The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has just shared a guidance post on “Five Self-publishing Lessons Learned Between Debut and Second Book,” by self-published author Lorna Sixsmith, on the promotional and publicity techniques she learned to help push her work out. And the techniques could also apply for independent authors who have a publisher but also have to do a lot of the promotional legwork themselves.
Lorna’s first tip is timing: and for those authors targeting a pre-Christmas gift-buying period, she says: “in hindsight, if I had published it in September, and managed to get it into more shops, my pre-Christmas sales would have been higher. My next book will be out in September.” As for press coverage, she counsels thinking big. “Don’t be satisfied with a couple of press mentions – aim for more. Listen to radio and read newspapers and see if there are any relevant stories that you can ‘piggy-back’ on.” And she recommends leveraging media appearances immediately to target local bookshops: ” I would really recommend contacting wholesalers and local bookshops if you secure a good radio or television interview.” Smaller shops, she feels, are also worth targeting as well as the bigger outlets and chains. And finally, she recommends, be prompt and pro-active in responding to interested journalists: “Always say yes to journalists when they want to interview you!”
ALLi offers an entire library of such tips and guidance on its “How-to for Authors” blog. There’s also a dialog here between a self-published author, Toby Neal, and a traditionally published author, Holly Robinson, courtesy of IndieReader, on how they make their book launches work and the techniques they use, including their “most essential marketing tools.” For Toby, these are “my blog and my email list,” followed closely by Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
For anyone looking for more professional advice, there’s commercially available guides such as Joel Friedlander’s Book Launch Toolkit, which offers extensive how-to guidance, including strategies, worksheets, and cheat sheets – for a price. Joel at least does share some of the advice in a webinar on his site, viewable here. You can also find sites such as Training Authors for Success, which I do not necessarily recommend – just letting you know that they’re there. Free tips such as “Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make When Self-Publishing an eBook,” however, might actually help you, as well as not leaving you out of pocket.
So there are just some resources for making your selfie-or-indie book launch work. I’ll be looking out for more valuable contributions to the whole debate, and other tips and hints are welcome and invited.