As a book reviewer and graphic artist I want to begin this post by asking you, the writer, a question…are you a writer willing to invest in yourself?
Do you buy your own books? You know what I mean, do you have your own personal stock at home of your carefully crafted creation that you can take to book signings, or simply carry around with you so that someone can buy it directly from you when you strike up a conversation about it? If not….why not?!
Here is how I see this, if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, and by that I mean actually invest in the work you put so much blood (maybe), sweat and tears into, how can you expect someone else will do so? You must put yourself out there and by “out there” I’m not just talking about Facebook or other internet groups, I mean “out there” face-to-face with other actual breathing human beings….where you have one on one interaction with goods in hand.
It was my recent visit to some Facebook groups I belong to that prompted this post. I go there and offer to read and review and try to help authors out. If you are a writer then you know that reviews are damned near the mythological unicorn of the writing world and it doesn’t matter if you are self published or signed with a publisher, those suckers are elusive! So you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get them….right? But for a great many authors they seem to limit themselves to the cyber world.
Now, I understand not everyone is good at chatting their book up, I get that…but who knows it better than you do? Is there honestly anyone more qualified to talk to someone about it than the person who wrote it?
I see so many authors publish their books (self pub or via publisher) into a severely saturated market daily, but I rarely see them announcing book signings or appearances. Did you know that the U.S. ISBN agency, Bowker reported that there were 625,327 self published ISBN’s assigned titles that were released in 2015 alone?! And you know what? That’s just a portion of the titles released, that massive number doesn’t nearly encompass all of the books that were actually released via self pub and publishers.
So why am I bringing this up? Am I trying to say “don’t bother publishing your book, it’s hopeless?” Of course not! My intention is NOT to discourage you, it’s to make you think….what are YOU doing to stand out?
It doesn’t matter if you have a publisher or if you are going it on your own, you have to be willing to invest in yourself and sell your product if you want it to sell. You cannot rely on a reader stumbling across it out of hundreds of thousands of other books.
The reality is this, even if you go through a publisher you still must be willing to put yourself out there. Why? Because unless you have signed with one of the big Publishers chances are there won’t be a big marketing budget for your title, especially if you are an unknown author. You are going to have to be willing to get in there and do the dirty work.
Yes, a publisher will get your book out there for public consumption. Yes, they can send out galley copies to potential reviewers and if you are lucky they may set up blog tours, provide some marketing or do something cutting edge like a book trailer but none of that can guarantee sales like you putting yourself out there in the public eye.
Are you the shy type and afraid of getting out there? Then have a close friend set up a book signing “party” and have fun with them. Ask them to invite people.
Go to the park, set out a blanket…..fan out your books and put up a sign that says “Author Signing Today!”
Ask your cover artist (please tell me you use a cover artist and don’t make your own covers) for a t-shirt graphic that you can wear around that has your cover on it….someone is bound to ask you where you got your shirt….just make sure you have a book with you to sell them. Oh and this brings up another point. As you can see on my blog I am a cover artist but putting that aside, I cannot impress the importance of a good book cover; they truly can make the difference between someone picking up your book or passing it over. Do not underestimate the power of good cover art because it is true….people will judge a book by its cover!
Google your local area for artist events and crafts fairs, you’ll be amazed at all the places you can set up at that are inexpensive. I’d even suggest being willing to set up at a block garage sale or flea market.
Have your book cover put on a coffee mug and take it to work! (you do have your books at work too….right?)
Form a working relationship with your local grocery store manager, ask if you can set up a table at the entry.
Now you may be saying “great ideas but I can’t afford to buy an entire box of books.” True many people can’t….but can you afford 5, 10, 25….or just 2? You don’t have to have boxes of your books on hand (although you get a price break) but don’t you want to be able to put that book in a readers hands when they ask…”where can I get a copy?”
There are so many things you can do but YOU have to get out there with book in hand and invest in yourself…remember if you won’t, why would anyone else?
Oh, and since I did say if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself why should anyone else, I should do this shameless plug….if you need cover art, marketing graphics, or a book trailer feel free to contact me through my contact page.