Two recent events have got me thinking about self-publishing - a dream about cheese, and a trip to Texas.
First, the cheese. My nearly 8 year old son loves cheese. Cheese is his great motivator in life. His dream for his birthday is a visit to a local artisanal cheese shop. So when I dreamt last night that he was attempting to select a college, and chose the one that offered him free cheese, it made total sense.
Unrelated to the cheese, our family is currently settling back into life after a weeklong trip to Texas. One thing you can’t help notice about Texas is how utterly TEXAS everything is. You can’t forget you’re in Texas, because everything reminds you that you’re in the Lone Star State. Texas flags everywhere. Bumper stickers proclaiming the superiority of Texas. All kinds of objects shaped like Texas. One thing Texas has down is identity and branding (also really tasty food).
So what do my cheese dreams and a family trip to Texas have to do with self-publishing? They both got me thinking about the importance of self-promotion and knowing your audience. When you’re self-publishing your book, you become more than just an author - you must take on every role (or outsource them) a publisher does, from editing, to formatting, to cover design, and marketing. After working so hard on writing your book, you now must find a way to get it into the hands of your readers. While you could certainly publish your book and hope for the best, but having a solid marketing plan in place is probably a better way to go!
In my dream of cheese-related college decisions, the college clearly wanted to attract cheese fanatics like my son. They knew their market, and they catered to it explicitly. In a sea of similar colleges offering similar packages, they set themselves apart with cheese. What’s your cheese? Who are your readers, and how can you create opportunities to distinguish your book from other books on the market?
Similarly, what can we as authors and promoters of our work learn from Texas? How do you brand your books? Are your covers, keywords, and marketing materials consistent and speaking to both your work and your audience?
Over the next several months we’ll tackle a variety of different topics in marketing and promoting your book - from social media, to mailing lists, to ARCs, to selecting the right keywords and tweaking your blurb - but in the meantime, spend some time thinking about your work, and how you can be strategic in getting your writing in front of readers.
How do you market yourself? Do you have a Facebook page? Mailing list? Something else? Feel free to share in the comments! And as always, if you need formatting, recommendations for an editor, or just have questions about any aspect of self-publishing, we’re here to make things less complicated.