being a small fish in a very large pond, simply getting books in front of the right audience can be challenging. We have a publicist who has been working hard promoting our books, and we send out a number of advance review copies to interested parties prior to publication to generate interest in upcoming titles. Pre-release reviews are also an excellent avenue to explore, as reviewers and book bloggers already have an audience of like-minded readers.
Tip Three: organise virtual events
In the times before COVID-19, we often had booths at book fairs and conventions, particularly in the local Toronto area. Now, we are spending more time joining and organizing online events, which open up the audience immensely.
Since it has been unsafe to gather over the past year, a number of conventions and festivals - which are the lifeblood of many creators' income--have held virtual events instead, using a combination of methods often centering around videoconferencing software like Zoom for panels and presentations. These not only allow the convention experience to continue (if a little differently), but it is more accessible, available anywhere in the world, and in ways less stressful for presenters and attendees both. What could be better than taking in a great panel by professional authors from the comfort of your own home?
Brain Lag has also been hosting livestreamed launch parties for our new releases. In fact, authors and attendees both have been enjoying these so much that we'll continue holding virtual launch parties even when we can gather safely in person again.
Tip Four: work with authors
[As an author, you should] write the best book you can. There are a number of different things we like, but ultimately, we're looking for a great story first. Be professional in your submission, but don't be afraid to add a personal touch. Make certain your synopsis clearly but concisely summarizes the story.
The more experience you get, the better your writing will become and the more comfortable you will become with the entire process, and with the inevitable rejections. While nothing replaces a professional editor, getting as many beta readers as you can who can give you honest feedback on your manuscript is invaluable. And most importantly, don't give up! Our latest author wowed us with her manuscript after 127 previous rejections.
Encourage authors to promote their books
Authors are always recommended to promote their own titles. Engaging with potential readers on social media is a great way to get the word out, and we try to post and share interesting content regularly and encourage our authors to do the same.
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