Wanted: Readers

So, the heavy lifting is over. You’ve found your voice, opened yourself to criticism from friends and family, found a place to print your book, and maybe even learned a little bit about paper, page layout, and cover design along the way. You’ve done it! Now what?

Well, that depends on what kind of self-publisher you are!

Are you primarily interested in creating a private gift for family? If so, then yes, the work is done. But for those interested in selling, well, there will be a new kind of heavy lifting on the way: marketing, publicity, and sales. If you are interested in getting the word out, then this may come naturally to you.

There are different levels of intensity to approach each. Maybe a signing at your town’s library or bookstore is good enough. Maybe you’d enjoy an interview on the radio, or an interview with the local newspaper, arts publication, or historical society newsletter. Give it a shot. If you (or a friend) has a website, the interviews can be posted there, too.

If you’re more ambitious, however, here are some ways you might want to consider putting your energy to work:

–Amazon listing (remember you retain only 45-50% of the cover price)

–EPUB (this is a way to prepare your files for e-readers. If your book is straight text, like a novel, it’s a good candidate for the Kindle. Having files prepared can accrue additional fees. Check with your printer. To learn more, go to the International Digital Publishing Forum.)

–Bookstores in your greater region (For example, check out The NYS Literary Tree for a list of bookstores throughout New York, listed by county. Remember, too, many bookstores will consign if it compliments their selection. They will also keep 30-40% of the cover price, sometimes more. Call first to check that the store is still open.)

–Reviews (know your niche and research print/ online publications that may want to feature you, your life’s work, or your title. If you are interested in a general review, check out a place like Self Publishing Review.)

–What about Shelfari? (If you have a friend who is a member, and they’ve read ((and like)) your book, ask them to put it on their “bookshelf.”)

–Write an article yourself. (If you feel like an expert on your topic, pitch a publication, start a blog, or contact someone who blogs on your topic and let them know what you’ve got. Writers are always searching for fresh faces and content. Check submission guidelines first to be sure your styles match.)

Remember success comes in different forms, and great publicity doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. However you choose to promote yourself, be sure it’s a medium you’re comfortable with and will enjoy. If you don’t like FaceBook, YouTube, or public speaking, don’t feel pressured to go that route. Also, be sensitive to and respect others. If a bookstore says the title isn’t a good fit, don’t be offended or try to overpower. Find one that does want it. You’ll probably have a better relationship, and be better for it.

There are infinite ways to promote your book, so I’ll post more on the topic in the future.

In the meantime, congratulations on your book, and enjoy the process of finding readers!

Local history note: One of my favorite buildings in Troy, Woodside Church, is the home of CAC-Contemporary Arts at Woodside. They have a great link on their site about the church’s history and the Burden Iron Works. Have a look, learn a little, maybe even visit!