There are now various ways to get a book into the hands of readers. The two main options are traditional publishing and self publishing also known as indie publishing. Each method has its pros and cons and should be considered carefully for each of your written works. Joanna Penn wrote an article highlighting these pros and cons and also discusses the difference between the two publishing methods. You can read the full article here. We’ve decided to hone in on a few of the major positives and negatives for each publishing channel below.
Major Pros of Traditional Publishing:
- The chance to work with an experienced team (graphics, cover designers, editors, sales reps) with excellent connections all under one roof
- Greater potential for recognition and sales
- Easier to obtain print distribution
- No upfront cost
Major Cons of Traditional Publishing:
- Slow process
- Not in complete control of how you and your books will be marketed
- Royalties may be low
Major Pros of Indie Publishing:
- Doesn’t take as much time
- You are in complete control of how and when your book reaches your audience
- You are in complete control of how you market yourself and your book
- No limits to where you can publish or sell your book
Major Cons of Indie Publishing:
- Must fund any marketing/advertising yourself
- Less likely to be recognized with literary prizes
- Print distribution can be more difficult
If your book is nearing completion and you are struggling with this publishing decision remember to think about what would be best for you and your book. Make your own list of pros and cons and compare them to this one. Write down what you wish for yourself and your books and that will help you make the decision that’s best for you.
We live in a digital age where people “hop” online to do almost everything: research, read, watch television/movies, stay connected with family and friends, shop, work, go to school, etc. If you want to enhance your presence as an author in today’s world then you need to put yourself and your books online. There are 5 key things every author should have if they want to build a successful online platform.
- Website-A website consolidates everything about you and your books in one place. Social media allows you to feature fragments of yourself and your writings, but does not allow your readers to see all your works and read about you in entirety. Therefore, it’s important that you have a personal website. A good author website will have the following essential features: a synopsis about you, what type of books you write and read, a link to your books from your website, a contact page, links to your social media pages, a news page of sorts highlighting your published books; books you are currently working on (with writing samples) and events you plan on attending. A personal blog is also important.
- Social Media Pages (Facebook & Twitter are key)-Social media allows you to directly and quickly connect with a mass of people all around the world. According to a U.S. study done by Informate Mobile Intelligence (information published in Digital Trends), people check their social media accounts 17 times a day and spend approximately 5 hours on their phones. So in other words, make sure your presence is known digitally and that you are posting often.
- Goodreads Page-Goodreads is another social media platform built specifically for authors and readers. Goodreads is the easiest way to access your target audience because they reside in one place.
- Amazon Author Page-Think of the Amazon author page as a mini website. It allows you to feature information about you, provide samples of your books, and list all of your written works in one place. Amazon is one of the most popular, if not the most popular place, to search for and download books.
- Personal Blog-Gary Dekmezian wrote an excellent article for the Huffington Post about the benefits of blogging. We feel the most important benefits he highlights include being able to express yourself and your passions, share your knowledge, build a professional network, earn more exposure, and market your product. Click here to read the full article.
Being successful today requires that you delve into the digital world. Of course there are many options for building your online platform, but we can guarantee that most important options to start with are listed above. And as always HPH is here to help if you need it.
Groupon, Groop Dealz, Woot, Zulily and many online retailers of this sort send you e-mail notifications about great deals based on your preferences and interests. Goodreads is now offering this same service for e-books. Once you sign-up, Goodreads will notify you of discounted e-books based on your Goodreads account profile (authors you follow, books on your want to read list, books you’ve read, genres you like, etc.) This new Goodreads feature is not only amazing for readers but can be a great marketing tool for authors. If you offer your book at a discounted rate on Goodreads it is likely that without much effort on your part, your book and your name will be flying into hundreds of inboxes across the globe. What great exposure! Check out the Goodreads Blog for more information.
Even though social media marketing is the “thing to do,” don’t forget that there’s potential for a huge reader fan base in your own backyard. Here is a list of things you can do to reach out to your local community and spread the word about you and your books.
