Guest Blogger, Rochelle Weinstein, Author, Blogger, Speaker www.RochelleWeinstein.com
To listen to Rochelle’s interview on the show: http://bit.ly/Zj5Ee0
When I wrote my first novel many years ago, the publishing world was going through a period of rapid growth and change. Still, first-time authors faced numerous obstacles getting their books into print. Self-publishing was relatively new, and authors were ambivalent about the non-traditional road. Enter CreateSpace and KDP. Amongst numerous self-publishing houses, I quickly became convinced that entrusting my firstborn to Amazon’s influential and far-reaching publishing arm was the best option.
As a wife, mother, author, blogger, and volunteer, it was crucial for me to find a publisher who would balance the chaos in a simple, flexible package. CreateSpace provided an easy-to-navigate dashboard with an a la carte menu for editing, formatting, designing, distributing, and marketing my work.
The ease at which CreateSpace piloted my book release and eventual Kindle conversion were impressive. However, it wasn’t until some time later that I came to realize its true value. When my novel debuted last year, I never imagined I would be faced with my mother’s eighteen month battle with pancreatic cancer. I had to quickly prioritize and juggle. When she passed away in December 2012, all things book related came to an immediate halt. The DIY approach afforded me the freedom and flexibility I needed to sustain myself through an awful period. By taking the non-traditional approach, deadlines were self-imposed, not imposed, and I could write and market my book at my own personal pace.
When I meet with writers or book clubs, the most common statement is: “I also want to write a book.” I often tell aspiring writers to do just that—write their book—although the next piece of advice I offer is this: have a clearly defined goal. It may seem like a simple answer. It’s not. We are all unique and our needs and expectations complex. What is it you want out of the book experience? Be honest. Sometimes that’s the tricky part. Do you have a secret desire to be famous and travel the world? Are your expectations realistic? Or do you merely want to touch someone’s life with your words? The answer to this question is one that has the potential to strategically pave your next steps.
Writing the book is the easy part. After setting 85,000 or so words onto the page (in pitch perfect form) you will have to face the most difficult part of being an author—marketing. In today’s booming book world, some sales tactics are obvious: set up social media linking your book and website; exploit your friends, family, and business networks; get yourself out there through organizations media, and institutions that target your niche; utilize the free on-line forums that DIY companies like CreateSpace and KDP offer; increase distribution through relationship building with libraries, independent bookstores, etc. Then get creative. Really creative. Think grass roots. Think outside the traditional box.
Know your hook. What’s your elevator pitch? Try to sell your book in one succinct, appealing sentence. This one line, when intriguing enough, has the capacity to sell many books. Exploit that hook. Who does it target? Is it a beachside romance? Find a boutique hotel to sell your books in their gift shop. Is your book worthy of book club discussion? Make yourself available. Is your school or religious organization having a fundraiser? Offer an evening with the author as an auction item. Find book conventions around the globe. Offer promo pieces (book discounts or bookmarks) for swag bags. Leave your book on an airplane the next time you fly. Drop business cards with your book’s hook wherever you can. Plan unique contests and giveaways. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a favor.
And most importantly, after all is said and done, pay it forward to the next guy.