If you ask authors to list what they dread the most it’s having to sell themselves and their books. Apparently, self-promotion remains one of the most daunting tasks of the whole process, especially for self-publishing authors and trade-published midlist authors.
Even though most people understand the creative accomplishment of writing a book, authors who toil for months and sometimes years to craft a novel are often reticent about spreading the word that their work is available. Not because they don’t want to, but because they are afraid of the backlash of self-promotion.
When we were children, we’d stand up and proudly show the drawing we made or the castle we built and bask unselfconsciously in the admiration and adulation of our parents and teachers.
But when we grow older, many of us are discouraged to speak of our accomplishments. There’s an element of crassness and arrogance associated with self-promotion. We are expected to be humble and wait for people to ask what we do, and when we speak about our novels, we are encouraged to do so with humility and self-deprecation, so people know that we’re not arrogantly thumping our chests over our accomplishments.
How can you tell people that you’ve written and published a novel or even a series without embarrassment?
With the proliferation of self-publishing through Amazon the current offering in reading material is astoundingly high in volume and ironically low in quality. A recent census revealed that 80% of the people living in the U.S. want to write a book. Sadly, not everyone who wants to do something truly excels at their endeavours, so there are a lot of books flooding the market that are not really worth a reader’s attention.
Many readers are turned off by the glut of badly written self-published books that beg their attention. As a result, readers will not listen to authors promoting their books, but they will turn to other ways of deciding what books to read.
One of the most influential factors in choosing a novel to read is when books come recommended. Preferably by friends, because recommendations carry more weight if delivered by someone trusted for their good judgment.
Many readers are unaware of how important recommendations are, especially for beginning authors who rely on the word-to-mouth to build their readership.
Although this counts doubly for self-published authors–who don’t have a publicist or a publisher to coordinate their marketing efforts–even trade-published midlist authors are pretty much left to their own devices.
So how can readers help their favourite authors?
Be their Champion.
If you meet someone who might enjoy the same books you enjoy, tell them about your favourite authors. Write about the books you read on GoodReads. Leave reviews on retailer websites. Like your favourite author on Facebook. Pin their covers on Pinterest. Follow their blogs. Apply for Advanced Reader Copies of their books. Start or join a fan club.
What do you think? Please comment, and let me know I’m not just talking to the void. If you have ideas to increase word-of-mouth, don’t hesitate to share!
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