Hi all, and welcome to part two of my self-publishing experience post.
It’s a busy time of year here in the mid-Atlantic. School is ending and all the stuff that goes with that is being thrown together in a hurry! I’m moving rooms, moving houses, and have to balance all that with grad school and writing. Whew! When do I find time to sleep?
Here’s a quick review of the earlier post –
1.) Create an online presence in advance, not when just publishing.
2.) Get some beta readers and have your book read before an editor looks at it.
3.) Make a publishing plan and stick to it. Do your work in advance so you won’t have to do it on the fly.
Here are steps Four and Five.
4.Send out Advance Book Copies – So you’ve published your novel, but no one knows it exists. And no one is willing to risk their money on an unrated novel. It’s easy to spot friend and family reviews, so what’s an author to do? The answer: Advanced Reader Copies. Grab some people you know, but aren’t your closest friends, and ask them to take a look at your book. If you’ve already done step 1 and 2, then you probably have some people who you trust to review your book fairly and honestly. Notice I didn’t say POSITIVE. A book with a ton of five-star reviews the second it comes out may arouse suspicion, and can garner angry reviews from readers who buy it based on those reviews but find it horrible. On the other hand, a book with a mixture will most likely elicit people’s interest and will garner more honest feedback. People don’t like buying an unknown quantity, and especially don’t like getting duped. But with a few reviews, more people will be willing to try it, even if it’s a three and a half star book.
Now you can purchase book reviews through Kirkus and other websites, but it’s far cheaper and more beneficial to you to utilize your readers. A handy thing to toss in at the end of your book is a nice ‘If you liked the book, please review it online” comment. It can’t hurt, and certainly can help, even if you just get one person to review out of 10, if you sell 100 books that could be ten positive reviews! That’s a nice amount to show up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Also, don’t forget that you can take snippets of reviews and put them on your blurb or other places, like your website – especially if they are from a more recognized reviewer. Just be sure to credit where the review came from.
5. Promote, but don’t be obnoxious – So you’ve got your twitter and Facebook and goodreads account and everything is going well. Are you posting a million messages a day about your book? Hopefully not! That’s annoying and is called spam. But I know none of you would ever spam… right? It can drive your followers away if all they get are messages about your book. Be different! Write about your life and what’s happening. Limit yourself a few posts a day. Be sure to use your hashtags effectively too.
I’m not saying to never talk about your book, I’m just saying use common sense. It shouldn’t be the only thing happening in your life! Here’s a list of some other ways to get people to try your novel.
1.) Write a short story or two about your world and make it free (or $0.99) on all marketplaces. People can decide if they like your writing style. For example, I’m in the midst of something called ‘The Traitor’ about the non-assassination of Julius Caesar. Maybe it will bring in some readers. Maybe it will reward twitter and Facebook and blog followers.
2.) Use your online presence to team up with other indie authors for cross-promotion and similar things. Especially around the holidays (and right after!) deals and networking can really pay off!
Anyways, I hoped that helped. What do you all think about what I learned? I’m sure I missed a ton of other things, which I’m sure I’ll have to write about in the future!
3 thoughts on “Learning from My Self-Publishing Experience in Five Steps: Part 2”
Good advice here! You made me laugh at the spam stuff–thankfully I haven’t met any authors like that, but if I did that, I would drive myself nuts 😉 Have you thought about doing a virtual book tour? I’ve been looking into that for my newest novel that should be out by the end of the summer and have applied to be a host to several. It sounds like a great way to drum up attention to your book. An author I chat with occasionally is doing one right now (her blog is “My Dog ate my Manuscript” and you can find it on my blog roll) and it seems pretty fun and also good for advertising.
Great advice about having friends read before editors. Thanks.
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