Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Savvy Self-Publisher, October-November 2008

Tip of the Month

As we approach the holiday season in Oct-Nov-Dec, be cautious
about requests for free review copies -- other than those from
working journalists. Some so-called "book reviewers" may be
unethical scammers, trolling for free books from unsuspecting
authors to use as gifts. It may be an urban myth, but one
anecdotal report claims that a self-proclaimed "reviewer" asked
a small press for review copies of a dozen different books --
concluding, "And would you gift-wrap them, please?"

Lead Story:
Keeping Readers in a Time of Crisis

In the aftermath of 9/11, some 4,500 small U.S. publishers went
out of business when the American economy faltered. In late
2008, the economic horizon appears infinitely darker.

How will authors and publishers survive such a downturn? Or
can we survive at all?

Aside from academic texts ("required reading"), books are often
considered discretionary purchases by the public; simply put,
when money is tight, people buy fewer books.

Some more exceptions might include books that help readers save
money in a time of belt-tightening, like (ahem!)
and The Self-Publishing Manual. Or books that help people earn

But even a garden variety novel can be marketed as an economical
alternative to other forms of entertainment, such as movies, music
and video games.

Another way to wring more revenue from your writing is to make
your book available in multiple formats for readers with special
needs. You've probably spent many months -- even years --
writing the book... with today's technologies, it's relatively
easy to add an e-Book, large print edition, or even a talking
book for busy commuters who don't have time to "read."

Most of all, authors can get more actively involved in the
promotion of their own books. There are many, many ways to
build a grassroots audience at little expense, other than your
time. To cite just one quick example: nearly every author
should set up a "news alert" at Google that prompts you when
there is breaking news on topics related to your book. Then
you can post your expert commentary, signing "John Doe, author
of 'Book Title,'" in the closing.

Please read the 2007 edition of for more tips
about gaining exposure for your book at a minimum of expense.
It takes creativity and diligence to promote a book, but it
isn't rocket science. Thousands of self-publishing authors
have already proven that it's possible. You can be one of them!

Additional Stories for October-November 2008

To Blurb or Not to Blurb?

A recent article by William Leith discusses the pros and cons
of putting "blurbs" (endorsements) on the cover of your book:

Danny O. Snow adds that blurbs DO make a difference when the
endorsement comes from a recognized expert in your field, a
celebrity with name recognition, or a dash of humor. Jim
Cox of Midwest Book Review once wrote "I'd review Dan Poynter's
laundry list if he were to publish it!" A witty phrase like
this is almost certain to attract readers:

Bill Tancer says that "How to write a book" is the 62nd most
frequently asked how-to question on the Internet:

Tools for Agent-Hunting:

Jim Duxbury ( recommends:

Dan Snow adds:

Remember that you can self-publish while you are looking for an
agent... or a conventional publisher. Use early book reviews to
demonstrate the book's appeal. More importantly, use your sales
records to prove public demand; NOTHING attracts agents (and the
publishers they approach) like objective proof of commercial
potential. If you get a good offer, sell out. If not, you're
already in print with a growing readership.

Ad: Prove Your Market Before Printing in Bulk

Special services for visitors help you prove the
market for your book BEFORE you invest in bulk printing:

Don't get stuck with a garage full of unsold books! Test your
book's public appeal at little or no cost before placing big
print orders.

A Book Inside

For a nice complement to (book and newsletter),
visit Carol Denbow's blog:

Danny O. Snow will be interviewed by Carol on November 1.
Please tune in!

News to Use:

Record a video of yourself defining a word that holds special
meaning to you. Then upload it to:

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Quotation of the Month: The ultimate bad book review!

"The covers of this book are too far apart."
-- Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)