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The following is a guest post by Suzy Ismail, author of the book “When Muslim Marriage Fails: Divorce Chronicles and Commentaries.”

In this current era of information overload from online sources, video entertainment, 3D movies, all sorts of gaming, and Kindle connects; one has to wonder whether or not anyone even reads books anymore.  The answer to that question is a tough one.  As the traditional book market does experience a slight decline, publishers and authors are looking for more creative ways to position their products in the public eye and to hype up the salability of traditional paper-back reading.

As Muslims, our rich history of literature and writing along with the importance of reading as encompassed in the first words of “Iqra” in the Holy Quran, are definitely not lost in our modern age.  However, finding time to pick up a book and read does seem to be a common dilemma.  So, what do you do to solve this problem of a declining niche market?

Put your PR to work for you!

This past month, I’ve written and published a book entitled “When Muslim Marriage Fails:  Divorce Chronicles and Commentaries” through Amana publications.

It might be nice to imagine that all a writer has to do is pen the words, publish the book, and then sit back and relax while people pick up copies left and right, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case.  Publishers are having enough difficulty keeping their heads above water in the marketplace without trying to promote the books as well.  It has now become the author’s job to push the product into the public eye and try to keep it there and away from the dead book graveyard for as long as possible.

As a former marketing executive in a big six Public Relations firm, I had a general idea of what needed to be done to promote my work.  Before my book was even released, I attended several writing conferences and events where I made frequent mention of the work.  After its release, I hit the blogosphere and began reaching out to all the Muslim magazines and newspapers that I could find listed anywhere online.  My next step was to gain local newspaper and state media coverage through satellite TV stations and talk radio.  With the help of the Why Islam organization, a book signing was scheduled, which will insha’Allah be covered by several local newspapers.

The power of social media is another avenue not to be forgotten.  From maintaining your own website to blogging and keeping a twitter and a Facebook account, these wildly popular social media outlets are a great place to promote yourself.  The landscape of book promotion is definitely changing.  Zoning in on your target audience and focusing your efforts on the audience you want to reach is key to creating a buzz around your product.

While it would be wonderful to imagine a world where your book speaks for itself, like any new product, that’s not likely to happen.  Speak up for your product and make sure that you blaze your own trail to get the word out there.  Whether it’s a book, a clothing line, a halal food chain, or any other product you want to sell, product branding and self-promotion are elements that can help you meet your marketing goals, insha’Allah.