One of the little secrets about self-publishing that most people don’t necessarily think of when they first decide to choose that path is that they are not only the creative force behind their work and the author who actually writes the book, but that they also have to be their own publicist. I know I certainly didn’t give this nearly enough thought in either conceptualizing or actually writing my Handy Guide.
But even authors who are picked up by publishing houses have to do a lot of the publicity legwork on their own, particularly if they’re first-time authors.
This week’s Wall Street Journal (my favorite newspaper) had a terrific article about yet another first-time author who has succeeded with her work. Kathleen Grissom (from Virginia!) published her first book, “The Kitchen House,” in 2010 through Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster unit. Sales have now reached 254,000 copies in print and 152,000 e-book units …. but those numbers came about through her own determination and very hard work.
She focused her advertising efforts on book review bloggers and on book clubs, sending copies to bloggers and asking them to review it and then offering to speak to book clubs when they contacted her to invite her to meet with them. She thinks she’s probably spoken to around 50 books clubs in the past two years.
But all that hard work has now paid off.
Moral of the story (and one I should have followed): think early on about how to draw attention to your book and be prepared to follow through to help generate interest and excitement. This is equally important to making sure you’ve crafted the best possible book you can.
That said, it’s never too late to pump up your advertising effort. It took two full years for Kathleen Grissom to achieve the success she has seen with her book. Which leads to the second moral: don’t lose heart and give up too soon!