By Melissa-Jane Pouliot
I am a new indie self-published author, as well as the founding director of PR firm mp|media solutions, which I established in 2000 after leaving my hectic deadline-driven world as a newspaper journalist. I work with businesses of all shapes and sizes, new and old, successful and extremely successful. Here are my top 5 PR tips for self-published authors at the start of their journey.
1. Treat your foray into the brand new world of publishing as a start-up business
You’ve dreamed the dream, you’ve finished your book. But wait, before you go any further you need to set up yourself as a business. After all, the ultimate goal is to sell books for money and hopefully one day give up your day to pursue your ultimate goal of being a world-famous author. So the first step is to set up your new business. You’ll need a tax file number, bank account, a marketing plan, an accounting program to keep track of bookshop orders if you are printing paperbacks and so on and so forth.
2. Hit publish, then make it happen
You’ve got an awesome cover, you’ve got it laid out and have hit the publish button. Phew, job’s done. No way girlfriend (or boyfriend!), writing and publishing is the easy part. But your friends and family have told you it’s brilliant so the rest of the world will think the same! Wrong again. Your book is one in millions and millions so you can’t just sit back and wait for people to buy it – whether it’s sitting in a virtual or real bookstore. It’s up to you to make it happen. You are in control of your marketing and you need to cover all bases.
3. Be realistic about what you can achieve
Just because you have written the best book ever written, doesn’t mean you can make a living from it. Don’t expect to be an overnight success – yes, this does happen but for the majority of people in business, including the book publishing business, you need to really work at it. Remember to be realistic about what you can achieve – the whole time you are marketing this book you need to be writing your next one and planning the one after that. Recognise that you are only one person so try not to get too overwhelmed when the overnight success takes more than one night.
4. Adapt to change
Embrace new technology! Always look at ways to streamline, be more efficient, maximise sales – just because you’ve done it the same way since day one doesn’t mean that’s the way you should do it on day 100. Look at what other successful self-publishers are doing and see what works for you. The important thing is to be adaptable – your product will not change but the way you market and sell it needs to.
5.Know where you’re headed and don’t get sidetracked
Okay, so I’ve told you to adapt to change, but you need to be careful that you don’t spend all your time adapting and no time reaping the rewards of being so adaptable! Every day new technology hits the market but just because it’s new and hip and happening, doesn’t mean it’s for you. Know what your business is all about and stick to your goals while testing new ideas along the way. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t bother with it. Also, don’t be adhoc. Build social media into your business plan so that it has a purpose and you’re not just pissing about on the Internet/Facebook/twitter/Instagram/Tumblr/Wattpad/Wordpress/Pininterest and so on and so forth!
6. Talk to people about who you are, the world famous author, but always remember to K.I.S.S.
I needed an extra one! This one is vital. Whether it’s online, face to face or over the telephone you need to tell people who you are, what you do, why you do it and how well you do it. You are your best form of PR and you will need to give up a bit of yourself when you’re promoting yourself as the next big thing to hit the book writing world. But you need to Keep It Simple Sally – you need to have clear strong messages that people can quickly and easily understand and connect with. Be consistent, clear and interesting while being true to yourself.
People will feel so inspired that they will go out and buy your book, review it on Amazon and GoodReads, tell their friends to buy it (and not lend it) then send copies to Ellen and Oprah on your behalf!