I read today that there are 700,000 self published authors in the USA alone. The web is full of sites likes GoodReads, which offer encouragement and support to aspiring writers and there are myriad places where you can advertise your new book. A cautionary tale, however, from John Locke, the only self published author to sell 1 million e-books. As a rich man he was in a position to place a six foot advertisement outside a major book store. He couldn't get the store to stock his book or even take orders from people who expressed an interest. Self published authors evidently carry a stigma.
I was lucky enough to find a small publishing house for my book and it changes the opening dynamic of any conversation on the subject. I am usually asked whether my book is self published with a look I would only adopt personally if the wine I had been keeping for a special occasion turned out to be corked. When I explain that it was taken by a professional publisher, the mood changes and I am given the benefit of the doubt that I might be a real author. Of course they haven't read my book at that stage!
Anyone trying to sell a book is up against it, self published authors even more so.
My book has been out for just two weeks so I am no position to offer you a John Locke type guide (for more click here:http://www.amazon.com/John-Locke/e/B003ATT1YO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1355570722&sr=1-2-ent)
Like the rest of this blog I am just sharing an insight into some of the things I wish I had known at the start. I thought I would do this as a list, in no particular order:
1. Obvious but you have to have a web-site: mine is here: www.thai-lottery.net. I have offered a sample story from the book, some genuine reviews, links to other sites of interest and most important of all, a page saying where you can buy the book. There are lots of links to that page from elsewhere in the site.
2. Twitter can seem to be a pointless popularity contest, an endless search for followers who don't read your stuff anyway. I was convinced it was essential and am now mildly addicted. It's fun, you do see some interesting stuff amongst the dross and I challenge you not to get a little kick out of it when you get another follower.
3. You need a Facebook page - the business variety seems to be the thing, that is one mistake I have yet to rectify. There are better ones but take a look at this - http://www.facebook.com/matt.carrell.75
4. Technical issues - for the first two weeks I did not know what a hashtag was, how important it is to retweet or even how to link Twitter to my Facebook page. The help features on each of the sites will tell you more about this than I ever could. I also tried Pinterest - but can't get the hang of it. If you do, please let me know. It also took me thirty minutes to discover the "hash" key on my Apple keyboard (Alt 3).
5. Trawl the net for sites that cover your subject matter. My book is about the Thai bar scene and I found sites that were willing to give me free coverage, post reviews of my book and generally point me in the right direction for potential readers. Particular thanks to Canterbury Tales Cafe (http://www.canterburytalescafe.com/) and Living Thai (http://www.livingthai.org/short-stories-about-pattaya.html) .
6. Forums. My task was easy, there are stacks of forums on the Thai bar scene e.g. www.pattaya-addicts.com/forum. I joined and the members have been great. Don't come on too strong with the book at first. If possible you should try to become part of the forum community before your book is even published, you may have a potential mailing list as your book gets out there.
That's my top 6 in no particular order. Feedback and any other pointers welcome.