The world of publishing has been shifting recently and authors more than ever are taking it upon themselves to get their work out there. Some have tried the traditions of trying to get an agent or submit it straight to publishers, but many find this way to be closed to them, the reasons many. Though vanity presses and such have been around for a long time, newer companies have entered the game, giving you more options that make it easier for you, the aspiring indie writer. Once you have selected your means of entering the industry for yourself, there are at least three :”P’s” you should follow. There might be more, but I will keep it short…or try to, at least.
Having a book available for purchase needs to put you in the mindset of a business person. Yes, you are the author of a book, but when you self-publish, you are the publisher (and the marketer, the public relations person, the secretary, the bookkeeper, etc), the one that talks to bookstore employees and buyers, review blogs, podcasts, and other places that could possibly deal with your book. When talking to stores about carrying your book: be polite, listen to what they are telling you (this is a good way to learn more about how the publishing industry works), and if a bookstore declines to give you a book signing or carry your book, you have to remember: it’s strictly business. It is not a personal attack on you. If you write a romance book and a certain store knows they do not sell many romance books, they will more than likely pass on buying your novel. If and when they carry your book and it’s classified as returnable, you cannot get angry or tell them choice words for returning your book…again, it’s strictly business. Acting with professionalism while in a bookstore for your book signing or talking to them about carrying your book will take you farther.
As the old adage goes, “Persistence is key” and that goes just as well in this business. When trying to contact book store Community Relations Managers, Store Managers, Fiction Buyers, etc you have to keep the momentum rolling as you try to achieve your goals. Book store personnel (or anyone else for that matter) have many things going on. They have customers, vendors, and other employees to converse with and emails you send them will move down in their Inbox as the day progresses, maybe being overlooked. Sometimes your email will get lost in the mix, but do not shoot off one email and give up. Allow the person you emailed to correspond in two or three business days and if you don’t get a response, send the email again. Nothing still? It isn’t a bad idea to give them a call and introduce yourself. If they have a moment, talk to them about your book, what it’s about, and who it appeals to; give them the ISBN, your website…anything to let them see what you are about. Being persistent with your self-publishing can be fruitful with many sales of your book-and also being persistent with your writing and motivation get you closer to getting a big house publisher, if that is what you want.
No doubt you have passion if you decided to write a novel, short story, poem, novella, etc. Now that you are a self-published writer, extend the passion to the business side of things. You cannot just place your book on Amazon or your website and expect the payments and sales to roll in. As the publisher, you need to have the passion for the industry and be willing to work hard at getting the word out. With passion comes many rewards (getting your book to be purchased by Barnes & Noble, Borders, libraries, etc). Learn as much as you can about how book stores and publishers work. If you feel you cannot be passionate about being your own publisher with the work it entails, you might not want to self-publish. If the work becomes more of a chore and something you cannot enjoy, there isn’t a need to do it. Passion must cover all you do, no matter what it is. Show your passion to readers, businesses, and to the world. It will make you a better writer and indie press when all is said and done.
Self-publishing still has a negative stench with it, even today, but if you conduct yourself with professionalism and have everything laid out just like the big boys with distribution channels, returnability of your product, the appearance of a professional-looking book with a nice cover, layout, ISBN, edited content, the works, you will have gained a solid foot in many people’s doors. Before you know it, not many will even think that your book is POD or self-published. So go out there, gain the audience for yourself, build your brand, and you can always get back to the traditional road at some other point in time. Show the agents and publishers that you are a go-getter. It will make you more marketable and someone they might want to work with for future published works.
For more info about A.P. Stephens and his work:
The White Shadow Saga: The Stolen Moon of Londor is available on Amazon, BN.com, or can be ordered at any of your local bookstores.