In the old days, authors were not hugely involved in promoting their own books. The job was left to the publishers. Nowadays, thousands of books compete with each other on the shelf. Publishers can`t afford to promote every single author. So they accord their advertising budget to household-known authors who`ll bring in the sales. It means that most authors, who have not yet achieved best-selling status, have to promote their own works by creating activities and participating in events to bring attention to their books. The author has to make the effort of contacting newspapers, radio, bookshops, libraries, clubs, distributors etc to see if they want an article based on the subject of the book, give a talk, interview and whatever. It does not mean that when your book has been published, your work is finished. Gone are the days when the writer sits in Ivory-Tower isolation. You have to get out there in public-space to promote your book and yourself. If you don`t, no one will.
That`s why I`ve put together some sample events to show you how I promote my books. More than not, I would wear my Peranakan sarong-kebaya for my events. During winters, this was challenging so I had to wear winter-warmers underneath! Writing Press Releases have resulted in me being featured in newspapers every time a book of mine was released. When I won the Ian St. James Award, I was featured when I was short-listed, then again when I became one of the winners.
When you promote one book, all your other books get a spin-off promotion as well. For example, if I do a cookery demonstration to promote my cookery book, I bring along all my other books. If I teach Creative Writing or Yoga or give talks, I make sure I set out a nice display of all my books. You buy these from the publisher at your author`s discount so that you can market them yourself. You have to try to keep your book in print.
Once I promoted two books at once. I gave a talk on Frog Under A Coconut Shell to the Chichester Literary Society and planned a themed Summer Garden Party around it and did all the cooking for 40 people from recipes from Rasa Singapura, Taste of Singapore. I called the event Malam Singapura and the organisers decorated the hall with lanterns and Eastern decorations and we had Singapore-sling in the garden prior to the talk and meal. Here are some photos of that event.