Self Publishing Guide
These days it isn’t enough to simply be an “author”; if you’re a published writer, you need to be a brand. Curiosity is inbuilt into the human psyche: readers and publishers alike want to know the person behind the writer, the personality behind the words. Fortunately, social media has made interaction the watchword and all of it ridiculously easy.
So what does the new author “platform” mean for you? Website, author profile and bio, newsletter or e-magazine, blog, vlog, podcasts, book trailers on video websites, your articles and articles about you or your work.
In the various components that assemble to make the online “you”, your website is by and large your greatest asset. All of the above can then be tied in to that simple space. Information on your books, their publication dates, where they can be purchased, press releases, critical reviews on your work and a link to your blog or it being in-built into the website. During radio or TV interviews, always ask for a copy that you can then embed onto your website. When interacting with your readers or anyone publicly, always mention your website as that core source of information about you. Your website can serve as the centralized location of everything about you in an electronic medium: set up a various social network identities: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, etc and tie them all into your main website. By launching your information on various social networking websites, it will shoot out your content to multiple sources rapidly.
Writers tend to avoid wanting to publish their own books with the most common question being how the final manuscript will be distributed without the conventional network? It’s a natural question and results in a lot of wariness and raised eyebrows from writers. It often shocks them to discover that not only is promotion not the mountain they’ve made it out to be, it also pays incredibly well (you manage all your own profits, after all!). It is also one more rung to add to the ladder to success as an ‘expert writer’.
So how does one promote the final book? Guerilla marketing: intense and no-nonsense. Provided you have a market for your book and it’s been thoroughly vetted beforehand [free from spelling and typing errors, fact checked, etc], success is to be had. The best thing about self-publishing is its ease: there aren’t many [if at all] overheads from websites and you won’t be splitting the profits from anyone besides yourself. Besides, if you’ve already been published before, you’ll already have a reputation you can build from. But even if you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying your own domain, blogging tools like Wordpress and Blogger can help you get started write away.
So let’s dig into the how-to’s of getting your eBook out there.
Book readings and signings have gained a terrible reputation over the years so when you do score a book event, the feelings of wariness are almost implicit. The thing about book events is that it’s all in the marketing to maximize attendance and exposure. So how do you do it? Read on.
In-store marketing is an oft-ignored aspect of book events which is ironic because it’s one of the most central ways to get people’s attention. There are two things you can do to help drive people to attend: book marks and bag stuffers.
Bookmarks can be cheap [to produce] and personal all at the same time. They may seem like a cliche, but people do love them. It’s something to hold onto, a representation of the event [particularly if you include the date and time] and will serve as a reminder.
Bag stuffers can be done up in your software of choice and bundled in with bookmarks. You might want to ask nearby stores [if the event is taking place at a mall, for instance] if they would mind hosting the fliers and bookmarks. In either case, you will still need to ask the hosting storeowner’s permission on whether if you provide them with marketing materials, will they be able to spread the word on your behalf. On most occasions they won’t mind: good marketing will bring in people which in turn will bring them into the store which means new customers which means more money. It’s one of the core reasons they agreed to host you!
Twitter is more than just an online social networking tool for celebrities or random people on the internet and can, more so than Facebook, be used as an interactive platform for writers.
Here are some of the benefits of tweeting for authors:
1. By following others in the publication industries, it can keep you informed of various related events and trends in your genre or give you ideas for articles.
2. Networking, networking, networking and Twitter can help you get there by putting you into easy touch with publishers, agents, readers and might even help you in finding joint venture collaborators.
3. Putting yourself on the map through a stream of helpful and informative posts suiting your genre. For example, children’s authors can tweet about literacy and education; mainstream novelists can talk about their genre by posting useful articles, tips, etc.
4. Promotion for your latest book or venture. Through the subtle art of persuasion and not plugging it too much or too often [you don’t want your feed to read like a continuous sales pitch after all], you can promote your latest project.
5. Meet potential readers or customers and/or staying in touch with existing readership. You can gain new followers through attaching keywords to your tweets relevant to your genre and literary style.
6. Promoting events like podcasts, conferences, interviews, etc by linking to them in your twitter feed.
7. Communicating with your peers by asking help. You’ll be surprised just how helpful people can be, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
8. Help out your peers and cohorts by linking them to informative articles and resources like books and products that may be helpful to them.
9. Host an impromptu writing contest exclusively for your twitter followers and throw out a free gift for whoever retweets your competition tweet.
10. Stay in touch with your followers from anywhere through a wide range of mobile applications.
Becoming an overnight success and making millions of dollars is easy, just ask ... Starbucks. Think about the first time you ever heard about an "americano" or a "latte" and started enjoying coffee. I'll be it was in the mid to late 1980s just about the time everyone in North America was discovering Starbucks. But did you know that Starbucks actually started in 1971, yes, it took Starbucks about 17 years to become an overnight success.Other overnight successes, include Mc Donalds and KFC which took 15 years to become an overnight success, and the list goes on.
What this tells us is that there are very few "J.K. Rowling" stories anywhere in the world where someone has become an overnight success. Even J.K. Rowling to in excess of 5 years, and in anyone's book that could be considered overnight, but for most authors gaining success is a long, long tedious job of slugging things out for years and years before things start to get easy and success starts to manifest its'elf.
The truth is, you have a MUCH better chance of being struck by lightning than becoming an overnight success ... and here's why. Every year in North America 90 people are struck and killed by lightning. Every year in North America one or two NEW authors "might" sell enough books to be considered a best seller ... and those are the statistics.
Every author I talk to fully believes their book will be a "Best Seller". To-date, none have been, but they are all working hard to try to make their books the best, and that is exactly what they need to do. You can NEVER lose heart with your project. Finish it, make it, market it and when it begins to become exhausted, start on the next book project because what you learned on the first project will come easy on the second and you will become even more successful on the second book.
This is WHY it takes many authors well into their 5th, 6th ... 10th book before they start feeling the effects of the "overnight success syndrome". They have paid their dues so to speak, learned the business, educated their clients and now they can begin to reap the fruits of all their hard work ... the work doesn't end, only the hard work, the projects and the work carry on.
The process of being a writer and an author is more of an ideology than "a job" and therefore requires activities to be even more determined in order to achieve success.
Copyright - Colin Knecht