“Can you look in their books and see if they list a publicist or two?” –B. Lynn Goodwin
🎤 The Times They Are A–Changing
If you receive the quarterly e-mail from Writer Advice, you might have seen my invitation which said, “I’d love to hear what you think is better and what is more of a challenge in today’s writing and publishing world. Send your opinion by responding to this e-mail. The best will be published in the first issue of 2022.”
I’m sharing the two that have come in so far, hoping it will tempt you to send yours. Judith and Diane, you are welcome to send your website URL or the name of any recent book or article, along with the name of the publisher. I’ll add it in as a thank you for being early, and if other submitters do the same, I’ll include their link too. Please resist the temptation to send more than one.
Judith Marshall said, “What is better is the ease of self-publishing. What’s more challenging is marketing a self-published book. Also, challenging is getting book reviews. Even when you do book giveaways, readers don’t often post a review. Very frustrating.” Judith is the author of Staying Afloat and her website is judithmarshall.net
Diane Pickett said, “Writers who are hoping for a publisher are finding it more difficult than ever and many of us have turned to self publishing . The myriad of problems associated with self publishing are daunting and should only be undertaken by those who (1) have a thorough understanding of the costs involved (2) or publish for vanity to impress their friends(3)or need the money and will do all of the tremendously hard work of marketing, which is more difficult than the writing of the book itself (4)Have the resources and don’t care about the cost or time involved.”
If you Google “Tips for Book Marketing in 2021,” you’ll find plenty of openings, opportunities, and sites with promises that seem too good to be true. Use discretion if you go that route. Use the same intelligence you brought to your writing. Take advantage of any free offer you want and invest if it seems wise. If the emphasis is more on the provider than on you, beware. Some are very good, and some are better at selling than delivering—or so I’ve been told.
Instead of hiring one individual, you can use these questions to build a marketing support system that’s practically free:
- What genre is your book?
- Who’s selling the most books in your genre? Look it up on Amazon and Bookshop.org. The ones listed on both might be the people you want to know more about.
- Can you follow the top 10 on Social Media? That’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others I haven’t heard of. (Suggest one and I can add it.) Important: Friend the writer on one or two places. Don’t become a stalker.
- Can you post your sincere interest in their books, their techniques, and their processes? Buy the book or get it from a library, review the book and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and B&N. If it’s a review in line with the ones on Writer Advice, offer it to us here. Now that you’ve friended the writer, send her/him the link to your review. I’d love to have you send a link from Writer Advice, because it helps people know who we are. Win-win.
- Can you ask how they recommend you promote if they don’t have an article about it on their web page? If they do have an article, read it. Got questions? Ask, but don’t pester. You’ve picked ten people so if one or two don’t have time for you, don’t worry about it.
- Can you look in their books and see if they list a publicist or two? Google them. What do they recommend? Are they taking clients? Why would you be a match? The fact that you’re following one of their clients might convince them that you are. They may have great ideas about who will buy your book and where to find those potential buyers.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you do it well, you’ll win friends and influence the wise ones to buy your book.
Networking is a weird phenomenon. I don’t understand it, but I’ve found my publishers because people knew my work. It works especially well when you’re not trying to do it but offering sincere help and asking honest questions. How can you go wrong if you’re praising a fellow writer? Aren’t you being a good literary citizen? Give it a try and see what happens. I’d love to hear what works and doesn’t work for you.