Tag Archives: traditional publishing

Life as a self-published author #2

As I’m reflecting back on my life as a self-published author so far – all 35 days of it – I thought it would be useful to jot down my musings here. Of course I would normally do this privately in my journal, but maybe there’ll be something in amongst this lot that others might find helpful. Today I’m looking at the early stages of book marketing.

First off I don’t have a grand master plan for marketing my book. With me it’s more a case of following my nose and doing what feels right in the moment. This is a hell of a lot easier when you’ve actually got a real product to talk about and show – especially if it’s something you’re proud of.

But for the sake of analysing “how I do marketing” as a self-published author I guess I would have to look at the contacts and experiences I’ve had  over the past few years which have stood me in good stead for this phase of the book’s life cycle.

Being a freelance writer in the pay of a local magazine helps enormously. The whole catalyst behind my book coming out in December was because in November my editor offered me space to promote it! See what I mean about following my nose? I’m a shameless opportunist! Though I do find opportunities come along more readily when I’m truly doing what I love.

Traditional and partner publishers often talk to writers and authors about platform building, and creating a network, both on and off-line, of potential readers and fans.

I’ve always hated the concept of networking. That empty formulaic conversation where one only just manages, with the thinnest of veils, to disguise one’s intention to sell one’s product or service. Yuck. It all seems so very calculated and forced, in a ‘must-do-some-networking’ way.

Yet by following my heart and getting involved with a number of groups and events that I hold dear, I’ve managed to build up quite a large network (I suppose) of contacts. But it’s important that the network came about as a by-product of my participation in things that first and foremost I love to do. Reading, writing, expressing ideas and playing golf (!) are all things I love, and taking part in these things has given me a network of contacts well into the hundreds. The more authentic the network, the easier the marketing process, and the more likely it is to be successful.

Add to this the workshops that I have delivered on the topic of journal writing, which served to help me identify my readership – and which helped me tremendously in putting my book together in the first place. It was a great experience to showcase some of my journaling ideas to a paying audience – and to begin to create a small community of like-minded reflective writing practitioners. And it gave me a huge confidence boost that what I had to say about journaling was bringing something new to the topic, and introducing a new audience.

So when my book first came out I was able to email all my contacts advising them of it, just to raise awareness. I made a handful of sales straight off the bat from this process, which was extremely gratifying.

In the next instalment of Life as a self-published author, I’ll be looking at using online networking tools. Check back soon!

 

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A self-publishing adventure

Yesterday my hubby, who’s doing all the techie side of getting the Handbook published, pushed the button on blurb.co.uk to order the first proof of my book. Yeayyy!

I’d written the manuscript in Word, he’d converted it to pdf (though a very specific format of pdf), then uploaded it to blurb’s ‘pdf to book’ service. All this nitty gritty left me cold. “I’m a writer,” I declared. “I need to be doing the writing and I need someone else to do the content uploading and formatting for me.” I’m lucky to have my own technical monkey to help!

Yesterday afternoon I spent in the company of local writers as we listened to crime fiction author Jen Hilborne give us the benefit of her experience getting published both the traditional way and the self-publishing way. It was a very rich workshop, packed with hints and tips about how to use Amazon and social media to promote our books, and how to decide which publishing route to take. I learned the distinctions between self-publishing, independent publishing, vanity publishing and traditional publishing, and it was useful to know that self-publishing is becoming an increasingly respected channel to market.

It also goes to show how quickly things are changing in the publishing world since I started thinking seriously about writing in 2007.  Back then self- and indie-publishing were invariably tarred with the same stigmatising brush as vanity publishing. The advances in digital technology, and the determination of the writing community to exploit as much of it as we can manage to get our words out into the world have completely changed the picture. Now, thankfully, blogs, e-books, and print on demand have begun to steal the market from the vanity sharks, who prey on the delicate egos and vulnerable wallets of new writers through their gushing letters of flattery and boiler-plate promises of authorial greatness.

If you’re a writer local to Swindon and you’d like to learn a bit more about publishing and book promotion online, Jen has offered to run another workshop at Basepoint, West Swindon, in the New Year 2013. Drop me a line at juliet@treetopscommunications.co.uk if you’re interested in attending.

If you’re struggling to upload your content into blurb using pdf to book, check out my hubby’s extensive blog on the subject: Blurb publishing.

And if you’re into crime fiction check out Jen Hilborne’s books No Alibi, Madness and Murder, and Hide and Seek via her website.

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