Self-Publishing and the Importance of Social Networking

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications
Book Marketing

Contributed by Julie Duncan

Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Self-Publishing and the Importance of Social Networking
In addition to the marketing support provided by Westwind Communications, self-published authors can help to generate more interest by understanding how social networking - both on and offline - can be used to place their book in the public eye and to ensure that it reaches a wider readership. The number of self-published bestsellers is growing, and with a good story, interesting characters and a strong editor, the only thing holding back a potential bestseller is a lack of effective marketing.

Combining a personal networking strategy with Westwind's marketing support could help to take a self-published book from the depths of an online shop to the heights of the bestseller lists.

Social media
Love it or hate it, social media certainly serves a purpose when it comes to promotion and publicity, and those who keep up to date with the latest uses of social media can end up benefiting from it.

Twitter is a good place to start to find out about how authors and publishers are using the internet to generate interest for a new book. It is possible to keep a low profile on Twitter to learn how it could be used successfully before building up a recognizable profile. This can then be used to link to other tools, such as a regularly updated blog about the book, for example, as well as linking to the book itself. Interacting with other authors can raise an online profile, as can giving users a reason reply and re-tweet.

Vincent Lentini was studying for an MBA that required him to write papers, when he decided to self-publish to reach a wider audience. Initially selling his reports for a price of $500-$1,700, he then began to self-publish his reports as e-books at a mere $4.99 each. "To me, it's a great business strategy because the cost to produce a book is minimal and once you build a reputation, you can create something tremendous," he said. "With social media, if you develop good business relationships, especially with bloggers, this can become a business."

Real life networking
With sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter dominating the online professional network, it's easy to forget the significance of face-to-face networking that doesn't let people hide behind their computer screen or cellphone. Whether it is through book groups or arts festivals, there are thousands of options for networking away from the internet, and it can help supporters to get behind the author as a personality, as well as getting behind their book. UK publisher Hookline Books uses book groups to find its new bestsellers. By presenting book groups with unsolicited manuscripts from university students and inviting members of the group to give each potential book a score, Hookline finds new books that are likely to sell. This demonstrates that book groups can be a useful tool in reading and judging new books, and could be used to a self-published author's advantage. Offering free copies of a new book to groups is sure to generate some interest, and could be the start of a valuable relationship for the release of subsequent books. Some independent bookshops also put on question and answer evenings to allow members of the public to come and ask an author questions about their book. Armed with an extract of the book and a some publicity material showing a Twitter account and blog, a question and answer session to promote the book is the best way to get the word out among those who are most likely to share it.

This face-to-face networking can tie in with an author's online profile, as not only will the business cards direct interested parties to the site, but often those who attend book nights are those who blog about new books. And in turn, they publicize their blog, so helping both themselves and the new author. A number of publishing houses send free copies of new books to those who blog about them, safe in the knowledge that this free book could result in the sale of many more.

The internet is an incredibly useful tool for self-publishers, as it means that word of mouth doesn't just travel from one street to the next but all around the world within a matter of minutes. Creating an online profile and using it as part of a solid marketing strategy can be combined with a real life presence in bookshops and book groups to ensure that this self-published book is at the top of everyone's reading list. And once it's there, publicizing the next book will be considerably easier.

About the Author
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications' book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist.



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