As I come out the other end from my self-publishing (ad)venture, I can look back at what I have learnt – not least because I am thinking of doing it all over again, with another book about Constable Samuel Plank. I’ll try to share my thoughts with you, but I’m afraid that they’re not very organised – I’ll just write what I’m thinking about at the time.
Today I am reflecting on what I think is the hardest part of self-publishing, which is self-publicising. Actually writing the book involves the same effort whether you are self-published or traditionally published. And getting the books produced (either by sending files to the printer or by uploading an e-book) is growing simpler by the day, and (at least for me) great fun to do. The bit of self-publishing that I’m finding the hardest is getting the book out there – letting people know about it. I’m using every channel at my disposal, but I’m just too English for it all.
For instance, I met our local MP on the train the other day – he and my husband know each other through a shared love of cycling, but it was the first time that I had met him (MP, not husband). Now, wouldn’t it be great to have him (again, MP not husband) read my book and mention it to all his followers on Twitter, for example? But how to blurt out: “I’ve written a book – please read it and promote it for me!” Thankfully my husband is a bit better, and said, “This is my wife, and we’re going out for the day to celebrate her new book!” Which meant I could mention it – but I still couldn’t bring myself to actually ask him to help me. What I should do, of course, is get a t-shirt printed with the book cover and wear it all the time, handing out flyers to passersby. Or, as someone commented the other day, at least doctor the display in the bookshop so that my book faces outwards. Any ideas for self-promotion for the chronically modest?