As readers of my previous post 'Marketing yourself as an author' know, you can't entirely avoid marketing as an author. Even if you have a six-figure deal with a major publisher, you are going to be expected to participate in the promotion. 

This post is aimed at authors working with smaller publishers, or self-publishing, who, for various reasons, whether social anxiety or mobility issues, need alternatives to the traditional book launch to promote their work. They're all quite simple to achieve and don't require impressive technical skills.

The good news

Social media (and the internet in general) is brilliant for anyone who finds travelling, or group situations, difficult. Let's not pretend it removes all barriers, but it certainly provides an alternative.

If you've read my previous post, then I assume you've at least made steps towards creating yourself an author website and getting a social media presence.

Skipping ahead, here are alternatives to IRL promotion:

Virtual book launch

Why not broadcast yourself reading from your book from home. You don't need anything more technical than a smartphone or a webcam for this. If using a phone, I recommend Gorillapod Tripods which will affix themselves to chairs/table legs or can simply provide much needed stability. If you're worried about sound SmartLAv+ is a great microphone which you can plug direct into your smartphone (there are many cheaper options too, that's just if you want to fork out for something durable and decent). 

Here are three of many platforms you could use for a live format:

  • Periscope: live streaming from your phone. Your recording will stay viewable for 24 hours. You can always download before that expiry and share it on a different platform.
  • Google hangout: from your mobile or computer. You'll need a YouTube and Google+ account for this. Instructions for recording here. 
  • Host your own group reading with Huzza, invite two or three other authors to read with you, invite questions from listeners and have a virtual version of an open mic.

You could also pre-record your reading, the advantage of this is that you can have several takes. Most computers come with basic video editing software (such as Windows Movie Maker) if you're not after something too complicated and just want to add an intro and outro (for example). If you're after something more fancy, try a tool like Camtasia.

Virtual book tour

Blog book tours are a tried and tested method of promoting a book. Find blogs that might be into your kind of book and ask them if they wouldn't mind featuring you, either in the form of an interview or a guest post from you. Some blogs have past form and will be open to this kind of thing, some won't, do a little research. You could also ask on social media if anyone would like to host you on their website - this can be a great way to find out about websites you didn't know before.

Brainstorm suitable topics for blogs, or you'll quickly run out of steam. Think of different angles to approach it from, popular topics include: the writing process, writing techniques, challenges encountered, a backstory that informs the work, etc.

Virtual book club

Have you joined Goodreads yet? You should. It's a social network for readers and authors so it's kind of made for you. There are groups, you can do Q&A's, share extra insights into your writing life, etc. 

Add your books to it, and enter them into a giveaway. It's a great way to generate interest in your book, and the winners have a tendency to review the works they get, so it's a double win. You can limit the number of books you giveaway so you don't have to bankrupt yourself for it. I'm running one at the moment, for instance, and giving away just three signed copies.