So, you finally did it. Published your book. Actually, published it yourself. In truth, folks self-publish for various reasons. Unable to interest traditional publishers is one. Frankly, if you are able to interest a traditional publisher, you are indeed lucky, as books by first-time authors are considered risky investments.
Self-publishing means you own 100 percent of all rights and royalties for your book. Having creative control of your book is another. Finally, self-publishing typically takes only a few days or a week, versus several months or a year or more for traditionally published books.
While traditional publishers do a lot of marketing and publicity (booksellers, wholesalers, libraries, media, etc.), authors are still expected to help promote their books. To drive sales. With traditional publishing, authors are expected to promote their book before and after; it’s published to increase sales.
Actually, having some ideas for marketing and promoting your book should be your first step when writing it and before publishing. For instance, who is your intended audience?
My first book, The Venus Chronicles (sort of a humorous, spoof on the relationship book, Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus), began as a blog, that I shared with select female friends, and colleagues. Via of their responses, and my female-driven subject matter, I knew that women would be my target market.
A retired military veteran, veterans became my secondary market. Subsequently, I sent out press releases to military friends, to military websites, asking them to share with other veterans, family and their friends.
Hearing of the blog (from a friend of the publisher), a local small publishing press expressed interest in publishing it. Alas, my publishing company was no longer in press when I released my new books almost five years ago.
Unable to interest a traditional publisher, I decided to do it myself. Self-publishing, I fell back on the some of the out-of-the-box ideas that worked for me then, adding a host of others when marketing and promoting my new releases. Below are just a few of the things that has worked for me.
• Never underestimate ‘word of mouth’. Every woman whom enjoyed the initial blog, On The Feminine Side, encouraged me to put those essays into ‘some kind of book’. So, when the book was released, they went ‘all in’ buying books and ‘talking’ it up to everyone they knew.
• Utilize vendors you know. For years, both my husband, a hospital executive, and I, used a local florist for both our job needs, as well as our personal needs. One day, on a lark, I called the owner to ask if he would carry a few copies to sell in his store. My offer to split the sale of each copy, was quickly denied. “It’s the least I can do for such valuable, long-time customers,” He said.
• A friend and owner of a ladies’ dress shop, also hosted me and a local artist. Closing up early one Saturday, she invited select customers to come in, enjoy music, wine and cheese, while they shopped.
• Invitations to speak at women’s groups, and book clubs proved great opportunities to sell books. Due to the humorous themes of my books, (and the presence of wine), the atmosphere was always much like fun, girls’ nights out.
• A business colleague bought copies of ‘Venus’ to add to gift bags for her maids of honor and others, whom participated in her wedding. Its svelte size, (101 pages), made it the perfect size for this.
Marketing, promoting and selling, your book, is only limited by your imagination. For example, ‘book’ cards picturing and describing my books, are handed out everywhere I go. Book marks (that marks book pages), highlighting your books, are both great marketing tools, as well as useful.
Believe it or not, writing a book is actually the easy part. Letting me people know about it? Well, that can make the difference in whether your book is a success or not. Today’s social media offers numerous ways to market and promote your books. So, get out there, and sell those books!
Carol Gee, M.A., an author, blogger, columnist, freelance writer, and public speaker, is a retired Emory University Administrator. Author of four books, (two of them self-published) she also enjoys a vibrant freelance writing career. Her work has appeared in such venues as Chicken Soup: Military Families, Diabetes Forecast, Romantic Homes Magazine, Woman’s World Magazine and a number of others, both online and in print. She is also owner of a small, writing service, A Feast Of Words, LLC, where she helps others fulfill their writing goals. She writes from her home in Georgia. Visit her at www.VenusChronicles.net, https://www.facebook.com/AFeastOfWordsLLC twitter #VenusChronicles
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