The academic environment has changed considerably in the last 20 years. The onus is now on scholars to capitalise on opportunities to ‘sell themselves’ as authors and innovators. Often this does not come naturally, but it is important not to rely on our publishers or universities to do this work for us. Not only might this help you to get a new job, but you might also get promoted in an existing job.
1. Don’t overlook the little things
Any opportunity you can take to promote your work is relevant. So for example, think about changing your email signature so it advertises your latest book or article. Hundreds of people per week will see this form of advertising; you might generate extra book sales because of it.
2. Use social networking
Academic social networking such as academia.edu or linkedin are increasingly important as a way of showcasing your work. In the past most people would have found you in directories or on your university web pages, but increasingly this is not the case. On social networking you can advertise your areas of interest and also your publications. Blogging is another way of showcasing yourself and your work, as is commenting on others’ blogs. Twitter is another method to use to advertise events or publications that you are involved with.
3. Keep your web pages up to date
However, it is still important to ensure that your staff web page is attractive and accurate. If it was last amended a number of years ago, now is the time to work out how to update it. Also, if you have any websites of your own, say for an organisation that you run, make sure your name and contact details feature prominently and also work on optimising your web page for search engines (meaning that the technology that ranks web pages for Google and other sites will find your page easily).
Face to face contact is still important. If you are giving a paper at a conference, don’t be shy when the chair of your panel asks how you would like to be introduced. Make sure that you give he or she details of your latest publication to promote. If you know that your publisher will be attending contact them and ask them to stock your book at the conference or advertise a forthcoming one. In the informal parts of a conference when you are chatting with other delegates, do not be shy about discussing your latest work. Sometimes this can feel boastful or arrogant, but done in a modest and even humorous way, promoting your own work can win you friends as well as customers!
5. Working with your publisher
Publishers will ask you for help in marketing your book and it is important to take time over this step of the process. Recommend as many journals as possible who would be interested in reviewing your work. They will also ask you to suggest possible conferences at which your book could be promoted.