Technology has made it easier than ever before for writers to distribute their work through an array of self-publishing and e-book platforms. And while “self-publishing” has been stigmatized to a certain extent, you’ll find dozens of writers who are arguing against that assertion and are releasing their novels, memoirs, and comic books on their own. (Think of it kind of like a band who chooses to self-release their own album rather than through a major record label.) But, that said, because of this recent rise in self-publishing, there’s a massive amount of material out there, and it can be frustrating to wade through the sea of it looking for quality content. So how do you successfully self-publish and market your work so that it makes it to the right eyes? A few experts weigh in below.
- Be courageous enough to take the advice of others. If you know of friends, editors, or faculty members who have self-published in the past, listen to their advice. Course Director Kim Craft gave her friends copies of her manuscript and told them to take out their red pens and be as mean as they wanted to. If you’re brave enough to trust your dream team, she says, you’ll have a better finished product … and a better book to market.
- Find out who and where your audience is. Course Director Bill Thompson says that you first have to define what it is that you write. If you’re not sure, ask other people to tell you what you do. Then once you know this, you want to market directly to people who are interested in what you write about. Bill says that most advertising and marketing dollars are wasted on people who simply don’t care. The key is to figure out how to get the biggest bang for your buck. People who are interested in what you’re writing about are going to be your target audience. So find that niche, he says.
- Get the attention of the platform selling your book. If you’re selling a self-published book or e-book through a platform like Apple or Amazon, you’ll want to get their attention so they can help with your marketing as well. Course Director Matt Peters suggests lowering the price of your book for a day to attract more buyers or encouraging readers to write reviews. A spike in sales or reviews may get the attention of the platform you’re on, and your book could end up featured somewhere like the iTunes home page.
- Make a book trailer. Book trailers are exactly what they sound like: a video teaser, not unlike a movie trailer, that promotes a book. They’ve become a popular way for writers to promote their projects, and Matt encourages students to take advantage of their network at Full Sail and recruit Film students help them create a book trailer.
Check out more self-publishing tips in the “Beginner’s Guide to the World of Self-Publishing” panel from Full Sail’s Fifth Annual Hall of Fame Celebration.
For more video footage of the guest speakers and industry panels at the Fifth Annual Hall of Fame Celebration, visit Full Sail University’s YouTube page.