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Some say these are hard times for literary writers. Others say we have more opportunities than ever before to publish our work – on webzines, apps, e-books.

We have to find ways of promoting ourselves and our work in a way that doesn’t use up too much writing-time or money. We’re expected to be good marketers, tapping into a potential audience’s needs

One way of promoting our work is to selfpublish. So far, I’ve avoided self-publishing. Because for a self-published writer, self-promotion isn’t just a means of improving sales of a book, but of actually making it visible in the first place. It seems to me that self-published writers only occasionally get reviewed in literary newspaper columns and magazines. If they do, it’s often small-scale, for example, local publications. This is unlikely to significantly boost a profile or a book. Also, most bookshops won’t stock the book. And there won’t be the support of a marketing team to pique interest in the book from magazines and newspapers or to promote it for festivals or readings. I would have to be my own sales and marketing department. Also, it’s unlikely, though it has happened occasionally, that self-published writers will attract the interest of mainstream publishers.

The good news is that if you do decide to self-publish, it’s probably getting easier for you to promote and sell your work than ever before. You can upload your e-book to Amazon Kindle then you can sell your work through your website, your blog, and through social networking sites.

One of the benefits of self-publishing is that you have total control over your work. You can decide which genre to write for. You can design your own covers. You can decide how many books you want to write in a given time period. And you can decide how to market and promote yourself. But you need to be prepared to spend a fair amount of time marketing and networking on social media sites. And you need to know a bit about formatting e-books, designing covers and marketing.

Even mid-list writers are having to think about self-publishing. A lot of these writers are being dropped by their traditional publishers, particularly as the recession continues. Publishers want debut novels, genre fiction and books by celebrities.

Another benefit of e-book publishing is that even books that might be tricky to market to booksellers can be marketed directly to readers.

After being told by traditional publishers that her novel was a ‘niche’ book, a writer friend, Evelyn Walsh, recently took the plunge and self-published her book The Heron’s Flood, an entertaining read by all accounts.

How do you feel about being required to be a digital marketer as well as a writer? Even traditional publishers want writers to self-promote now. Did you sign up for this when you started writing? Maybe you enjoy self-promotion and will happily exploit all the digital opportunities you can?

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

e-book guides (unrulyguides.com)

Why the Kindle Fire Worries Me (eoinpurcellsblog.com)

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