Self-publishing authors have a hard task in-front of them as they hit ‘The End’ on their manuscripts. Not only are they faced with numerous decisions about the production of their book, and the fine-tuning of its contents, they also have to turn themselves into a PR guru, master salesman, prolific blogger and social media specialist – don’t they?
Well, to some degree, but not to the extreme many marketing specialists would have you believe (many of whom say so as they tout for your business). Yes, it’s a populated literary world. There are already more books in/on every library, bookshop and relevant digital platform than can ever be seen, let alone read. No one will ever say, “You know what? We need to find more authors – we’re running out of things to read!”
Think that sounds like the death knell for writers? Pish.
Given that there are more than seven billion people in the world, and only 13/14 million books, we’ve plenty of room for more. There isn’t even enough for one each yet!
I know everyone isn’t a reader, but equally, many people read more than one book. I’m no mathematician, but I’m not worried that there are ‘too many’ books out there.
Now that the internet is here, your book will exist forever, not just for a window of one or two months on a bookseller’s shelf. You have the rest of your life to find your reader, because we can all agree, they have no need to find you – they have enough choice to keep them going. Very few people take an hour to browse through new books nowadays – the vast majority of the time they search for a specific book, a process borne from a recommendation, an advert, an interesting link/article, a pretty cover or interesting blurb…etc., etc., etc.
Your job as an author is not to advertise in the traditional manner. You need to act as a filter. What can you say about your book that’s specific, that will prove the quickest way to get the right reader to your book? What signposts can you place towards your book, both online and offline – and are they in the right place? For example, there’s bound to be little take-up if you place a leaflet about your atheism book on your local church’s noticeboard. Think. Who are your readers, and what are their interests? What is your book’s primary topic/message? Which books are your competition, and why is yours different?
Don’t be generalist, because you’re competing with 13/14 million books. Be specific and you may compete with just a handful. Your reader won’t filter out all other books to find yours – why should they? YOU have to do that work for them. Go find them. Show them why your book is written with them in mind.
If you match your supply with your readers’ demand, you won’t need to sell a book. Ever. You can just get on with what you most likely want to do – write more.
Developmental editor and publishing consultant Diane Hall is the author of three books; she has also ghost-written books for others and created a plethora of content, on more subjects than you could care to imagine, for numerous clients since the beginning of her career. She is proud to have fundamentally shaped series of books and more than a hundred individual titles over the last decade with various authors, nationally and internationally.
Among her editing qualifications, she holds a linguistics diploma, which involves the study of language and speech. Diane employs this knowledge in the forensic linguistic work she sometimes undertakes.
Diane has seen the introduction and subsequent rise of self-publishing, and passionately keeps abreast of its disruption of the publishing industry. She is a thought leader when it comes to the future of book marketing, fuelled by the poor results authors see when employing traditional techniques.
Thanks to manostphoto at freedigitalphotos.net for use of the image.