Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Disappointing book promotion news -- times two

From a book promotion and book sales standpoint, it's hard to know which news is more disappointing: 1) Glenn Beck's novel, which was panned by critics, is the number one New York Times bestseller or 2) Larry King's CNN talk show will end in the autumn.

Both news items are scary for those who care about book promotion and book sales. Beck's novel, which -- based on its terrible reviews -- should have sold a handful of copies, has outpaced more masterfully written titles to leapfrog to the top of a prestigious bestseller list (presumably) because of his strong Fox News's television audience following. That's not supposed to happen. And Larry King's CNN show, which has sold hundreds of thousands of books for the past 25 years and granted book promotion opportunities to authors both deserving and not, won't be there anymore.

This is not good news for book promotion and book sales. It's not good news for book publicists. And, finally, it's not good news for authors and publishers.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Yes, Virginia, you can promote self-published books!

Not so long ago, even this book publicist thought it was nearly impossible to conduct book promotion campaigns for self-published books. But enterprising book publicists consider each book on an individual basis when deciding whether or not to take on a project, and after I'd conducted a few amazingly successful book promotion campaigns for a few great self-published books, I became a believer. Yes, you can successfully (and unapologetically) promote a self-published book.

I know, because I've conducted book promotion campaigns for self-published books by some creative, talented authors. And I know, too, because I've conducted a book promotion campaign for my own self-published book, "101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes."

The Harpo Productions-owned "Rachael Ray Show" (a daytime syndicated talk show) aired a taped segment for "101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes" for the first time in December of 2009, and the show aired again yesterday. Both times, the rankings on both Amazon (which fell to 130) and (which got as low as 114, this time around, and which reached the top ten the first time) reflected the national visibility the book had received.

The coolest part about it is that I'm not alone in experiencing the fact that self-publishing books is more than acceptable. It's the smart thing for most of us to do. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, there are so many new ways to self-publish books that it's almost impossible to keep up with the options. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple ... every company you can think of (and many that you may not have heard of) that sells digital books is providing authors with the opportunity to jump ship from traditional publishing to self publishing. And we don't have to feel squeamish about accepting those opportunities.

If I'd waited for a traditional publisher to come along and express interest in "101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes," the manuscript would have been collecting dust for lo these many months, and I'd long since have lost interest in it. Instead, because I self published the book, I've been engaged in an active and productive book promotion campaign for my own project, and it's been a great learning experience.

So, yes, you can treat your self-published book exactly as if it were a traditionally-published book project. You can conduct a book promotion campaign for it, and you can use it as a hook for disseminating your messages, building your brand, and enhancing your portfolio. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the self-publishing experience can be wonderful and rewarding. So why not get started on your project? There's nothing to hold you back.