For many years I've said in order to sell your book, you must first sell yourself. I know from my own experience, I often buy a book at a reading because I like the author and the way he presents himself. If I hear someone read and he doesn't interest me as a person, I have no desire to buy his book. I've heard publishers say they don't like to publish a writer or poet who can't read well and present his book well.
Too many of us think we can write a book, have it published and that will be the end of it. Readers don't buy books by authors they don't know and have never heard of. I come from a family of readers. I hear from readers who say they don't usually go into Barnes and Noble and search for new authors. They head straight for the writers whose books are familiar.
How many of us think that if our book is on Amazon.com we have arrived as a published writer? But if no one knows the book is on Amazon or that it is sitting on a book shelf at Barnes and Noble, what good does it do the author? It is up to the author to make the public aware of her book, to sell the book everywhere she goes.
Selling or promoting her book is the responsibility of the writer whether she is sent on a book tour by her publisher or designs her own marketing plan. If she has plannned ahead, she has built an online platform with a blog or by using Facebook and Twitter.
This part of the writing business goes against the grain for most authors. Writers are happier sitting in their own homes alone thinking up plots or developing characters, not touring and reading at book stores, holding signings, hoping people will show up. Most of the writers I know are not all that confident standing before a crowd and trying to convince an audience to buy their book. Even experienced writers deal with that deep down fear that their next book will not measure up to the previous one.
I hear from some who say, "I've published my book. Now what do I do next?"
They should have drawn up a plan for marketing the book before they ever had one book printed.
Yesterday a friend told me of a woman in her hometown who wrote and self-published a real page-turner.
"I sat with her at Books A Million," she said, "and she did quite well."
But there was no marketing plan for the book and it fizzled. It is sad to me that often good books never see the light of day because the public doesn't know they exist. And then there is the author who turns out one mediocre book after the other. He works hard and markets well and sells his novels far and wide.
On A Good Blog is Hard to Find, Carolyn Haines, a well-published writer tells it like it is from her viewpoint. Every wanna-be writer should read this post before they decide to write the "great American novel."