Small press published writer Lavinia Ludlow shares some top advice on interesting ways to promote your writing to others without the need for a big agent and a huge press budget.

novel writing

As a small press writer, much of your book’s promotional responsibility will fall on your shoulders. Whether you’re debuting your first novel or launching your fifth, you may feel unsure how to effectively promote your work. Social media is a powerful tool and the options are often limitless, but you may find it difficult to gain momentum in the era of information overload.

In my experience as both a reader and writer, the best book PR is often a result of engaging content that falls outside the norm of a standard review, interview, and press kit. Below are literary journals operated by humble editors who invite writers to promote their novels by answering unique prompts, and therefore, gain an edge over the commonly-used writer Q&A or summarized press blurb.

These prompts challenge writers to think critically about their work and discuss the blood, sweat, and tears shed throughout the publication process. Doing this not only provides readers an intimate glimpse into a book’s conception, but also opens up the opportunity to hear the story behind the story.

As each journal has recently allowed me to state my case, I modestly present examples of the promotional work I’ve done for my novel, Single Stroke Seven.


Necessary Fiction

Research Notes: Writers discuss the “research” behind their work of fiction in an essay under 1000 words.

Submission Info and Link

Editor: Steve Himmer, author of The Bee-Loud Glade, Fram, and Scratch (coming 2016).

Why this column kicks ass: An “anything goes” situation, authors tell the stories behind the stories. These notes can focus on the writing process, conversations, and/or personal backgrounds.

Single Stroke Seven Example



If My Book: Writers compare their books to things that are nothing like books in less than 500 words. Examples include: game shows, candy, super heroes, body parts, or insects.

Submission Info and Link

Editor: James Tate Hill, author of Academy Gothic

Why this column kicks ass: Forces writers to think critically about their books by bringing specific elements into the light that might not be brought up in traditional reviews or interviews.

Geographical note: currently only accepts submissions for this column from US-based publishers.

Single Stroke Seven Example



Origins: Publishers discuss the experience of getting their titles to print. Everything from publisher-author correspondence, content acquisition, challenges, and editing are fair game.

Submission Info and Link

Editor: Adam Robinson, publisher at Publishing Genius and co-founder of RealPants

Why this column kicks ass: Readers get to hear from the publisher, which is a perspective rarely made public.

Single Stroke Seven Example


Table of Contents: writers come up with a food and drink menu themed to their book.

Submission Info and Link

Editor: Amy McDaniel, publisher at 421 Atlanta and co-founder of RealPants

Why this column kicks ass: Another “anything goes” situation, writers discuss food or drink from their texts, or create a “menu” based on scenes, characters, or situations.

Single Stroke Seven Example


The Next Best Book Blog

(The Borrowed) Page 69 Test: Writers explore page 69 of their books and compare or examine how the content relates to the overall plot.

Submission Info: Lori Hettler, editor at The Next Best Book Blog:

Why this column kicks ass: Forces writers to examine an arbitrarily selected point in their texts, and delve into how it does or does not relate to the major dramatic question.

Single Stroke Seven Example



Graphic Art and Comic Panels: an artist brings excerpts of books/text to life in a single rendering or across multiple comic panels.

Submission Info: Your social network. Most would be honored if you asked them to bring your writing to life.

Why this kicks ass: Joint collaborations are always fun, and writers see their written words visually interpreted.

Single Stroke Seven Example over at Entropy Mag


Good luck and I look forward to seeing your work and promotion hit these journals soon! 

Lavinia Ludlow is a musician and writer dividing time between San Francisco and London. Her debut novel, alt.punk (2011), explored the ragged edge of art, society, and sanity, viciously skewering the politics of rebellion. Her sophomore novel, Single Stroke Seven(2016), explores the lives of independent artists coming of age in perilous economic conditions. Her short works have been published in Pear Noir!, Curbside Splendor Semi-Annual Journal, and Nailed Magazine, and her indie lit reviews have appeared in Small Press Reviews, The Rumpus, The Collagist, The Nervous Breakdown, Entropy Magazine, and American Book Review.  


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