Sunday, December 14, 2014


From Paul Cline's self published book MY MOTHR'S HANDS, Illustrated by Sheila McGraw
You're nearing your decision. Door number 1 has the self-pubs inside while door 2 has the big traditional houses. Eenie meanie, miney moe... Which one to choose?

Neither! Not like that. This is a serious and thoughtful decision, and the process isn't over yet because while we've dug into several aspects of both avenues, this last bit could break your stalemate, if you are indeed stuck.
This post, my darling scribblers and paint slingers, is all about marketing, marketing, and more marketing. It's about public relations, PR, getting the word out. Nay, not just getting the word out, but doing it in such a way that the fruits of your labor get gobbled up, consumed by consumers that is. But how, you ask?

So you say to yourself, I'll just take my book around to some bookstores and they'll buy a ton of copies and sell them like crazy. But just a doggone minute... Do you think your local bookstore manager really wants to be in the presence of yet another writer
Another illustration from the
self-published MY MOTHER'S HANDS
trying to flog their (as yet undiscovered) gem, a well thumbed and tearstained-from-rejection copy of which is clutched to your chest? Why oh why would they when they could be spending about the same amount of time with a proper sales rep from, say, massive wholesaler Baker and Taylor, or a rep from one of the gigantic houses such as Penguin? Ms. Bookseller can talk to those reps about the real business of books... in fact some reps come into the store with their order already composed, dozens of different books--just sign on the dotted line oh Seller-of-books and your order will arrive post haste.

In spite of the time-waste, that bookseller probably sympathizes with you. She doesn't want to turn you down and send you packing into the harsh and frigid winds of bleak unacceptance where you may open an artery because this last rejection was the straw... that proverbial last straw.

Sheesh, I can hear butt-cheeks clenching.

Then you say, I'll go another route. I'll use the mighty tool of CreateSpace to make my book. Then I'll have a massive and irresistible presence on Amazon and customers will flock to my book just because. And after a while Amazon will get me into the Baker and Taylor catalogue. But, and it's a big but. (Bigger even than when you ask, "Do these jeans make my butt look big?")
You see, Amazon isn't bookstore friendly--they'd rather hold onto you tightly like a lamprey eel, boa constrictor, or octopus, than have you toddling off taking your profits with you.
From the self published book
Written by Barbara Farnsworth
 Granted there is lip service in the digital hallowed halls of the aforementioned internet giant... promises of getting your book into the Baker and Taylor catalogue, a catalogue of millions, but that UNFORTUNATELY, doesn't sell your book!
Only 2 things sell books... salespeople and buzz.
Salespeople are connected. They know the people and the biz. So the first part of the plan is to get your book circulated and distributed by those salespeople. However, that's going to cost ya. They'll need stock so you gotta print books. They'll need free copies. There may be a fee for getting into certain catalogues. There may be travel to a sales meeting or two. You get my drift. The sad showing up at the bookstore experience is the tip of the iceberg. Don't be the Titanic. Before you stray onto the clingy webs of Amazon to self-publish, you need a distribution plan.

Then there's the buzz. How to come up with a viral-worthy YouTube vid? How to network in the age of social media... How to create that elusive buzz... Hire a promo company? Toss 5 grand into their bank account and keep your fingers crossed? What's a Writer-Typer to do?

Cut that out! There's no crying in publishing.

Now wipe your eyes and consider this. If you find a publisher, they will presumably set their well-oiled PR machine in overdrive and get your masterpiece the attention it deserves... and THEY will pay, pick up the tab, turn out their deep pockets to fund your rise to stardom. BUT... there's that dang ticking clock mocking you as you blast your burning-hot queries far and wide like Vesuvius' lava, and the rejections to your queries pile up like fire-ant mounds, stinging your pride and inflicting a burning rash of depression with every don't-call-us, we'll-call-you email opening.

Which brings us to the final decision in the next post... stay tuned.

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