Published: Aug 9, 2016 12:00:00 PM

thread-bound-on-paint.jpgIf you follow James Gunn on Twitter, you'll learn a lot about the entertainment industries. Gunn directed Guardians of the Galaxy, and recently made a comment about how to gain exposure and promote yourself.

I'm paraphrasing, but it amounts to "Write a GREAT script, move to LA, and give it to everyone. It'll be found."

That principle rings true for any creative medium. You need to promote yourself with a completed SOMETHING to reach people. Otherwise your work will never be seen on the level you desire. You've got the internet: a powerful distribution tool. Post some free books to read online and attract a fanbase.

How do you make this happen?

If you're serious about your work, always consider your self-promotion methodology.

It's fine if you want to jag around with brain's dark weirdness. You can create remarkable stuff from the what's between your mind's gray folds.

Nevertheless, complete randomness will greet you if you don't imagine an audience, or how you might promote your work. How will you help them understand what you've made? How will your work be broken off and presented? How will you promote your work to a wider audience, if you ever do reach that level?

Do you want to reach that level?

If you're a writer, the old barriers are crumbling. Both The Martian and Wool novels have reached peak visibility after beginning as self-published works. Both attracted the attention of Ridley Scott, of all people, to be turned into movies. There's an abundance of free books to read online. Make it free until you can charge for the work.

These self-published authors were brave enough to release their works in incremental chunks to build an audience. While it might've taken years, anything worth doing takes years.

How to invite your visitors to download free books to read online.

It's as simple as it is difficult: constantly open doorways to invite an audience to your work and make it as simple as possible to download the free book to read online.

Promote it on social media. Engage with existing communities. Push it on your personal website. Study your traffic. Never stop.

Never stop writing and never stop improving. You can have all the traffic in the world, but they won't be loyal if the work isn't GREAT. And if you have great work and loyal readers, it won't mean a thing if you don't have a mechanism for them to download your work.

Set up a downloads page. Create dowloadable ebook files. Give readers the free books to read online, if they don't want to download altogether.

I wrote a short guide on setting up this step. I have trouble myself remembering to complete these steps sometimes.

Also, consider tracking who is downloading which work with a form submission prior to presenting the download link so you can keep the audience engaged. Ten loyal readers willing to tell ten friends is more valuable then one hundred people you know nothing about and can't communicate with.

You need the work to be found. And you can do it, despite the slow going sometimes. Hold onto the objective, always consider the self-promotional audience, and always offer a finished product or sample that somebody can really touch and understand. Maybe that's a short story posted on the site. Maybe it's entire free books to read online. Maybe that's a simple video explaining what you do, or your objective, and your progress toward it.

Otherwise, you're just shouting into a vacuum.

-- Alex Crumb
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