Many sites that feature authors fail to list self-published (SP) and/or print-on-demand (POD) authors. Fortunately, they can still be found online in various places. Since I’m a self-published POD author, I quickly discovered this failing and decided to promote my Martian Symbiont series elsewhere.
(I like to throw in the caveat that I never got rejected by traditional publishers but chose self-publishing as an alternative route. Most of my English teachers were pushing me to ‘get something published’ decades ago but I didn’t like the terms of traditional publishing. Even now there’s still a huge amount of prejudice against the self-publishing industry but there are credible companies out there. An author needs to do some research and background checks before choosing one.)
Several sites include SP authors, while others are specifically designed for them. Goodreads.com features authors who have books listed on Amazon. They may or may not be self-published, and the SP debate sometimes continues there as well. Another site that features SP authors is NothingBinding.com.
Barnes and Noble has several book club/discussion groups, most of which ask authors not to actively promote their own books. Mentioning something about your book in passing is okay, answering questions others ask about your book is fine; posting your cover, website, and ten reasons why people should buy your book will most likely get your entry deleted by a moderator. I try to stay within the guidelines of a group or discussion, but I’ve seen a few authors try to get away with blatant advertising-just don’t do it. B&N also has an option for authors to set up their own page.
I recently joined Shelfari.com but I haven’t had time to do much more than put my own novels on a ‘shelf.’ Unlike Goodreads, Shelfari doesn’t seem to allow you to name your shelves (book listings under a common title.) On Goodreads one of my shelves is named, ‘Read It’ while another is named ‘Wrote It.’
Amazon will allow you to post a profile, which is handy for readers who want to see what you look like, how you got started writing, etc. One librarian I visited was quite impressed to find I had a profile on Amazon. I’ve recently signed onto chapters.indigo.ca and still have to set up a profile.
For blogs I’m only using three. I’m listed as ScifiAliens at both twitter and WordPress.com. I’m also on Vox but so far I’ve only posted a few blogs on it. I think WordPress is easier to use. The nice thing about twitter is that you can add an application to Facebook so you can keep updating without signing in to both sites.
As for e-zines, I’ve found two that are consistently helpful for SP authors. SPAN (The Small Publishers Association of North America) has a newsletter and website I’d recommend for anyone wanting to keep on top of current events regarding SP, at a reasonable fee. The site is www.SPANnet.org. You can also find them on Facebook. The other one is a free newsletter put out by Penny Sansevieri’s company, Author Marketing Experts. It’s called The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter! The link is firstname.lastname@example.org and her website is http://www.amarketingexpert.com. I found AME through SPAN.
Of course, you can also find SP authors listed at their publisher’s site. That’s assuming they used a self-publishing company. Considering the costs and drawbacks of doing all the physical work yourself, I don’t see a benefit to not using a company like iUniverse.com (my ‘supported self-publishing company,’) Author Solutions, or another one with a proven track record. They’ve already been through the whole process and made all the mistakes a new publisher would. In most cases, it’s cheaper in the long run…I’m assuming you don’t own your own printing press.
For self-published authors having a website is almost a necessity. Unfortunately, there’s no directory I know of that lists sites of SP authors. My website is http://www.ScifiAliens.com, hosted by American Authors. They have excellent customer service but prefer to teach you how to make changes on your own site. Considering the cost of having ‘an expert’ make changes for you, the training alone is worth the cost of monthly upkeep.
Being self-published is about finding alternatives. For some authors it means turning a traditional publisher’s rejection into self-publishing acceptance. For authors like me it’s about keeping more of my author rights and having a higher profit margin. (Isn’t it irritating that you can create fictional worlds and galaxies and still be at the bottom of the food chain when everybody gets paid? No, I don’t believe an author expecting more than eight to ten percent is being greedy, but I do think a publisher expecting ninety percent or more is.) It seems when it comes to marketing and publicity, SP authors must find more alternatives.
One last thing. If you’re self-published, you may be wondering why copies of your book that you sell don’t ‘count’ in your official sales total. A few decades ago special interest groups were printing their own books, selling them to their own members, and claiming they had produced best sellers. You can’t blame traditional publishing for having some reaction to behavior like that, even if attitudes haven’t kept up with current realities.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Phyllis K Twombly