by Sal Buttacci
It takes a great deal of courage to submit a manuscript for possible publication. Many writers spend months, even years, putting down on paper what they feel will be, if not the Great American Novel, then at least a darn good one. They look back with pleasure on the long hours of pounding the keyboard in producing that first draft. With less excitement they recall the grueling days and nights editing that first attempt into something they hope will be presentable in the marketplace.
Writing is a mixed bag of joy and woe. Who among writers have not delighted in the birth of an idea they recognize as plot-worthy? How many sleepless nights did they toss in bed, head filled with scenes and characters and lines of clever dialogue? Life itself seems to revolve around that one conviction: I can write this book. Readers will love it so much they’ll spread the word and it’ll sell more copies than I can ever imagine.
Now here is the misstep on the march towards literary success. Once the manuscript is submitted and accepted for publication, many authors find comfortable chairs in which to rest. According to their way of thinking, the labor is done. After all, they wrote the books, didn’t they? Now it falls in the court of the publisher to sell enough copies to make the writing of the book worth the time and effort.
The time and the effort? There is more to being a book author than meets the eye. Yes, cheers, you wrote a book. Now it is up to you to promote it, and that is where the next work step must be taken to assure success.
If you expect your publisher to do the promoting, you are seriously mistaken. Some publishers leave that task completely in your hands. Some like All Things That Matter Press that published my two flash-fiction collections do quite a bit of book promotions but count on you to do the bulk of it.
Books do not sell themselves. They may be potential bestsellers, their covers may attract readers like bees to honey, their plots may be ingeniously entertaining; however, unless authors take the helm and implement practical marketing plans, all hopes of success will crash against the rocks of feeble efforts.
How do authors manage to inform readers they have something worth purchasing? Just because titles are listed at Amazon.com does not preclude sales. Authors compete with millions of books and e-books there. How can they expect sales if potential buyers are not made aware these authors exist and their books are readily available?
Here are some suggestions to help you remove the cloak of author invisibility:
(1) Encourage people you know to read your book and then comment about it at your book page at Amazon.com.
(2) Join or initiate a marketing group of writers willing to work together to promote one another’s books by sending out blurbs once or twice a week. In this way you can reach the social networks of these writers in addition to your own.
(3) Join social networks like Twitter, Linkedin, Scoop-it, Pinterest, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Blogger, Google, Goodreads, and others which will allow you to promote your writings, not only your book, to readers who so far don’t know you from Adam or Eve. For example, at Twitter don’t be shy about retweeting the blurbs (messages up to 140-characters short) of other authors, sending non-book blurbs about topical issues, and making friends. The objective is to get your name in the marketplace. Without a large platform bookselling is a Herculean labor.
(4) Get your own website where you can post your writings. This is a great way to attract buyers, particularly women, who will want to order your book, according to Rob Eager, author of Sell Your Books like Wildfire.
(5) Submit your writings to online publications. A new short story? Send it out for publication. At the end of the story add a brief bio that includes the title of your book and a link to the purchasing site.
(6) Offer to be interviewed online at sites that cater to book buyers of your writing genre. What I like about interviews is that they give authors the opportunity to share personal stories of their lives and writing habits. It’s an ideal way for readers to get to know and hopefully like you.
(7) Make yourself available as a guest speaker locally at clubs and organizations. You could talk about how your book came to be written. You could read an exciting excerpt. You can autograph and sell copies of your book!
These are seven suggestions that can help you acquire a name for yourself. Will they make a bestselling author out of you? Probably not, but at least you can honestly say you tried, you gave it your all. Why? Because you believe in your book. You want to place a copy in the hands of every reader out there.
Salvatore Buttaci is an obsessive-compulsive writer whose work has appeared widely. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award. His poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times, U. S. A. Today, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Author‘s Info, Pen 10, and Six Sentences.
Sal Buttaci is a former English instructor at a local community college and middle-school teacher in New Jersey, he retired in 2007 to commit himself to full-time writing.
His collection of flash fiction Flashing My Shorts is available in book, e-book, and audio book versions http://www.amazon.com/Flashing-My-Shorts-Salvatore-Buttaci/dp/0984259473
His latest collection of short-short fiction, 200 Shorts, is available in book and Kindle editions at
He lives happily ever after with his wife Sharon in West Virginia.
(First published on www.Authorsinfo.org Tues, Sept. 24, 2013)