As self-published authors, it is easy to become engrossed in the marketing and promotion of your own book. You want people to read it, you want critics to review it, you want other self-published authors to recommend it, but… are you doing the same for fellow self-published authors?
The world of self-published authorship can quickly feel like a community to those who are involved in ongoing and frequent reading and reviewing of other self-pub authors. Whether it is a self-pub author who writes in the same genre, one who comes from your local area, or authors you’ve met via forums and social media, it is not merely a good idea to keep up with reading other self-published books. It can also benefit you as well, by helping you continuously build your network, and thereby providing more and more opportunities for your own book to be read, shared, reviewed and talked about.
So, where should you go self-pub book hunting? Are you supposed to just start pulling books off their (virtual) shelves in the library because you like their cover art or because they have an awesome title that makes you think “Damn, I wish I’d thought of that” … or just make some wild guesses? Do you trust the captions and comments? Do you stick to just one or two genres you really enjoy?
Finding Great Books
I’ve mentioned the tiny but very tightly woven community of GoodReads in my previous posts. While you should not use the actual social media site itself to trap people so you can push your book onto members, there are chat forums where you can politely provide your book title and ask for a read and/or review.
But the real point here is that there is probably no better place for finding good — maybe even occasionally great — self-pub books and regularly published books too. But the valuable part is your own recommendations and reviews of self-pub books you’ve enjoyed. GoodReads’ bulletin board revolves around all self-publishing topics, but one thread in particular is just for self-pub authors to recommend, share and review books by other self-pub authors.
Such things create community, establish harmony and solidarity for self-published authors, but also create free-of-charge avenues for authors to be read, reviewed and shared. So, if you are not out there recommending and reviewing other self-published authors, how can you expect them to do the same for you?
Giving Useful Responses
If you follow the link to the actual bulletin board thread pictured here, you’ll see tons of responses by authors who gave multiple recommendations of book titles and self-pub authors across many genres. Occasionally someone politely presents their own book title and mentions they’d appreciate a read and/or review, but the vast majority are sincere recommendations from readers.
Follow these authors’ example. If you aren’t already, start participating in the discourse of self-pub authors. Become a part of the self-pub community, whether on GoodReads or some other social media channel or discussion forum. If you have yet to read a single self-published book, and especially if you are additionally having trouble marketing and selling your own book, you really need to jump in already.
Do Unto Others
I’m not telling you to start chatting up other self-pub authors in order to better market your own book. I’m saying, if you aren’t reading and reviewing other self-pub authors, if you aren’t making an effort to develop relationships with readers, reviewers and other self-pub authors, it’s no wonder you are having trouble getting anyone to read yours. Self-publishing is not simply the act of putting your manuscript into print and selling it.
The bottom line should be obvious: Do unto others. If you want authors and book reviewers to read your book, do the same for them.