Self-Publishing When No One’s Listening

headphones no one is listening

So I want to write a book.


Yeah it is cool. Because with all the amazing things I experienced with (insert life long career/epic travels/insane parenting skills here) I just think there’s a great message that can be spread here.

I completely agree with you. Have you thought about self-publishing?

Yeah I have, but I just have one problem with it.

And what’s that?

No one knows who I am.

This is a conversation I have frequently. Self-publishing is growing rapidly in popularity, blowing many traditional publishers out of the water. And why shouldn’t it? Many writers have dreamed of having their work printed in a book with their face and name prominently placed. Pretty badass business card to have.

But what a lot of writers don’t think about and/or are afraid of is that when you want to become an author, you are also taking on the role of personal brand and marketer at the same time. It doesn’t matter what your genre, goals, etc. are with your book. You need to know how to reach people with it.

There’s also quite a misconception that if you choose to go with a traditional publisher, they will make life a lot easier in regards to PR once the product is ready to go. Well, in case you haven’t heard, they’re actually not that big of a help unless you wrote about a phenomenom series about a boy wizard with a scar or figured out how to work in only 4 hours a week. For the norm, regardless of the route you decide to take, you need to be prepared to promote the hell out of that publication if you want people to buy. If you don’t care if people buy, then don’t worry about finishing this post.

If you are looking to publish but don’t have an audience yet, here are some pointers to help you figure out how social media can help people find you and get them excited about your next book:

  • It’s never to early to market. Don’t wait until the book is finished. I know that sounds like a big pain, because writing a book takes a lot of time. But people need to know who you are before it’s done so they can be just as amped as you are when it’s ready for release.
  • Warm people up to your writing with a blog. The people that I’ve seen be able to self-publish and have great success have shared more for free than what they expect people to buy in book form. When you have a blog, you can update in smaller segments and let people learn about your ideas and opinions in your niche. With a loyal readership growing along the way, you’ve already lined up your first round of pre-orders.
  • Make friends in similar niches with the help of blog comments and Twitter chatsThere are so many opportunities to make friends in your industry who already have a good presence online that could potentially help you in the future. Always remember to go into things with intentions of helping first, but find some Twitter chats where people get together and talk about something similar to your expertise and start growing your network. Read blogs and leave thoughtful and conversation-driving comments to engage other readers and the blogger. The more involved you are in the conversation the more likely you’ll be noticed later when you’re sharing your own stuff.
  • Strategize guest posting opportunities. Blogger outreach is one of the most effective ways to help grow your presence, but you have to be smart about it. Research blogs that allow for guest posts and have a similar audience that would appreciate your work. Draft a great proposal or post for the site and find out if they will accept it and publish. If you get such an opportunity, don’t lose your new readers. Prepare your site to welcome the new readers and get them to stick around by subscribing to a newsletter and following you on social networks.

Do you get frustrated at the idea that no one’s really listening? What areas seem the hardest for you?