Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Book Review: The Frugal Book Promoter

I can't tell you the number of people who have urged me to give up on my quest for traditional publishing and simply publish at least one of my novels on my own. I tend to resist those suggestions. However, I do think that if I give my efforts a bit more time and still come up empty, I might be willing to consider self-publishing. Thus, when offered up a free download of this book, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher, I jumped aboard right away.

Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson focuses on the three P's: platform, publicity, and public relations. She talks about branding and building a platform. She urges you to reflect on your work and ask questions like: "does it fit with what is currently in the news?" and "what demographic does it appeal to?" Like other writing coaches, she encourages the writer to build an extensive e-mail list.

She also recommends seeking out endorsements from similar, more successful writers. Of course, these endorsements are hard to obtain because many of the successful writers feel inundated with such requests and simply will not take the time to read a newbie's novel (Melody Carlson, who is probably the biggest name in Christian YA fare, states outright that she simply hasn't the time to read some unknown author's novel).

I liked her suggestion for producing bookmarks with an image of your novel and a brief sentence hooking a prospective reader in. I could see myself asking our local library to stock such bookmarks at their front desk or slipping them into other Christian YA books available at the library. These would be easy enough to hand out to friends and strangers.

Howard-Johnson provides detailed instructions for how to draw up a media release to pitch your book to others. I read through the entire book in the space of one morning (and at 373 pages, that's quite an accomplishment). The hints and tips were helpful and informative. I still feel great hesitation, because I have no desire to be an aggressive self-promoter. As much as I want readership for my work, I simply cannot bring myself to hound people into purchasing my book and reading it. My goal is to have the quality of the work drive interest and generate further readership. The biggest hurdle is simply getting your foot in the door.

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