Self-publishing journey #2

Friends and family first
One suggestion made to self-publishing authors is to contact friends and family and let them know you have launched or will be launching a book.
I approach such suggestions with caution. Why? Because my friends and family are so treasured. They have my back when life gets gnarly. And I do the same for them. I ask myself if announcing a new book is like inviting them to one too many kitchen ware parties. Is an expectation of them buying something from me just plain tacky?
Discounted or free giveaway
A solution appears. I discovered that on Smashwords, authors can establish a coupon. The book can be discounted or given away for a designated period of time. Amazon offers a similar but not identical opportunity, provided the book is listed with Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select). For friends and family members, offering a book for free or at a discount feels much better to me. And, it gives me an opportunity to ask folks to review the book if they take advantage of the coupon.

Self-publishing journey #1

My self-publishing journey begins with a few assumptions. First, I’m a fiction writer and I can’t stop. When I have tried to abandon writing, I have found I cannot. I turn into my evil twin who nobody loves.
Next, with the advent of self-publishing distribution avenues such as Amazon and Smashwords, a window of opportunity opened for me along with countless other authors. Thanks to these platforms, I can write what matters to me.
Thirdly, when people who browse books find my work and become readers, I’m thrilled. When a reader expresses angst for or anger at one of my characters, or recognition of a geographic landscape in one of my novels, I experience pure delight. The joys outweigh the frustrations.
So what’s the problem?
A number of authors in the traditional publishing fold enjoy marketing support. As an example, a former writers’ group compadre of mine releases new books regularly through her publisher. Whenever I see her ‘shelf-talker’ cards (those little announcements in the bookstore that hang on the shelf under newly released books) that call attention to her books, I let her know her team is working for her. I don’t have a team working for me. I have me.
Common wisdom has it that to be successful, an author–whether traditionally published or self-published–needs to invest as much time marketing books as writing books. For me and others I know, that has as much appeal as oral surgery. So how to do it?
I’m learning. And as I learn, I will share what I discover with you.