Thursday, February 21, 2013

If You Self-Publish, You Must Self-Market

Adapted from the Jerusalem Post

"No matter what channel an author takes to publish a book - via an agent and publishing company or self-publishing, almost all the marketing today falls on the author," said American-born Israeli Ellis Shuman of Neveh Ilan, who has published two books on his own - 2003's collection of short stories The Virtual Kibbutz and the brand-new suspense novel set in Bulgaria, Valley of Thracians.

"Agents and publishers are looking for authors who already have a following, whether via a popular blog or a big Twitter following. That's why many prospective authors - who have already made their effort to gain a following - have decided that if they have to do the marketing on their own anyway, they might as well be in total control of the publishing process and the destiny of their book."

Shuman published his first book via a self-publishing company, along the lines of those that proliferated in the previous decade by printing a limited quantity of books and distributing them to outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

"Today, it's totally different. You can still do it that way, but you can self-publish by preparing the manuscript, preparing the cover, and then one-step uploading, which makes it available for Kindle on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It's such an easy process and it's instant. The stigma about self-publishing has disappeared in the past five years."

"Writing and editing is easy compared to marketing. Millions of people have placed books on Kindle, but getting to know about them is a much bigger challenge," said Shuman, describing a cross-pollination process involving a network of blogs, sites and subjects.

"I write on blogs about books, blogs about writing, and blogs about Bulgaria to make people aware of my book. And I'll mention or write about other new books and those authors will mention me in their blogs. Lots of authors help each other out; it's part of the long journey in this new publishing endeavor."

Published in the Jerusalem Post, as part of an article entitled "A Craft in Review" by David Brinn, February 8, 2013.

Photo credit: CC-BY Konstable, Flickr.

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