The business of self-publishing: Bookshop launches

Self-publishing is becoming a viable and accepted method for writers to either bring out a book that is hard for publishers to define, for traditionally published writers to relaunch old out of print titles electronically or through print on demand, for writers to supplement their traditional titles or fund their writing on the path to traditional publication, to write and publish creative, experimental and artistic work that may have a more niche following. To be commended and recommended, self-published work needs to be of high quality and the self-publisher needs to apply the principles of professionalism and good business.

In this weeks article on writing.ie The Business of Self-Publishing, I talk about how to make self-publishing work, through strong products, marketing savvy, funding initatives and more. Take a look at the full article here.

I recently launched the paperback of Housewife with a Half-Life in a bookshop. There are pros and cons for the self-publisher in taking on a Bookshop launch but overall I feel that it’s benefits outweighed any drawbacks. I recently wrote an article exploring the merits of a bookshop launch.

To Launch or Not to Launch: A second opinion

When invited to hold a bookshop launch for my debut self-published book Housewife with a Half-Life in a local store, I thought about the pros and cons. I’m here to say why, on balance, that while there are many arguments against a bookshop launch for the self-publisher, I’m glad that I went ahead.

First, the facts in black and white:

Having a bookshop launch is exhausting.

These are some of the tasks that need to be done ahead of time:

Organise books: While CreateSpace, the POD company I used, have many distribution channels, the Irish ones are not included in this. So it was necessary to send off (and pay for) a consignment of books upfront and then organise to get them to the bookshop.

Arrange publicity: I created a press release and emailed as many of the local papers, radio stations etc as I could. I also sent a copy of the book out to selected media people. I invited people through text, email and social media. This was a big job. I also organised a speaker, some refreshments etc.

These activities were all done in tandem with an online launch and blog tour marketing and publicity were all encompassing.

This article is guest posted on Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog. For the rest of the article, click here.

I’d appreciate your thoughts and experiences on your self-publishing journey and if you’ve done a ‘real-life’ book launch whether or not you found it useful.

In the meantime I’m bringing out several mini-collections of my short stories, some of which were shortlisted in prizes such as the Bridport, Fish and Hennessy New Irish Writing XO awards. Here’s what I’ve released so far. I’ll let you know how this venture goes.

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3 comments

  1. I have not done a real life launch in a proper book shop but what I did do was a launch in a coffee shop that just happens to be next to when my childrens’ school do PE on a Thursday afternoon. I timed it to start at 3 and go on until 4.30. The lady basically said I could do what I liked so I took a box of copies of my debut novel and a couple of copies of anthologies. She didn’t want any money but I insisted and gave her a cut because the place is run by volunteers.

    I sold quite a few copies that day. And the best part was the children came back and told me what they thought afterwards. Luckily they all enjoyed the book.

  2. That’s interesting. I think a face to face event works much better in selling a physical product, it creates an ‘author’ buzz. It’s great to be able to get direct feedback as well.

  3. I didn’t do an official launch for either of my books, mainly because I didn’t feel confident to approach local businesses. It’s not something I see happen much in my town or the nearby area, and my nearest independent bookshop were not very willing to help an Indie author when I spoke to them. They only grudgingly took a copy of my first book as a donation, and I haven’t heard from them since!

    Self-promotion is definitely the hardest thing we have to do, and I find it a hard slog at the moment. Yesterday for example I did a very lonely book signing event at Waterstones in Chester, but the good news is I sold four books, which I wouldn’t have done if I was hidden away at home all day!

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