Brad Gosse @bradgosse: Can you share any tips for self publishers on how to get media coverage?
Uh-oh, you just triggered my “list reflex”. I don’t know why people hate lists. They think maybe its lazy writing. But it’s hard to come up with a good and valuable list. So here’s my list. By the way, its not all from my experience but what I’ve read about other successful (more successful than me) self-publishers like Amanda Hocking and JA Konrath. I haven’t thought of the list yet so this is today’s “exercise” of my idea muscle.
10 tips for getting media coverage for a self-publisher: By the way: this is 10 tips for Getting Media Coverage For Your Business as well.
A) Content: make sure your book says something nobody else has said. This means it will be controversial. Even when people hate you they will be addicted to you. You’re like a car wreck with dead bodies. People can’t stop looking.
B) Blog about it: If you are controversial and a good writer, people will be drawn to your blog like moths in a flame. By the way, don’t be conversial just for the sake of it. Then that’s lying. People will sniff that out and discard you like bad chewing gum. Find something you really believe in that turns the world upside down. Then blog about it. Then self-publish about it and say it in a way nobody has said it before. Even if it’s fiction. You have to write something nobody has written before (although its perfectly okay to steal and mate ideas from the past).
C) Syndicate. If your blog and writing is good, people will want you to syndicate. The more you syndicate, the more people will be closer to that “Buy” button on Amazon. Include links back to your blog and book in everything you syndicate.
D) Do a Series. This, (my assumption) is the Amanda Hocking “trick”. If you self-publish one book only 200 people will read it. If you self-publish a series then more and more people will have to go on your backlist and buy every book. She went from 200 books a month to 400,000 books a month but it was a multi-volume series. Many books were in her series.
E) “Media” coverage. I’ve written 10 books. To promote my books I’ve gone on CNBC, ABC, FOX, NPR, and I’ve been printed in the WSJ, FT, etc etc etc. I’ve probably sold 3 extra books as a result of all of that. Don’t worry about media. I’m not saying media is bad. It just doesn’t sell books (unless its Oprah).
F) Reviews on Amazon. The first reviews you get are important because they will rise to the top as more people “Like” or “Dislike” them. Send the first copies to your friends and ask them (if they like the book) to put up a review. This guarantees that the top reviews people will see will be good reviews.Another thing about Amazon. Join the KDP Select program. It forces you to be exclusive with Amazon for 90 days but it will allow you to participate in their Amazon Prime program which gets you much more promotion across Amazon. It also allows you to make more money through their lending fund. Along the same lines, I’d do an audio version of your book. I still need to do this but Claudia is setting his up for me even as I write this.
G) Platform: Set up a Facebook fan page, be active on Twitter and Google+. This is all assuming you have something interesting to say. This will get you more of a “platform” around your ideas. Even traditional publishers will ask you first about your “platform” rather than read your book. I put “platform” always in quotes because I think it’s a shame that a publisher would be more concerned about that than the quality of your writing but that’s the new reality we are in.
H) Business Card. Remember, people don’t really read books that much anymore. This is not totally true but chances are if you publish your book you will be in the long tail and not “Harry Potter”. So if you want to make money off of your book you have to treat it more as a vehicle to enhance your credibility and validation for other opportunities: speaking gigs, consulting gigs, advertising for your blog, more media appearances (which increases your platform), etc. [See, “Self-Publishing is the New Business Card”]
I) Comment. Before Amanda Hocking went huge in self-publishing she was all the time commenting on JA Konrath’s blog about self-publishing. So people knew her name and gave her a try. Pick your 100 favorite blogs on your topic. Comment on all of them. Don’t self-promote. Just build a presence of trust and credibility. That by itself is self-promotional even if you never link back to yourself. But people will know who you are.
J) Blog, Part II. I am very happy with the books I’ve written and that are out there. I think in the long run they will help people (particularly my last five, including the comic book). But, I can safely say this. MANY MORE people will read my blog this than will read my books this year. If my blog was a book then it would be as big as the biggest bestseller. More people will read you through your blog (if it’s good) then through your book (unless you are Harry Potter). Which brings me back to the other ideas for monetizing a self-published book. It’s there to build credibility (people will respect the time, work, experience, knowledge, and effort you put into it) but it’s not the best way to get your ideas out to the masses.
Phew! Ten ideas. My idea muscle is sweating now.