Getting the Word Out to Potential Readers
If you choose to self-publish, you will find yourself with a few weeks of almost-free time while the printers are figuring out how to print your book. It is during this time that you must take off your author hat and put on your publisher hat. You need to think of your book as a product rather than an act of creation.
Your book will be a financial success to the extent that you promote it. This it true whether you self-publish or Doubleday publishes it. The advantage of self-publishing is that you are under no illusiuons as to who is spreading the word about your new book.
There is an excellent chapter on Promoting Your Book, in the Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter. It contains 64 pages of absolutely vital information on getting your book reviewed, getting testimonials, issuing news releases, handling interviews, doing tours and speaking engagements.
The only tiny drawback is that the most recent version of this book (14th edition) was published in 2003, which is ages ago in Internet time. That is almost pre-blogosphere! Almost all of the references given relate to harnessing the traditional publishing network to get reviewers in magazines and newspapers to read and review your book. I am sure it still works, but there are faster and better ways to spread the good news this year.
One small point: If you have not done so already, identify your target market. What group of people are asking questions that are answered by your book? Where do they hang out? What do they read? What blogs do they visit? Once you have an idea who will buy your book, you can focus your promotional efforts on that group. Whet you are looking for is a way to get the people in this target market talking favorably about your book, even before it is printed, if possible.
Here is the short list of non-traditional actions that I found to be effective even before my book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day, appears in print:
1. Mention your book on your blog. (If you don’t have a blog, stick with Dan Poynter.)
2. Make the book or a subset of it available as a free download.
2. Get your book mentioned on other blogs by corresponding with friends who blog about similar or related subjects. (see below)
3. Work out an ad exchange with other bloggers. Get a tasteful ad for your book placed on other blogs.
4. Use BlogAds to place paid ads on weblogs where traffic is high and the readers fit your target market.
5. Monitor your visibility by Googling your book title on a weekly basis. Use other search engines as you see fit.
6. When your printer is actually getting down to business and you have a delivery date in sight, start advertising a pre-order special. Some suggestions are free shipping, pre-paid sales tax, a discount coupon for additional additional books purchased as a gift. This pre-order special gives you immediate visibility on the effectiveness of your promotional campaign.
I would like to thank a lot of people for mentioning my book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day. Some are dear friends who are hosting my book ads, but there are many who have discovered the book from reading other blogs. These bloggers are well worth visiting. They live all over the world, but share a common interest in promoting saner workplaces.
Rosa Say , Wayne Hurlbert, Pamela Heywood, Wayne Allen , Sallie, The Slacker Manager, Christopher Bailey, Anita Campbell, Yvonne Divita, Marc Orchant, Free from 9 to 5, Dean Wilson, William Odendaal, K Todd Storch, Drink This, Strategize, AlwaysWow!, NoirExtreme,
Tom McMahon, jgmitchell.com, Cedar Fever , testingReflections.com , Dane Carlson, ChangeThis.com, Issaquah.
The book is also getting mentioned on various forums and aggregation listings: The Chicken Coop, BlogFathers Digest,; Easy Bake Weblogs, Joel on Software, Kinja, the weblog guide, Web Blog Directory, and CardKing.
Seth Godin put it all into perspective for me with these encouraging words: "..if you had 600 pages of google matches instead of 60, you’d probably sell more books. I think you’re off to a terrific start."
I hope that these posts are encouraging you to think about publishing your own books. When you are ready and have questions, I will be happy to help in any way I can.
UPDATE: I collected these names from my Google printouts and may have missed some of you who did not show up on Google. If you have mentioned my book on your blog and do not appear on the above list, please let me know immediately.