My Publicity Experience – Part Two

After my initial call with Smith Publicity and deciding on what program to use (I opted for their three-week media blitz), I was emailed an in-depth questionnaire about myself and my novel.  The information I provided would aide them in crafting an official press release for the novel to send out to potential reviewers and interviewers.

It was a lot of questions, and after a week I submitted the completed questionnaire and the work began.  And that work began with a quick call on the first day of week one with my publicity team to go over any question I may have before we got into it. 

And the adventure began.

By the end of the afternoon my book was posted on NetGalley.  NetGalley is a site where book reviewers, educators, librarians, and booksellers can request eBook versions of you novel and review it.  They then post their reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, NetGalley, etc.  By the end of the week, over 30 people had requested and been sent an eBook to review. This was a good start!

As the first week progressed, my team and I went back and forth revising and fine-tuning the press release that would be sent out to people over the next two weeks.  By Thursday it was done and ready to go, and my team sent out an initial flurry of email queries for the book.

On my end, I printed out 30+ copies of the press release to include with the review copies I had on hand in preparation for sending them out ASAP.  The wheels were now set in motion and it would be only a matter of days before I would be making multiple trips to FedEx and the Post Office.

More on Week Two tomorrow!

The Field – From Word Doc to Paperback, Part Seven

Here are a few takeaways and final thoughts I have about self-publishing The Field:

It’s important for your own creative sanity that once you make the leap from your novel being your baby to publishing it either as an eBook, a paperback, or both, it is now a viable, marketable product.  This means that you have to put distance between you the author and you’re the person trying to market and sell what is a now a viable commodity.

This distancing will also help you in the event your get a negative review or criticism you don’t like.  The person may not have liked your product, but they still bought the product and you reap the benefits either way.  By taking this more objective and business-like approach to each work, you can then free up your mind to write the next book, and the next, and the next.

Distancing yourself emotionally from your completed project will also help you think more clearly when it comes to the marketing and sales aspects of your work.  It’s not at all helpful if you get wrapped up in a minute detail that occurs during the publishing process and your obsess over something that in the end has an easy fix. Case in point: I talked in a previous post about the paperback being priced at $14.63 due to production costs. I agonized over this for half a week, sure that my book was now doomed for failure because it was too expensive. Then, a Book Baby rep suggested I create a promo code to decrease the price.  Boom.  Problem solved.

I had I been thinking like a salesperson and been more pragmatic than emotional, I could have solved the problem without the needless drama. Leave the drama for the page not the publishing.

Know that if you are self-publishing that you are going to have to do almost everything yourself.  Yes, there are sites like Book Baby that will guide you, but when it comes to getting the word out to a wide swath of people, just know that you are the best marketing tool there is.  So use social media, your own website, co-workers, family, and friends to get the initial word out.  If you want to, you can enlist the aid of a marketing company – like I did with Smith Publicity – to spread the word farther.  But again, while they will be assisting with press releases and other aspects, the project is still driven by me and my knowledge and passion for the project.

There are also dozens of videos on YouTube as well as blogs that can give you insights into how to market your book either inexpensively or for free.

Also, make sure that you have the means to afford all the aspects of doing this yourself.  There are inexpensive and even free alternatives if you want to publish your eBook on Amazon or even on your own blog chapter by chapter.  Don’t go into debt or sacrifice eating or bills to do this. And if you do, make sure you budget and keep track of all your expenses.


So, what would I do differently.  Well, for the next book I will definitely publish the eBook and paperback as part of the same project.  The reason: it’s cheaper.  I could have paid 50% less if I had gone with one of the packages offered through Book Baby that allows you to do both.  But I thought just an eBook was easy money.  As of this post I have sold more paperbacks than eBooks, so that shows what I know!

I also learned that the best strategy is to budget your time in an efficient manner, especially if self-publishing is a side business and not your full-time occupation.  I work six days a week at my main job, so everything involving the book is like having a second job. It’s important to give yourself some downtime and not burn yourself out with everything that now needs to be done on top of all your other responsibilities.  Your novel won’t get published any faster if your agonizing over pricing at 4am.  Trust me. It’s not worth losing sleep over.

And that’s my self-publishing journey.  It was definitely worth all the time, effort, and expense, and I will definitely be doing it again soon.  If you have any questions, comments, or further advice you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading!

The Field – From Word Doc to Paperback, Part Four

Yes, yes.  I’ll admit it.  Yesterday’s post was pretty technical.  Metadata. Pricing.  Websites.  While they aren’t exactly sexy topics, they are important parts of the self-publishing puzzle, which is why it’s a good idea to know about them.  So, today, let’s talk about a few more exciting topics.

So, you’ve submitted your manuscript, your cover, and input all the important info needed to launch your eBook on various sites. Well, while you’re toiling away at your website, a busy group of people in another part of the country are converting your Word doc or other files into a polished and professional-looking eBook.

The nice thing about Book Baby (and I’m sure other self-publishing sites do it, too) is that they constantly email you to let you know the progress of your book.  You can also check the status of your project on their website as well.  I was very excited to get the email announcing that my proofs were ready for me to view.  I will confess that when I opened the file for the first time and started to go through the pages I jumped up and down (I really did this, I’m not lying). It was an exciting feeling to finally see what I had written converted into a format for others to read and enjoy on their tablets or phones.

That part done and approved, I had to wait for the book’s official release onto Amazon and other sites in order to move on to the next step: reviews.

Readers’ Favorite (https://readersfavorite.com) is a site that works with Book Baby and allows you to do a number of helpful things with your book.  You can sign up for their Press Release program, you can participate in their Book Exchange Program, and you can have your book reviewed.  Now, you have to pay for the reviews, but I found this was a helpful way to get new eyes on my book and to get some legitimate reviews to use on my Amazon page and website.  I paid for three reviews, having no clue what I would get.

About a week later I got all three reviews back and they were all very positive, five-star reviews!  But, me being a skeptic about things, I did do some digging to find other reviews written by these particular reviewers and they weren’t just handing out five-star reviews across the board.  That added to the legitimacy of their reviews, which was a good thing!

I set up a profile on Readers’ Favorite, and then took the time to add myself to a few others as well.  I worked on my Amazon Author’s Profile and my Goodreads Author Program Profile (https://www.goodreads.com/author/program?rel=nofollow) to get my name and book out there.  The more ground you cover the better.

The Field by Ian Dawson was officially launched as an eBook on July 4, 2018, and I was pretty excited.  But other than my family, friends, and co-workers, how could I get others to buy the book?  In a word: Publicity.  In more words, stop by for tomorrow’s post!