My Tombstone Will Read: “Check out my books at
– “Would you like to buy my book?” I ask one person, “Would you be willing to review my book and let me know what you think?” I ask another.
– I pick up the phone and call a bookstore “Hello, I would like to do a book signing at your store, what would be a good day to do that?”
– I log in to Facebook and post a funny picture, create an amusing quip or find an interesting link I think people might like.
– I log into twitter and let a few of my good re-tweeters know that I’m thinking about them and hope they are having a good day.
– I get on YouTube and publish an amusing or interesting video about my book or my life as an author.
The Game – No Fear
It’s all part of the constant promotion, promotion, promotion that I have found needs to be done as a self-published author. Let’s get one thing straight, I hate sales. I just do. I don’t like forcing people to do something that they are not looking for or buy something that they are not actively seeking. It’s just not who I am. I’m a very laid back man who… well, enjoys writing.
However, I do find it easy to get excited or get other people interested in things that I believe in, and I do believe in my writing. I love the characters I create and the stories I write, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. A lot of me is in my writing, people I know, places I’ve been and stories I’ve heard. If you really want to get to know me, read my stories or my book (soon to be plural). I will concede that I am not the world’s greatest writer, I can use a lot of improvement and I work every day to try and write better than the day before.
Getting back to the whole salesman thing, I did not want to go into sales. However, choosing the path of a “self-published” author, be it exclusively self-published or both traditional and self-published takes an enormous amount of work and time. However, it is definitely worth it in my opinion. There are tons of really great resources out there and even more wonderful people that are willing to give their advice and share their trials and tribulations in the realm of self publishing. So, when it comes to entering the realm of self-publishing – especially these days, the resources abound.
Self-published = Self-promoting
The most difficult hurdle you must get through when deciding to self-publish is to commit to the amount of time and hard work it’s going to take. Here are just a few of the things I’ve found that really help as a self-publisher:
- Twitter – Setup a twitter account and try to tweet something interesting (not Spam) at least once a day. If you can find a few twitter friends that are good at re-tweeting, even better.
- Facebook – This has been huge for me. I am now at 11,000 fans and climbing. The key with Facebook, don’t blast stories constantly at people. Space things out every few hours and make it something that applies to your writing or something people will enjoy.
- Goodreads – Create an author profile, interact with everyone. Create quizzes about your books, start threads and talk to people.
- Blog – You’re reading it now. Get out there and say something interesting. Keep people engaged and make them want to know more about what you have to say.
- Run your Website – Do not depend on other people to run your website. Run your own website (I recommend WordPress if you are not a ‘website guru’). Get on there and post events, information, shake things up so that there is always something new going on.
- Press Release – Although it’s best to use something like PRWeb, you can just as easily get a list of local media contacts and send out emails about book signings, book tours and book parties.
- Create News – Call book stores and setup book signings and offer to do readings. Call up libraries and offer a couple copies of your book, then see if they are willing to let you do a book signing.
- Amazon – Create an Author page on Amazon Author Central and keep it up to date with events, videos and the like.
- Promote Local – Get in on Farmer’s Markets and town events to setup a table and meet locals and offer to sign a book for them if they’d like to buy it.
- Get Square (or something comparable) – Square is a credit card reader that works on most mobile PDA phones. Not everyone carries cash, but if you need to sell a book in a hurry, everyone has their debit card or credit card on them and they will appreciate the speediness of your transaction.
- Talk to Authors – Seek out authors on Facebook, Twitter and the like. They aren’t monsters or demons… well… some are, but not all. They are humans just like you and they too were where you are at, trying to get the ball rolling. Ask them questions, pick their brains. They won’t mind as long as you don’t blast them with a five page email and a million questions.
The Bottom Line?
A self-published author just does not have the financial pool that large publishing houses. So if you have something you have written and truly feel that it is something that people will enjoy, then by all means, let the world know about it. Talk about yourself – I know it’s not something that is easy for a lot of us, but it’s critical with self-publishing.
Most importantly, enjoy meeting the people that will read your book. Find out what they have to say and don’t be afraid to approach anyone.
I think the single most appealing thing to self-publishing is the face that you as the author are out there literally talking to the people that are reading your book. There is no middle man, relaying what the public thinks, because you know first hand what they think.
So get out there and promote, promote, promote and enjoy doing what a rare percentage of people can say they’ve done, publish!