Anyone who decides to write a book soon realizes that the job requires three separate but equal skills:
1) You have to think of what to write;
2) You have to write the book;
3) You have to then go out and sell your book.
# 3 is particularly true of anyone who self-publishes a novel or memoir. What writers soon realize is that no one wants to read their book!
What writers have to realize is that just because you have written a book that doesn’t necessarily mean an audience is waiting to read it. There are famous stories of how successful authors were approached by new would-be writers and they’d say: “I’ll get you published, as long as I don’t have to read it.”
That happened to William Faulkner, by the way. Sherwood Anderson got him published but didn’t read Faulkner’s first book. So don’t feel bad if no one reads your book, not if it helps you get published.
Now, how do you sell your novel or memoir?
Here are a few ideas.
Go to a POD company that publishes books. There are many, many companies out there, and you have your pick. See examples of what they have produced. Cost out the various companies as they can become expensive. You might do better by having others prepare the manuscript for publication. Or publish your own book as several RPCV writers have done, create your own imprint, or come to www.peacecorpsworldwide.org where we have begun to publish books written by RPCVs.
Remember that writing the book is only one small step in the whole process.
First, you have to sell your book with its design. It has to look like a ‘real’ book with an interesting jacket, readable title, and a description of the content on the back. If you can, get a graphics person to help you with the cover. I just saw a POD book that came to me from an RPCV writer, and I couldn’t read the text on the back of the jacket. Poorly designed.
Put the price of the book on the jacket. Again, a writer who has published, so far, five books has not yet put a price on them. And he isn’t giving away his novels!
Get an ISBN # for your book to ‘prove’ that you are for real.
Write a press release about your book and yourself.
Get the book on Amazon.com
Create a postcard with the jacket cover on one side, information on the other side and mail it to everyone you know or knew.
Build a website & create a blog about yourself and your book. (You can usually hire a high school kid to do this.) Keep it simple, not too many graphics, but add:
A chapter of the book.
Bio of yourself, not overwhelming, and have your bio relate to what you have written.
Tell where to buy the book besides Amazon. Are you selling it yourself?
Send the address of your website to every email you have.
Contact your local book stores–in person–and try to arrange a reading.
Let your local newspaper know you have written a book. They will write an article about you.
If your book has a ‘news’ connection and something happens, for example, in your country, write an op-ed and get it published. If you can’t get an op-ed in the paper, write a letter-to-the editor and list yourself as the author of ____.
Let your high school and college(s) know you have published a book….send them a copy for the library. Send a copy of your book to the alumnae magazine editor.
Send a copy to the Peace Corps, though they won’t do anything about it but send you a nice formal note saying thank you for your service.
Send a copy to www.peacecorpworldwide.org and we’ll list it and review it. Perhaps our review will be positive!
Send a copy to your “Friends of…..newsletter.
Now, all of this takes work and skills and expertise. You might want to hire a PR person. Check around your town for a free-lance public relations person. They are everywhere. You want to hire someone who does PR for books.
I have one suggestion (and other RPCV writers might email me more suggestions of people they have used) but you could contact Brooke Hall. Her email is: brookehallcreative.com. Brooke is in Baltimore at: 717.951.8493. It will cost you $$$ but you might just buy some of her many services.
Meanwhile, good luck with writing your book! That is where this all begins.