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Chicago Writers Association Helps Writers with Self-Promotion

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 Cora

I’m a weird writer in that I love marketing, or at least thinking up ideas on how to market my work. Some writers would rather clean the house, the garage, and mow the lawn instead of promote their work. A piece of advice I received years ago changed the way I feel about marketing: “Build it and they will come, but only if they know it exists.” You could have written a book that will change lives, be exactly what someone is looking for. Readers won’t be able to benefit from your work if they don’t know you exist. After you finish a project, the next step can be intimidating and confusing if you don’t know what to do or where to start. Luckily, there’s the Chicago Writers Association, who held a panel discussion at their 3rd Annual Writers’ Block Party at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin to answer writers’ burning questions about self-promotion. What are some ways to do it? How do you harness social media? Is there a thing as too much promotion?

Moderated by president Tori Collins, the five panelists included book publicist Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity, Chicago Writers Conference founder Mare Swallow, authors Dan Burns and Libby Fischer Hellman, and blogger and social media expert Marcie Hill. Each shared practical and easy to implement advice that worked for them and clients. Success as an author is in the author’s control if they are willing to consistently put themselves out there online and off line.

(r-l) Marice Hill, Libby Fischer Hellman, Dan Burns, Mare Swallow, and Dana Kaye at Writers' Block
Party. Writers will want to get involved with their audience. Go where they are and use the social media they use. Younger readers are on Twitter and Tumblr while older readers are on Facebook. Writers will want to have a website, an “online business card” as Dana Kaye put it, with basic information, but also to capture emails to create an email list. The panel stressed writers need to be professional when promoting. There is a healthy balance of supporting and promoting others writers as well as your own work. Don’t thrust your book cover under someone’s nose (or plaster it on their Facebook page). You don’t know if they’re interested. Never discount anyone you meet because you never know who they are or will become.

Most importantly, writers of all genres and levels saw they were not alone in pursuit of their goals. Writing can be a lonely profession. The Chicago Writers Association was created to nurture a community for writers while providing resources and feedback. While the discussion established an overview of self-promotion, the event also created a safe space for you to dream about the possibilities. For more information about The Chicago Writers Association and upcoming events, like the Chicago Writers Conference, visit

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