So this week marks my first ever book promotion since I self-published two novels in 2009. I have gone through hell and high water to promote my books over the last two years and, without a publishing company backing me, I must say it has been a very challenging thing to attempt.
For my first novel, Queer Greer, for instance, I set up my own press release and sent it to as many newspapers and magazines as I could on my own. I got a couple of reviews out of this method, as well as an invitation to speak at the largest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) conference in the United States. Not too shabby, but I also have yet to make all of my money back from self-publishing costs.
My second novel, Choice, I went a different route. First off, I wrote it over the course of 30 days during November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Then, I decided to invest a bit more money and self-publish with a more quality self-publishing company. The result was a much more professional-looking hardcopy and a chance to be featured in Barnes and Noble stores.
While I do not regret the investment, despite being even further away from breaking even on costs than I am with Queer Greer, I do have a problem with the publicity package I purchased from that second company. Nothing came of it whatsoever, despite a press release on the book allegedly being sent to over 1,000 media outlets across the United States. I might as well have burned that money with a match.
Despite still being in the red in terms of cost output versus profit two years later, I am a great proponent of the self-publishing path. I’ve gained clout as a writer that I wouldn’t have otherwise and I intend to utilize these examples when I pitch my next book to actual publishing companies and literary agents.
If you have a first manuscript or a book idea and are not sure where to go with it, take some advice from me and Mahalo.com: