Three High-Tech Self-Promotions for Writers
There are many opportunities for writers to self-promote. I mention here three of the best ways: Amazon, Poets & Writers, and YouTube. Most of you have heard of these before, but did you know Amazon and Poets & Writers offer free publicly available pages to authors to list their publications, schedules, links to reviews, and much more? Did you know that YouTube offers free space to store your videos and make them available to the public; e.g., poetry or prose readings, lectures, and more?
Amazon Author Central
If you have one or more books available for sale on Amazon, you can use your normal Amazon account log-in to create an “Amazon Author Page.” After log-in you should then navigate to authorcentral.amazon.com in order to create your Author Central account (again using same username and password). Once the account is established, you may tag all the books you’ve authored. Those titles will then appear on your author page with graphics of the book covers and links to purchase. The author page lists both printed and kindle editions. These listings are tightly linked to the general book catalog of Amazon so that if you update your Author Central page, the main Amazon catalog is also updated and provides easy links back to your author page.
Listing your books is not the only feature of Author Central. You can also create a public calendar or schedule of your events, have summaries and links to your most recent blog posts (e.g., blogspot.com, wordpress.com) displayed on your page automatically, as well as other links. Another excellent perk is the ability to upload up to eight videos (e.g., readings, book signings, etc.).
You may supplement information shown for your book in the regular Amazon book listing. For example, you can enter blurbs for your books, and you’ll find other ways to make use of the supplemental features.
Poets & Writers
Poets & Writers (P&W) has been around much longer than Amazon and continues to be one of the very best resources for writers. Not only do the P&W folks print a bimonthly magazine chock full of information for writers, but they offer one of the bibles of the business, Directory of Poets and Writers. This publication lists eligible writers of all kinds and gives information about each one, including contact information, if the writer wishes such information to be public.
Like Amazon, P&W offers free page space to poets and writers listed in its Directory. If you are a publishing writer and are not already listed, you should apply because this is one of the most heavily used writers’ resources anywhere.
Unlike Amazon, you are not required to have published a book or chapbook. To be eligible for listing, you must meet or exceed P&W’s point rating requirement. A minimum of 14 points is required. You receive a certain number of points for each type of publication, such as books, chapbooks, magazines, journals, and anthologies. The point breakdown for credit is as follows:
- Each book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction (personal essays or memoirs) (12 points)
- Each chapbook (6 points)
- Each work of fiction or creative nonfiction (personal essays or memoirs) published in a literary journal, anthology, or edited Web publication (2 points)
- Each spoken word performance (not readings) (2 points)
- Each poem published in a literary journal, anthology, or edited Web publication (1 point)
You may apply online for a listing at the P&W website. First, you must create a free user account and then apply at the follow link: http://www.pw.org/writer/application
Once approved for a listing, you may update your profile, including your list of publication credits. That is, if you get an acceptance to the New Yorker, you can add it to your publication list. Like Amazon, you can create links (including links to reviews of your work), a schedule of your events, and supplemental information.
If you are a writer with enough credits, I highly recommend that you apply for a listing in the P&W Directory, even if you don’t make use of all the features it offers.
I have only just begun to explore the features of YouTube, so I will say the obvious for now. YouTube offers free space to upload your videos (readings, for example) and make them public or private. YouTube is owned by Google and is directly linked to your Google+ account, which is free and becoming more and more popular.
Once you have an account, you may wish to read through the YouTube documentation to see how best it can serve you. YouTube by default does not allow a video to exceed 15 minutes in length. However, all you have to do is request, via a link on YouTube, that this limitation be removed. My first and only video upload so far was about 25 minutes long.
It can take awhile to upload videos files, so be patient. I also recommend that you use Google Chrome to perform the upload and to make sure you have installed the latest version of Chrome, including its plug-ins and related applications. I had trouble uploading until I updated my Adobe flash player, for example.
Videos are an excellent way to promote your work. Unfortunately, few of us writers have taken the leap, though I see that situation changing slowly. I would love to see our official Netwest events recorded and uploaded to YouTube.
Check it out and see if you could benefit from YouTube.
Which Promotion Method Should I Use?
All of them, even beyond what is discussed here.
Examples and Links
Including my own pages as examples, here are some places to visit to get more information or ideas on adding your content to Amazon, P&W, and YouTube:
Author page for Robert S. King: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00724NI3I
P&W page for Robert S. King: http://www.pw.org/content/robert_s_king
YouTube video by Robert S. King: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Ua7DjYfGY
Amazon Author Central home page: http://authorcentral.amazon.com
P&W home page: http://www.pw.org
YouTube home page: http://www.youtube.com