Every aspiring author who has struggled to have their work accepted by an agent or a publishing house – only to have collected enough rejection slips to paper a wall – turns to thoughts of self-publishing.
If you’re thinking of publishing your own fiction, you owe it to yourself to find out everything you can about the self-publishing business. Besides the vanity presses, there is now print-on-demand (POD) that has emerged as a viable competitor in the self-publishing business.
Another element of publishing your fiction is knowing how to market it. Knowing how can mean the difference in selling a few books as opposed to thousands. Be sure your marketing efforts are professional and mistake-free.
If your promotional materials contain typos and misspelled words, the people handling your fiction will assume that your book is unprofessional and will be reluctant to promote it.
The Internet contains online discussion groups for various genres of fiction. Be sure you search out these groups and become involved with them. You’ll find out what people are reading and what they like and may discover ways that you can polish your work to appeal to more readers.
When communicating with people online, be sure and include a “signature file” on your correspondence. A signature file is a pre-written file that is automatically attached to the conclusion of an email message.
The signature file can contain information about your work of fiction and where the reader can purchase it. It’s a valuable advertising method of getting information out about your book.
Once the word is out about your book, the print on demand method helps to reduce the cost of publishing and printing by only printing and mailing the books as the orders come in.
Vanity publishers print a number of books for a fee. After the printing, the author is free to market her fiction without the restrictive contracts required of mainstream publishing houses.
If your self-publishing venture is successful, consider sending the results of your efforts to an established publishing house for your next book. It may be enough to rattle their cage and make them want to take a chance on you.
How to Market Your Work of Fiction
In the olden days of fiction publishing and marketing, the author sent her precious package of verbiage to an overworked and underpaid editor of a publishing company and waited for an acceptance (more often a rejection) letter in the mail.
If the book happened to be chosen and accepted from the slush pile of manuscripts, the author was notified and small check was sent as an “advance” for what the publisher hoped would turn into a fiction best seller.
The publisher was in charge of all the marketing efforts and all the author had to do was sit back and wait for the commissions from sales to start pouring in. If the book proved to be a success, the lucky author might be sent on a promotional tour of the book.
Things are notably different today. Authors of fiction need to be proactive in the marketing process of their books. They have to create the buzz and make sure it gets out to bookstores, is endorsed by other authors and hyped on as many online sites as possible.
If you’re promoting a self-published book of fiction, one of the most important things you can do to ensure its success is to go the extra mile on the book cover. It doesn’t have to look “fussy” – in fact, a simple design has a much better chance of success than a busy one.
Whether your book of fiction is self-published and distributed to book stores or print on demand (POD), it should contain no typos. If a publishing house is handling the marketing of your book, be sure you read the galleys carefully before you release it for publishing.
You are your own best fiction marketer. Take some time to send out copies of your book to major reviewers like The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. If you do happen to get a review from one of these highly credible publishers, your sales will increase and your popularity among publishers will climb.
Marketing your fiction can be almost as daunting as a blank computer screen when you first begin to write your book. But the time you invest in promoting it will ultimately determine the outcome of the amount of sales you’ll realize.
Use every source you possibly can to promote your book of fiction, including the media, online web sites and small book stores that welcome an author’s presence at book signings.
Above all, remember that you know your fiction book better than anyone else, so you are the perfect one to market it. You can use unusual methods or tried and true ones – just so you keep trying and never lose faith that your book will become a success.