Last month Angela responded to our post about self-publishing and asked this perfectly reasonable question about the publicity side of our business.
I agree with Alissa that there is more than one way to get published. I also agree with Julie that the business is really subjective.People often recommend self-published books to me and don't even know the books are self-published. They could care less who the publisher is, they just want to read a good book. That being said, I think it's hard to put a good self-published book out there and be successful without the benefit of editors, readers, proofreaders, a marketing and PR team, and sales team. Kae, do you and Jon do PR for self-published novels? And if so, I'm curious if you have a different strategy for promoting self-published books.
Jon brought this question to my attention this morning and we spent some time discussing it. While we have worked with self-published authors in the past and continue to do so today, these are authors of nonfiction. Publicizing fiction is very difficult, even if the fiction is published by a standard publishing company. Fiction benefits from the distribution, advertising, marketing and sales efforts provided by large companies. But, other than sending out review copies, most publicity efforts for first novels are minimal. When a novelist gains a name and reputation, there is the opportunity for a much wider publicity campaign. That's why you see famous novelists on "Today" and "Oprah."
I would never advise an author to self-publish his or her fiction. (Unless, of course, the author is famous, lectures widely, has a built-in audience of potential buyers, and is already a veteran of countless media interviews.) Without the support a publishing company provides, it's next to impossible to get a fiction book out there in the numbers required to make an impact. Now, I am sure there are exceptions. Perhaps you are a successful self-published novelist or know someone who is. If so, please let us know. I'd love to hear how you did it and so would our readers, I'm sure.
Publicizing self-published non-fiction is a different matter. We've been very successful with our nonfiction self-published authors. Because these authors are experts in their fields, they have the option of selling their books when they do lectures and programs, on their websites, and online. These people have a "platform" (a built-in audience) and can use that audience to promote and sell their books. Typically we will send out review copies, schedule radio and television interviews, set up book signings and pursue online opportunities for our nonfiction authors. Our campaigns for self-published nonfiction authors are the same as for published authors and are limited only by budget constraints.
Bottom line is, publicity for ANY book, published or self-published is tougher than ever as media channels morph and shrink.