Marketing for Self-published Authors
Emergence of Write Brain Trust as a collective of self-publishing Kansas City area writers raises several practical challenges in marketing. One in particular is how to have one’s book reviewed in The Kansas City Star. Broad hint: It ain’t gonna happen, unless the self-publishing author happens to be a member of the Star staff, a former staffer, or the spouse of a staffer.
Derek Donovan, public editor, has received a complaint about this combined elitism/nepotism that he has agreed to take to the Star Editorial Board for discussion. He will also consider a screen to determine whether an outsider-authored self-published work merits review—a screen possibly consisting of a librarian, an instructor in literature, and a bookseller experienced in handling self-published works.
Fairness doctrines don’t apply to newspapers as they do to broadcast media. Commercial print media are self-regulated, while broadcasters are publicly regulated, though loosely. The people own the airwaves, thus the existence of a Federal Communications Commission.
Within Write Brain Trust the approach to marketing is almost as varied as the number of members. Some rely heavily on social networking. A few shun such outlets. Some believe good reviews to be so critical to success, they actively generate them from fellow writers, relatives, and friends. Others prefer to receive reviews that are spontaneous.
Traditional publishing houses and literary agents have either improvised or slacked off marketing. They’re caught in the middle of an e-book revolution. They’re not sure where the public is going with e-books.
Kansas City authors, similarly unsure about the future, had best follow these simple rules:
- Write a good book.
- If you intend to self-publish, find an editor, proofreader, and cover designer who’ll do it justice.
- At minimum, have it uploaded as an e-book.
- Budget time between marketing and writing, so you can—
- Write another good book.
- And so on.