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com
- Attend book fairs at schools (elementary school, middle school, high school, college) whichever age group is appropriate for your book and set up a booth
- Sign up for county fairs, craft fairs, art fairs, festivals or other city and county events and set up a booth
- Attend book conventions
- Visit your local library and see if they would be willing to let you do an author signing/reading and set up a table
- Visit your local bookstores and see if they would be willing to let you set up a display of your book and/or do an author reading
- Contact your friends, family, and co-workers and tell them about your book
- Hand out free copies of your book at events or to your friends/family/co-workers
- Search for local book clubs and offer a copy of your book to the group in exchange for them reading it and writing a review
- Offer to host and teach a community writing class at a school or library
- See if you can get an ad in a local newspaper or magazine about your book
- Call your local radio station/newspaper/magazine and see if they would be willing to interview you about your book
Like Joel Friedlander states in his article, “awareness and exposure are really our biggest goals when we launch a new book. If all the marketing you’re doing is online, you may be missing out on lots of excellent opportunities to market your book.” Below are a few highlights from his article about the benefits of marketing your book offline.
- Can sell your books at full price
- Develop a deeper connection with your readers by talking to them in person
- Many people still like to see, touch, and read excerpts from books before they buy them. If you have print copies of your books at events, conventions, workshops etc. you are more likely to get sales.
- You can receive instant feedback on your writing
Joel says, “there are still lots of ways people get together, network, and learn about new things in the real world.” Don’t get so caught up in the digital world that you forget about the real world and its potential to help you grow as a writer and be more successful.
There’s a reason why many people feel uncomfortable in mattress stores, furniture stores, car dealerships, cell phone stores, etc. We refer to it as “vulturization.” Every salesperson looks at you like you’re a piece of meat. This is exactly why your news feed should not be saturated with posts only focusing on selling yourself or your books. Your followers should not feel as though you only care about them buying your product or buying into you. This will immediately make them feel uncomfortable and turn them off. Your readers/followers don’t care so much about buying your work as much as they do about getting to know you. They want to know your thought processes for writing and what inspires you. They want to know what you do in your spare time and what YOU like to read. They want to know your interests, your favorite places to buy books, read books, write books etc. They want you to ask for THEIR opinions as well. The quickest way to lose followers is to to constantly try and sell them something. If they like what they see and read about you, the likelihood of them buying and liking your written work increases immensely. If you want to keep your followers engaged and attract even more readers, Clare at Curiosity Quills lists “Ten Ways Authors Can Connect with Readers on Social Media.” Read the full article
here. Below are a few suggestions that stood out to us.
Be Visual-A social post with images is more likely to attract attention than a post with only words. If this weren’t so, Instagram and Snapchat would not have survived this long.
Photo Source: www.pixabay.com
Don’t Overshare-Your readers/followers want to know more about you personally, but they don’t need to know EVERYTHING. They probably don’t care to know what brand of toothpaste you like or where a birthmark is or your driver’s license number. 😉 Too much of you could disengage them.
Be Passionate-Everyone is passionate about something. A book, a movie, a television show, a restaurant, a hobby, their friends/family/lover. If you share your passions and emanate passion in each of your posts it is likely that your followers will be more inclined to respond to your posts and share them with others.
Participate in Chats/Discussion– Respond to any questions/comments your followers may present to you. This shows that you care and also provides just another platform for you to connect with more people and market yourself and your product.
Try out Trends/Popular Hashtags-Participation in trends and use of popular hashtags will help your posts reach more people.
Don’t Be Negative-Negative posts/comments spur negative feelings which can attach themselves to you personally. If you are negative your followers may start to see you in an unfavorable light.
Be Careful What You Say About Others-You never know who could be reading or seeing your posts. You do not want anything to come back to hurt you or to hurt others that could potentially help you as an author.
And lastly (this is one of ours) Host a Giveaway/Contest-Who doesn’t enjoy free stuff and participating in a little healthy competition to get it?! This is a surefire way to get people to engage with you and to share your page with others.
All of these steps are so simple and require little time to implement and yet they can have a major impact on your career. Keeping these suggestions in mind before you hit POST could benefit you greatly. Follow us on Twitter for more marketing tips. @hph_online