A Self-Publishing Rookie Does Book Promo, Part 1: An Overview

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Marketing Zenn diagram

Copyright Intersection Consulting/Flickr

Nutcracker Sweetest is my first time doing book promo, ever. I’m starting out with very little, other than a decent-sized Facebook list, a netbook, and a raging Internet obsession. My task: to get my book from virtual nothing to a little bit of ‘sumpin sumpin.

The biggest hump in self-publishing is PR. Think about it: established publishing houses have a PR department that handles a decent amount of marketing for a particular new book. While much of a book PR still lies in the hands of the author (many have to cough up cash for swag, ARCs, promo cards, ads, etc), an established house has a website with high Google ranking, a mailing list, social media coverage, and gravitas. Self-pubbed authors can have some of this, but most don’t. I know my happy behind doesn’t have much of a fanbase, so I’m coming up from the bottom.

I pubbed Nutcracker Sweetest with very little fanfare on Christmas Day, at around 6 AM. Since I’ve published, I’ve sold about 5 copies a day. Not great, but a lot better than many. I want sales as high as possible, so I’m going to kick PR into high gear and document what happens. I’m sure I’ll make some missteps, but hey, that’s part of the process, right?

Watch this space.

Things that I’ve learned from Nutcracker Sweetest

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I absolutely love that I’ve published my first novel, Nutcracker Sweetest. Seeing your book in pixels is an amazing thing; seeing that people have actually bought it is even more awesome. I’m sure I sound like a complete rookie right now, but whatever. The process is wondrous. I’m enjoying it.

There are some definite surprises for me in the whole process:

  1. There are lots of ebook publishing platforms that I didn’t even know about. Call me naive and crazy, but my whole self-publishing world consisted of  B & N and Amazon until about three days ago. Now, there’s Smashwords, Kobo, All Romance E-books…I’m sure some others will pop up. If they do, I’ll list my book there, too.
  2. People use the Amazon return policy to steal free reads. The scam is as follows: a reader buys, reads, and returns an ebook, all during Amazon’s 7 day return window, for a full refund. I mean, dang. My *ss is broke as joke, not even gonna lie, but…really? Yikes.
  3. Romance ebook writers are the most successful out of all fiction categories. If I had to hazard a guess, it would be that romance readers want discretion, and ebooks ensure that.
  4. Editing is your friend. Seriously. This isn’t a shock, but it’s a fact.
  5. More men read and write romance than I thought.
  6. Formatting is the devil. I see you, 90 pg. Smashwords style guide! I see you!
  7. A good, solid EPUB file takes a village to create. Or, in my case, several different programs.
  8. Once you get everything set, passive income really is pretty passive. It’s taking me a bit of a mental jump to earn without directly trading my time for money. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, though. 😉

I’m sure that I’ll learn more little lessons as time goes on and I publish more books. Because I love computers and digital media, I’m enjoying the process. Here’s to new beginnings!