promoting dtd (so far)

For Dragontamer’s Daughters, I had thought that writing the book was the hardest work to be done, but once I published it (itself no easy task), I found that I had to promote it.  Here, for the interest of the curious and the benefit of other self-published authors, are some of my experiences with getting out the word on DTD.

 

I’m just one guy with a well-paying job but a lot of bills (I do have a kid in college, you know), so I didn’t have a huge budget to spend on advertising.  First off, I spent a lot of time visiting blogs of other self-published authors, to see what worked and didn’t work for them.  I learned quite a bit, and since June 2012 (when I released the book), I’ve:

 

  • Featured it on the front page of my personal site;
  • Started a Facebook fan page for it and invited others to join;
  • Advertised for a month on FB (got a lot of “Likes,” but few sales from that–in retrospect, it wasn’t worth the investment);
  • Mentioned it frequently in my personal FB updates;
  • Featured it on my (very popular) Warhammer 40K site;
  • Donated copies to my local libraries and middle schools;
  • Was interviewed by the Kent Island Bay Times, the local newspaper (article to be run in July 2012–hopefully);
  • Drafted and sent press releases to larger newspapers like the Baltimore Sun and Annapolis Capital (no nibbles from them thus far);
  • Researched and sent copies to popular book review blogs (some have accepted; reviews are in process and will be posted TBD); and,
  • Announced that I will donate 100% of my profits from sales in July 2012 to a local charity.

 

I’ll also give away free copies at goodreads.com soon.

 

There are more expensive avenues I could take, like advertising on goodreads or paying for a review at Kirkus Indie, but I’ll pass.  It’s not because I’m cheap, but because I’ve learned (through others, fortunately) that there’s a whole mini-industry devoted to parting a self-published author from his cash.  No, thanks.

 

Going into this, one of my biggest hopes was that I could promote DTD as a Big Idea feature on sci-fi writer John’s Scalzi’s extremely-popular  Whatever blog (which I’ve followed for several years).  I spent an entire afternoon in a deep funk when I double-checked the requirements and learned that self-published books aren’t eligible.  Methinks the reason for that is crap control, because (as I’ve learned), there’s a well-deserved stigma out there in the book writing/publishing/reviewing world that self-published books are usually crap (I found many book-review sites don’t want them, either).

 

I don’t think DTD is crap, but I don’t blame Scalzi or the other folks who want nothing to do with self-published books: that’s just the way things are.  Going forward, I’ll try to find new ways to tell people about DTD, and I hope some of the folks who buy and read it will pass along a good word to others.  It’s been an uphill climb so far, but not entirely unenjoyable.  My only real complaint is that I seem to be spending every spare minute lately working on promoting the book, and when I do get a moment of free time, I don’t know what to do with myself.

 

At the very least, I’m learning a lot, and I’m getting inspired to get back to work on my next writing project.  But that’ll have to wait for a little while….

 

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4 Responses to promoting dtd (so far)

  1. SJ Mitchell says:

    This (and the post leading into it about self-publishing) was a fantastic read. I’m currently working on a Fantasy novel and hope to finish the first draft by the end of the year. I don’t have the editing skills to do it myself so I’ll need to look around for someone that’s willing to do it. I’m sure most people would love to for the right price so I’m setting money aside to fund that part of it as I write.

    Seeing what you went through to self publish, I’m glad to know that we share the same reason for wanting to get our book out there. Not so much to make money as it is to share our story with people. The money is nice, sure, but ultimately I’d just like to know people are interested in the world I created and the story I have to tell.

    I’m a long way from needing to worry about the self-publishing process and even further away from marketing but I appreciate you sharing your experience with me.

  2. SJ:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the articles. If you poke around the blog (especially under the “writing” category), I think you’ll find some additional useful posts. Good luck, and stay in touch! I’d like to hear about your novel when you’re done with it.

  3. SJ Mitchell says:

    Will do! I’ve bookmarked your blog as I just found it today.

    I’ve been working on it for NaNoWriMo and have eclipsed the 50k word mark. The editing process will be equal parts embarrassing and exciting I’m sure.

  4. 50K in less than a month? Outstanding! I have 52K on my WIP novel, but I’ve been working on it a lot longer than that. Kudos to you!