Publishing a Novel, pt. 3

This will be the final part of my “Publishing” series. It’s been a little more autobiographical than I originally intended, but I expect I’ll be discussing the subject more in the future. Perhaps then I’ll achieve the sort of voice I was looking for in this series.

In any case, let’s talk about promoting a new book.

Pushing Your Book

I won’t tell you that my debut novel has been financially successful. It would be a lie. I’m still making back the money I spent to publish it, slowly, I might add. I may not be the best source for the topic of promoting a new novel, but I’m all I have for the moment, so for the time being let me tell you how I’ve been going about pushing A Package of Moods.

Promoting my novel has been both highly frustrating and very rewarding.

My first step was to promote the book online – it was easy and quickly accomplished. It’s hard to say how successful that was / has been, but I know it has gained me a few sales and a little attention. I do recommend that you use social media and whatever other digital means you have, but trying to convince people you’re worth their time is difficult – especially on the internet. Try looking for like-minded groups, people who enjoy reading, and try to get your friends on social media to help you spread the word. Facebook was likely my most successful area of influence. My friends and family were highly supportive, shared my posts, and after most bought the book they told their friends about it. The initial sales were due, without a doubt in my mind, to their amazing support.

Quickly, I made an effort to contact local bookstores. I gathered business cards and information about the stores, newspapers, radios and local television stations that might have an interest in a local author during the time I spent working on the novel and it was finally time to try and work with them. Several local stores were happy to take a few copies. None had a strong expectation for the copies to sell – and I do believe those they have sold so far have been only to my friends – but they took the copies all the same. As I tried some farther away I got mixed results. Some were excited to meet me and others didn’t care all that much. Some didn’t have enough shelf space or were having financial troubles that occupied their attention. I was able to get on TV with the help of a local news station, was written of in two newspapers, and all the while continued to talk on social media / online. Much of it was thanks to that time I spent gathering information before the publication. I remember one day I spent about 4-5 hours calling businesses and inquiring about their interest in my book. Now I’ve got to look for the stores as well but having the information at my fingertips helped me tell others about the novel quickly.

However…

I made some mistakes too.

Ask your publisher and research how to promote a novel. I did this a bit too late and did a lot of improvisation. I’ve done okay for myself, luckily, but it could have been much better. I’m starved for reviews of my book, few outside of my hometown are aware of it, and all of that could have been fixed if I looked into this process a bit more.

So don’t do what I did, get on top of things before it’s too late.

That said, let me see if I can find some good sources regarding the subject of promoting your book.

  • If you can get your book on Amazon, ask for those who read your work to review it. It’s free and people depend on those reviews heavily. If you’re not getting the amount of reviews you’d like try to contact book reviewers.
  • I’ve already talked a bit about social media, but in light of my publisher’s insistance upon the subject, I’d like to mention it again. Be active on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else. Even if you haven’t got a large viewership.
  • There are groups who will help you market your book for an hourly or flat rate, though as to what quality and price it will be is dependent on who you work with.
  • NetGalley is a bit of a gamble, and I cannot say a thing about it from experience, but as I understand it you let a large number of people have access to your book upon its release and they in exchange review it – though there is a fee.
  • There are groups who will help you market your book for an hourly or flat rate, though as to what quality and price it will be is dependent on who you work with.

Above all, it is absolutely necessary for you to be persistent. Promoting your book is going to take a lot of time and just as much effort. Fortunately, when things go well, the stress becomes worth it.

Usually.

Publishing a Novel

A Package of Moods has been a huge learning experience. I feel as though most of my time both before publishing and after as been spent guessing and hoping that I don’t fail miserably. So far, I’ve been lucky. I made contact with another bookstore in Vermont yesterday and the next book is slowly moving toward some sort of not-horrible state. It’s taken a lot of work just to get it into a few stores, and even then many books haven’t sold yet. I don’t know what to say to that yet. Hopefully a pt.4 will come out one day with a wealth of decent answers to the question “how do I successfully publish a novel?” but until then all I can say is what I did for my novel.

Also, I just want to thank those of you who have read this series. An even bigger thanks to those who have bought and read or are reading A Package of Moods. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed any sort of work more than I have enjoyed working on my writing and every one of you who supports me in this horribly self-indulgent endeavor is like a saint to me.

It’s been fun recounting my journey to publish with you. I suppose I’ll try to come back with something new next week. We’ll see. 


Photo credit: Glen Noble

2 Thoughts on “Publishing a Novel, pt.3”

  • Keep at it Adam. There are very few people who can say they love what they are doing. To be able to do what you want is as important as being able to live on what you make while doing it. You have the talent, the desire and a passion for what you are doing. Fueled with these you will succeed.

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