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Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Perils of Self Publishing-Part III

It nearly takes a miracle to get national attention. Unless you have an agent, or a publisher with a marketing department to make the necessary contacts, you are left to your own devices. Self-publishing still carries something of a stigma in the eyes of the national press. Getting reviewers for national magazines or newspapers to look at your product is next to impossible. But not totally. Sometimes the most unlikely sources will actually want to take a look at them. When my stepson read my book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row, he interpreted it as a spy novel. I did not write it as one even though it contains spies. He suggested that I contact Eye Spy Magazine, which is circulated internationally, for a review. At first, I passed this off as an impossibility, but when I contacted their website, they wanted to take a look at it. I mailed the book, per their instructions, to England, where the magazine is published. A couple of weeks later, I received a phone message from the editor saying that he liked the book and would recommend it (which he did in the July/August 2011 issue). Whether or not this will mean a boost in book sales is yet to be seen, as it is too early to tell. However, one good magazine review can lead to another, and that is what I hope will happen. The task now is to spread the word of this review to other publications. Other attempts to publicize the work are still ongoing. Attempting to get coverage by local television and radio, doing book talks and personal appearances, and reviewing works by other authors are other ways of getting your name and product into the public eye. Using blogs like this one and social media such as FaceBook and Twitter are other useful ways of spreading the word. If you are a self publisher, you cannot rest on your laurels, you must keep plugging away at every opportunity. If you snooze, you lose, and, if an opportunity is lost, you may never have it again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Perils of Self Publishing-Part II

As a self publisher, promoting your book is probably the most difficult thing you're going to have to do once you have put into the final form. How you do that is up to your own ingenuity. Doing personal appearances and book signings is always a good avenue for publicity, especially if you can get it into the newspaper or mentioned on TV or radio. Blogs, like this one, are another good way of spreading the word. Using social media like FaceBook and Twitter give you inexpensive ways to put your message in front of larger crowds. FaceBook, for instance, gives you the possibility of having a fan page that enables you to announce to a larger audience whatever events you wish to publicize. There are, also, many free websites available. They are easy to set up, as most of them provide templates that you can use to design a site that looks fairly professional. I used Microsoft's OfficeLive.com for mine, and to me, it looks pretty good. Making sure that press releases are sent out prior to any personal appearances will ensure that the media is, at the least, informed. I have had relative success using this strategy with several of the smaller local publications. If you can form a relationship with any of the local media people, that will greatly enhance the possibility of having your events publicized. Don't turn down the opportunity to speak to book clubs or any local organization that likes having guest speakers talk to their members. Book clubs are good in that prior to addressing them, their members will buy copies of your book for discussion purposes, and if they like it, the word-of-mouth advertising that comes through them is priceless. The problem with all of these things is they require vast amounts of time. Time away from your major pursuit, which is, hopefully, working on your next writing project. The biggest trick is getting national attention, and if getting the word out locally is difficult, getting it out nationally is damn near impossible. That is the subject for the next post.