Market yourself!

At the beginning of April, I attended the Maryland Writers Association at the University of Baltimore. I found Mary Shafer’s presentation to be informative. Shafer is the president of the MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association (MBPA) and publisher of Word Forge Books. One thing that she said stuck out to me. She mentioned when you purchase an ISBN, an indie press should purchase a block of ten ISBNs for $250. She said that when an indie press purchases one ISBN at a time, it signals that you are a self-published author. The panel about publishing was also useful. Literary agent Jason Ashlock of Movable Type Literary Group made the suggestion that writers should spend three years building a platform before publishing a book–that way when the writer has something to sell, he has established his audience. So for all aspiring writers, I advise that you develop a web presence. Create a blog. Post regularly on Facebook about your writing projects. Tweet. Don’t expect huge book sales if you haven’t marketed yourself. In this new publishing industry, the author has to do a lot of his own publicity. I encourage authors to visit local independent bookstores and sell their books on consignment. Inquire about using the space to have a small reading. Pitch your book to local editors of the arts and entertainment sections. Get book reviewers to review your book. But most importantly, write a book that people want to read!

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