Recently, a friend of mine self-published her first novel. The novel was a piece of fiction but also a piece of social history based on the life her family lead in a small village in an English county and the main character’s travels. The main character was drawn from her memories of her grandmother and told of her life from a young girl.
My friend did copious amounts of research for her book and painstakingly revamped and revamped her words until she had what she considered an acceptable novel (incidentally, she still feels it should have undergone further improvements – the writer’s curse). She paid for the novel to be printed to produce a hard copy version, but also knew that she would have to offer it electronically too.
The main motivation for writing the novel wasn’t to make huge amounts of money from the endeavour. No, it was more to give herself the satisfaction of producing a finished work and to tell her story (this is the first novel of a planned four). However, she did wish to cover all associated costs. She realised that the book would not sell itself, so created a plan of action to include all of those things she could do to promote her work.
I thought it might be useful to pass on 10 of her activities to you.
1. Given the geography of the novel had specific locations, all existing local contacts in the areas addressed by the book were contacted and a number of novels were sold through this route.
2. Local bookshops (sadly in decline) were approached to advertise and sell the novel with an obvious kickback for the shop’s proprietor.
3. Local groups were approached to suggest a presentation was given about the writing process and the local history of the book. As a general point there are many groups who would welcome a talk. Obvious ones include the WI, U3A, your local library, your local writing groups, etc., but there are many other local groups who may produce a good outlet for your novel.
4. Book signings were arranged at local venues.
5. Press releases were produced and sent to a variety of local outlets, e.g. the local paper, the local free papers, community group newsletters.
6. Small, cheap flyers were produced and left in suitable places, e.g. local pubs, doctors’ surgeries, cafes.
7. Where appropriate, opportunities to respond to features on websites, etc., were taken, obviously promoting the novel at the same time.
8. The author’s website was updated with information on the novel and, importantly, how to buy it.
9. The local radio stations were contacted with a view to be interviewed on a relevant programme.
10. Local writing events were attended and used as an opportunity to promote the book.
The above are just some of the additional activities you can engage with to sell more copies of your recently self-published novel and there will be lots of other things you can do.
Have you self-published your novel? If you have any further ideas to help in the self-publishing route, please let us know in the comments below.