Getting Discovered: Self-Publishing Promotion

Blog 75 imageIn my series of blogs called How to Self-Publish, it’s time to turn to promotion.

So, imagine a writer who’s completed a book of fiction, had it edited and had a cover designed. He’s decided to self-publish the book, and selected the distribution channels and prices for the digital and print versions. But how does he get readers to buy the book?

This question is the discoverability problem. I’m going to spend the next few blogs trying to help with it. I say “trying” because there’s no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. There simply are too many good writers and books vying for readers’ attention.

What I do think is clear is this. Readers will only buy a self-published writer’s book if they believe they’ll be entertained or get some other benefit. This means they have to know about the book and likely what other readers think about it. For this, the writer must:

  1. Make sure his book is good. Probably really good.
  2. Promote himself and his book in a way that readers generally like.
  3. Be persistent at that promotion.
  4. Keep assessing what’s working and what’s not.
  5. Understand that he often won’t have any idea why a reader bought his book.
  6. Leave lots of time to write the next book.

A tall order!

So, in my next posts in this category, I’m going to discuss promotional strategies like developing word of mouth through family and friends, getting reviews, building a website and blogging, using social media, giving presentations and a few others.There’s lots written already on these strategies, so I’ll be adding my personal experiences.

And I’ll be hoping to hear the experiences of others.

Copyright © 2015 Peter Fritze

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Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing: The Summary

Since May 2014, I’ve written 16 posts to help a writer with his first manuscript choose between traditional publishing and self-publishing. I’m bringing the blog series to a close with a summary of what I’ve considered.

A few initial thoughts.

The blog series and summary assume that a writer who chooses to self-publish will hire a qualified editor and cover designer. It’s hard to imagine a writer who is serious about building a readership not doing so. Also, the series and summary are for unpublished writers, not writers who’ve previously worked with traditional publishers. However, a previously published writer might find the summary useful in thinking about what to do with a dying back list or a new book the publisher isn’t interested in.

Of course, my evaluation of the criteria to choose between traditional publishing and self-publishing is, to a significant extent, personal and therefore subjective. Readers may have different assessments or think I’ve missed some criteria entirely. The main idea of the summary, though, is to give a first-time writer some guideposts when thinking about publishing options.

Finally, publishing is changing fast and parts of the summary could be out of date quickly. The summary will be most useful to writers who consider it in the context of the most recent trends in the publishing industry.

And here’s the summary. “Top income” is my speculation because there’s poor data and “Average income” is trends based on recent U.K. and Canadian writer surveys (see my blog here).

Criteria

Acceptance

Top income

Average income

Advances

Upfront costs

Quality of help

Distribution

Time to market

Promotional help

Press reviews

Control

Contract

Discoverability

Achievement

Traditional

⇑⇑⇑

⇑⇑⇑ ?

⇑⇑

Varies

⇑⇑⇑

⇑⇑⇑

Self

⇑⇑

⇑⇑ ?

?

Varies

⇑⇑

⇑⇑

⇑⇑

⇑⇑

Thanks!

I will be taking a few weeks off from blogging. Back again in late September!

Copyright © 2015 Peter Fritze

Buy False Guilt.

Buy The Case for Killing.

Follow me on Twitter @PFritze.

Visit me on Facebook.