Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Navigating the Waters of E-book Exposure

For the first time (and hopefully not the last time), we have a guest writer on IPN. Ms. Leti del Mar of Rock the Book has shared some of her classic and traditional methods of book marketing with us. As an independent publisher, I plan to borrow some of these techniques.
The publishing industry is changing. It is being flooded with affordable e-books by traditionally published authors, self-published authors, and authors published by small companies. E-books are one of the fastest growing facets of the publishing industry, and authors are taking control of their own marketing and book promotion.

The gatekeepers used by the big bad publishing houses are becoming irrelevant. Many authors are skipping the traditional steps: write a book, query an agent, get signed by said agent, agent submits to publisher, publisher publishes said book, and then publisher does little to promote it. Instead they bring their work directly to the reader.

What that means for readers is that the reading choices out there are endless.

What that means for authors is that, while it is easier to get your book out there, it is just as easy for your book to get overlooked.

So with no gatekeepers, how does an author get noticed? How does a writer find an audience for their book?

For just a moment, let’s forget all about technology, Amazon, e-books, e-readers and book bloggers.  Go back in time a decade or two to when these things didn’t exist. In those days of mortar and brick bookstores, how did people find books to read?

They asked a friend. Remember those conversations? You might even still be having them. They went something like this:

“Hey, have you read any good books lately?”

“Yes, I have! I just finished (insert name of book you read a decade ago), and it was fantastic! You have to read it”

“Okay, next time I go to Borders, I’ll pick it up.”

Back in the early '90s, I was reading Michael Crichton and John Grisham, even before the films. Why? My friends were. They would tell me about a title I hadn’t read, and I would go over to that bookstore that is no longer in business and pick up a copy.

Believe it or not, that is how people still discover new titles. Only now most of these conversations happen online.

We talk about what we are reading on Facebook, give a great title a shout out on Twitter, post a picture of the cover of a good read on Instagram or Pinterest. You too should join in on meaningful conversations about books and share what you are reading.

That’s right. I’m telling authors to frequently share what they have read, not what they have written, and here’s why:

People will listen when they like what you have to say. If you recommend good reads, they will pay attention. They will want to learn more about this person who has such great taste in books, and they will click on your picture, look at your profile, and discover that you too are an author.  This won’t happen 100% of the time, but when it does, it is powerful.

What makes this even more powerful is chatting about books in the same genre you write.

Let’s go back into that time machine and think about another way we used to find books to read. We browsed our favorite aisles.  If you read westerns, you would go directly to the western aisle. If you read historical romance, you explored those aisles.

This is where book bloggers come in. Find bloggers who read what you write. Ask them to read, review or feature your work. That way readers who love Young Adult Paranormal and go to Young Adult Paranormal blogs, will find your Young Adult Paranormal book.

Want to make this even more effective?

Don’t just solicit these blogs. Follow them and leave comments. Do this for a while before soliciting anything. That way, when you do ask the blogger to read, review, or feature your work, they will see you as a long-time follower and be more inclined to help.  

Over at Rock the Book, we found each other because we write in the same genre and frequent the same message boards. We enjoy reading similar things and share with each other books we have read and ideas about what we want to read.  The cool part is that we live all over the world and do our sharing online.  

So yes, the publishing world is changing, faster than we can keep up with it. But the old ways for finding a good book still work. Use those old ways with new twists, and with some elbow grease and a little luck, your book will get its due notice.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me! I'm honored to be your first guest writer.

  2. Thank you for the insights. Based on your advice, I'm changing the focus of my blog and writing a whole set of reviews for all the books I read this year. ;-)