“If you can write and have something to say, you will do well in life. Most people can’t write to save their lives and have nothing interesting or valuable to say”. – John Yunker
John Yunker and Midge Raymond, both authors and publishers at Ashland Creek Press, came in to speak to our class about small presses, the e-reader marketplace, and how to really sell your book. I really like the above quote from John, because I find it to be so true. Good authors are hard to find, even among published works. Sometimes I find myself reading a book that is poorly written and has so many errors, I want to grab a red pen correct it all, and send it back to the author with a big sticky note saying “try again”. It’s the authors that can really write who do well in this world. Stephen King didn’t get to be at the top of booklists by creating mediocre stories. I’m quite sure also that he worked his butt off promoting his first few novels.
Promoting your work is another thing that John and Midge really impressed on me. I never really thought much about it before. For some reason, I figured you got an agent to find a publisher, and once you got your work published, it just either went big time or it didn’t. Like magic. Only, I learned that the publisher isn’t necessarily responsible for promoting your book. Today’s authors have to be quite aggressive in getting their work out there. And with all of the social networking sites available, as well as blogs and YouTube, it’s never been easier.
I had never really thought of these things as a means to promote a book, but after listening to John and Midge, the sites seem like the perfect place to hawk your work. The added bonus of many of the social networking and other media sites is that it opens the possibility for immediate feedback and comments from people visiting your site. When it comes to books, reviews are extremely important. The more good reviews a book gets, the more likely it is that it will be read by more people. I know from personal experience that I am more likely to buy and read a book if it has been recommended to me by someone. In our fast-paced world, word-of-mouth has never spread quicker, the internet acting as a bulletin board. When you post a promotion about your new book, it’s suddenly accessible to everyone. And getting everyone to hear about your book is at least half the battle.