Self-publishing skills: Publicity

Welcome to part six of this series of posts, all about self-publishing! Do make sure you subscribe to get all the latest updates direct to your inbox.

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Congratulations! You’ve made a book!

After all that hard work and investment, you can’t afford to sit back and expect the readers to fall at your feet: it’s time to start shouting about it. We’ll look at the specifics of selling in the following post, so make sure you come back for that one. Today, we’re simply looking at publicity.

Getting people to notice you (for the right reasons) is tough. In today’s world of social media, you can feel like a small fish in a very large pond.

To get the most from your publicity you want to start before you’ve published your book. Why? You want to build an anticipation. Major milestones, like the cover design and the book proofs can provide the perfect opportunity to reveal parts of your book to potential readers.

As important as social media is, it’s really important that it’s not your only form of publicity.

Online, you should consider having an author website. It’s much easier now, with sites like WordPress, to build a sleek and easy to maintain website, with no web development knowledge needed. A good looking site, perhaps with a blog you keep up-to-date, is one way of allowing people to find out about you and your books.

Looking at offline publicity, there are plenty of opportunities for the self-published author to shout about their creation. You have to think like a publisher and be proactive at finding as many opportunities as possible.

Local newspapers and newsletters might give you the perfect opportunity to tell people about your book. If you can, make your story more interesting than “local author writes book”. If you’ve overcome a hurdle, written about an interesting subject or location or there’s some other way that can create a unique story, local press are going to be far more interested.

On the subject of press, you might like to consider the local press for the setting of your book, if it’s different to where you live. Readers love to read about their local area (just make sure you get the facts right!) so try letting other local newspapers know about your upcoming book.

There’s also specialist interest magazines. Of course you could write for the writing magazines, you’ll definitely need a unique angle to get into these magazines, but look around for magazines that would suit your readers.

If, for example, you’ve set your novel on the canal, why not approach some of the boating magazines.

And don’t forget to speak to people. Real people! Face to face. When it’s safe and maintain social distancing, of course.

Libraries, bookshops, community events, pubs, writing groups, there’s all manner of places where you might be able to shout about your book and speak to people, face-to-face.

Writing groups are a great place for writers to hone their craft, getting feedback and learning your craft. But they are also a ready made group of people who will buy your book!

Bookshops and libraries often host events and, if they don’t, ask about hosting your own! The more you can shout about your book – and forthcoming books – the better. And this is likely to be a bookish crowd, likely to be looking for books to buy.

Seek out open mic nights where you could read an extract. Children’s authors could also try your local schools (although be prepared!) but whatever your topic, there’s bound to be a local group that you could talk to.

Exploit the fact that you are now a published author. Groups like the U3A and Women’s Institutes often love guest speakers and to be able to talk about your experiences and to talk about your process is a sneaky way of promoting yourself and then your book. Wherever you go, always carry a stack of books with you.

While we’re talking about publicity, we better talk about reviews. Yes, reviews are important. Five stars are a great ego boost. One stars can feel harsh. But, stop that! You’re going to get a some one star reviews. What does that mean? That person didn’t like your book. So what? There are plenty of other people who will like your book! Oh, and to leave that one star review, that person bought your book, so you’ve got their money anyway!

Some people say that writing the book is the easy bit, selling your book is the real challenge. Good luck!

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Published by Nick Taylor | Editor & Proofreader

Fiction editor and proofreader.

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