No, I haven’t gone mad and put out a how-to book on self-publishing. How riotous would that be?
No, Catherine Ryan Howard is the author and she’s been at this longer than me. She is just now putting out the third edition of her book, and it’s fully updated and full of advice for folks like me – and possibly you!
Here is some more information concerning Ms. Howard and her new release:
Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING (3rd edition) is out now in paperback and e-book and available from Amazon. Follow the #selfprintedsplash on Twitter today (Friday 24th) and/or visit www.catherineryanhoward.com for chance to win an amazing prize that will get your self-publishing adventure started!
“SELF-PRINTED is my self-publishing bible. It taught me how to format, create and upload my e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. It showed me practical things such as how to build a website/blog and how to promote my books. More importantly, it taught me how to compete with the professionals. Just look at the results – The Estate Series has sold nearly 100,000 copies and following that I got a traditional book deal with Thomas & Mercer too, so I’m now a hybrid author. Jam-packed full of hints and tips all in one place, I’m always referring back to it. In a word, it’s priceless.” – Mel Sherratt, author of The Estate Series and DS Allie Shenton Series
In addition to all this, I asked Ms. Howard a question, a burning question, mind you, concerning my sad state in terms of social media. SHOCKINGLY (LoL), there is no magic spell one can cast that will allow avoidance of hard work and social interaction (sob!). Here is my question, followed by Catherine’s answer:
As a new author who is completely inept with social networking, and didn’t think about how to market myself until AFTER my book came out, what is the ONE thing you think I could do that would help people find my book.
Well, Lee, first I have to give you some bad news. You’ve kind of given me a lot of clues in the wording of your sentence (“completely inept”, “didn’t think about how to market myself”, “the ONE thing”) that you’re perhaps looking for the easy way out…? Is that a fair observation? I mean, there’s free information all over the internet – including on my blog – about how to help sell copies of your book. But you want to know the “ONE” thing you could do. The bad news is, one thing isn’t enough. You have to do as much as you can. And while you say you’re “completely inept” it really isn’t that difficult to figure out how to post a tweet – I promise! The thought of using social media is actually a lot worse than actually doing it. 😀
I think what happens is that people get intimidated by all this silly talk of SEO and social media and why 5:03 GMT is the best time to tweet. FORGET ALL THAT CRAP (I say). Social media = word of mouth. That’s all it is. But if you’ve self-published, you simply will have to embrace it in order to do well. There’s no other way. I can’t think of one anyway. If you publish (sell) a product online, you must be prepared to promote it online. Them’s the rules.
Another thing I would say is that it’s not your job to help people to find your book. Your job is to make them want to buy your book, to be interested in. To make them say to themselves, “I MUST read that!” Keep that in mind. It’s an important difference.
So while I can’t really answer your question – because nothing in isolation works by itself – what I would recommend you do is:
1. Take a step back. Consider that you have to either embrace social media, or give up on your self-publishing goals.
2. Spend some time online seeing what other self-publishers are up to. What do they do? How do they use Twitter? What do they blog about? Have they had any great promotion ideas? Read some guides. Maybe watch some YouTube videos. Find out as much as you can about other writers use social media to sell their books.
3. Use what you learned in #2 to make a promotional plan for you and your book. Give yourself enough time to get comfortable with Twitter etc. and spread your plan out over 3 months.
4. Re-launch your book with this plan.
5. Repeat as required.