images.jpegIs the title of a blog post by writer Maya Reynolds. While there is a huge amount of hype about self-publishing, the simple fact is that it is easy to self-publish, but fiendishly hard to get the word out about your self-published book. Every seminar I attend speaks about the difficulty of getting publicity and distribution for a self-published book.

Again, I think there are legitimate reasons to self-publish. However, if you are thinking about it, please take the time to educate yourself. Don’t let your impatience justify forking over several thousand dollars. Having a physical copy of your book is the start, not the finish. Remember: Even with a website or a listing on Amazon, you still need to find a way to drive traffic to your book.


  1. It’s very hard to get the word out about your traditionally published book too. It’s also nearly impossible to get your traditionally published book into stores. These are hard realities that writers should be aware of. I think the line between traditional and self-publishing is a lot fuzzier than people realize.

  2. So long as you know what you’re getting, it’s not necessarily a bad way to spend a limited amount of money. The thing is, getting strangers to give you money for your story is difficult, no matter whether you have a major label on the spine or CreateSpace, Lulu, etc. But if you get nowhere with editors and agents, and you think your book has the potential to sell, self publishing might be your only alternative. The trick is to educate yourself about book distribution. How do the books get to your local bookstore? That is the question you need to ask yourself. That, and how many times have you personally bought a book by someone you had never heard of from an online site? The odds are stacked against you if you self publish, but if you dream of publication more than that vacation cruise, maybe that’s where you want to spend your money. But have a plan.

  3. For most self-pub authors, the biggest hurdle is marketing. As I mentioned to another writer the other day, as a self-publisher you need to “actively” utilize the social networks and other tools to make yourself known. Without any participation, it will be much harder for your works to be discovered. For example, Wattpad’s “fan” feature is very similar to Twitter’s follower/following model. Using Twitter as an analogy – it would be similar to someone who never posts a tweet, never follows anyone etc. It will be hard to generate any Twitter follower, right? Not a perfect analogy, but hope you get the idea.

    We have many success stories on Wattpad. For example:

    Some of these writers did not spend any money to market themselves and get 300,000+ reads within weeks. One thing in common, they talk to the community, they read other people’s works and comments etc.

    While it is unrealistic for self-publishers to expect instant successes without putting any effort in marketing, there are many low cost way to do marketing these days. In the case of Wattpad, it does not cost any money but some effort is still required.

  4. Yes, the key is distribution, driving traffic to your site, advertising, catching eyeballs. Without that, the book is dead in the water, whether a paper book or an e-book. Just as in retailing, the key words are location, location, location……in self-pubbing, the key words are distribution, distribution, distribution. To get a frontpage story in the New York Times to drive traffic and eyeballs to your self-pub website, you need a high-powered PR firm in NYC or extremely good luck, take your pick. Otherwise, how will readers learn about your very well written book with a great story in it? Publishing is easy, print or e-pubbing. Just type, push a few buttons, voila, there is a book. But the key again is distribution. If the goal is just to get 25 copies to your friends and relatives, or your college professor at your MFA thesis for yr creative writing program at Iowa, no problem. But if you want to get anywhere from 3000 to 10,000 readers, the key is distribution. You have to pay big bucks to the get paper book in the window of a bookstore. Word of mouth, or what we now call “word of mouse” on the Internet, can help, too. If enough blogs talk up your book, sales will increase. They key is: how to complete strangers find out about your book and how to do they make an educated guess that it’s worth buying it? The odds are getting worse and worse. But still, have fun doing it, whatever it is you are doing. It’s your book, you wrote it, that’s the main thing! So what if only 12 people read it? Not really important. That you wrote it and put it out in paper or e-book version is what counts. It’s one step towards the next step.

  5. In my experience, getting publicity is hard no matter what type of book you wrote. The media aren’t interested in helping anyone sell books. They only publish or cover news, entertainment or educational items. They make their money from subscriptions and advertising, and to get featured, you need to give them what they want and need to survive and thrive as a publisher. That’s true whether you aim at USA Today or the blog of bored Texas Housewife.

    Create and offer something that tastes like candy to another publisher, then they might be inclined to share it.

    The key issue when you pitch media is this: What’s in it for my audience?

    You need to communicate real tangible value very quickly. You do this by doing what you do best, whether that be helping people with your advice, making them laugh, cry, or by astounding them.

    If your pitch makes them hungry for more, then the door opens.
    Then you make it easy for media to do what you are asking by offering to give them the content and illustrations they need to do their job.

    Bottom line:

    1. write a good book
    2. learn what to say to turn people on
    3. pitch it to the right media

    That’s how you get media to spread the word for you.

    My new book, Trash Proof is up on SmashWords – it’s a free download.

    The book can be viewed online or downloaded in ten different formats.

    Paul J. Krupin, Direct Contact PR
    Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
    800-457-8746 (TF US) 509-531-8390 (Cell) 509-582-5174 (Direct)

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