9 Critical Steps to Successful Self-Publishing: Critical Step 6

Critical Step 6: Get the Word Out

How do you let prospective readers know about your book? You may think advertising is the answer, and for some people it is. I even heard of one person who independently published a book, took out an ad for it in the Sunday Book Review section of The New York Times and, as a result, got reviewed in the Sunday Book Review. (Most of us don’t have the funds to take out an ad in The New York Times’ Sunday Book Review section and, even if we did, there is no guarantee that the Times would review our books, so consider that an anomaly.)

More Review Resources

Bloggers: Another good source for legitimate reviews is book bloggers. Many have large followings, and some are specific enough to have followers who represent your target market, whether your genre is romance, historical fiction, children’s books, etc. The Indie View website lists bloggers and reader/reviewers and where they post their reviews.

Search for blogs about your genre or topic. Offer to write a guest post, and definitely engage in conversation if people comment on your post. Also comment on other bloggers’ posts. People will see your name and Google you, which should lead them to your book’s website. For that reason, you should not argue with or be rude to people who may say things that you don’t agree with. Remember, this communication becomes part of your identity so you want to treat readers, reviewers, bloggers and commenters with respect, even if their statements are inaccurate (you can correct them), rude (take the high road) or just plain ignorant.

Reader/Reviewers: Although individual readers who post reviews on various websites may not seem very prestigious or important, many of those reviewers and sites have a large number of followers who count on them to recommend their reading material. This means that their readership is highly targeted. If you had to pay to advertise to these readers, you would pay a high price to get your

message in front of the specific people who are eager to read books that are not only in their desired genre but are also recommended by their favorite reviewers. (This is why ads during the Super Bowl cost more than ads during the news; the audience is much more targeted.)

For lists of bloggers and reader reviewers, see

Reader/Reviewers: Although individual readers who post reviews on various websites may not seem very prestigious or important, many of those reviewers and sites have a large number of followers who count on them to recommend their reading material. This means that their readership is highly targeted. If you had to pay to advertise to these readers, you would pay a high price to get your message in front of the specific people who are eager to read books that are not only in their desired genre but are also recommended by their favorite reviewers. (This is why ads during the Super Bowl cost more than ads during the news; the audience is much more targeted.)

For lists of bloggers and reader reviewers see 9 Critical Steps for Successful Self-Publishing: Get it Right the First Time.

Interviews

Your Local Newspaper is a perfect venue to contact with your offer to be interviewed. And when I say “local,” I mean very local: not the big city paper in your area (though it’s worth giving them the shot, too) but you’re more likely to get a positive response from the local paper that lists who won the Science Fair; the scores of your neighborhood high school’s football, basketball, volleyball and other games; as well as who grew the largest pumpkin/hog/substitute-something-of-your-choice in your area. It may not seem like an important vehicle, but the local paper will be interested in writing about a new author in their midst, or announce if you’re giving a reading at the local library. If they have a book review critic, they may also review your book, which can give you a blurb to publish on the back cover or use on your flyers. Don’t forget to send your local newspaper a press release announcing the publication of your book so they can announce: “Local Author Publishes New Book.”

Articles & Excerpts

Offer to write articles in publications that are read by your target audience. A way to come up with new content is to use research you did for your book that you didn’t end up using because it wasn’t directly related. If the information is new and interesting, it will also sell your book.

Speeches

Giving talks is a great way to give people a preview of what they will read about in your book – as long as you’re a dynamic presenter. People used to speak at bookstores, but that has not been a particularly welcoming venue of late. There are better places to speak.

For recommendations of where to speak, see  9 Critical Steps for Successful Self-Publishing: Get it Right the First Time.

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