Figuring out how to navigate the world of book marketing can be a hazardous task, with many unmarked dangers–and shortcuts to safe passage–awaiting the self-publishing author. Over the last three weeks, I have introduced some of those campaign components which I happen to think are vital and important:

The problem, of course, is that while all of these probably sound like good ideas, they also require a lot of work.  And by “a lot of work,” I mean they require both time and a fairly discrete set of skills––each.  That is, the skills and even equipment required to craft that polished press release may have very little natural overlap with the skills and equipment required to craft an impactful video trailer.

“Well, what about Google?” you ask, and fairly.  “What about YouTube?  Can’t I look up some tutorials and put something together myself?”

Yes, yes you can!  And there are some really fantastic free guides out there.  I always recommend looking to the “making-related” articles in peer-reviewed periodicals like Publisher’s Weekly and WIRED throughout the year, even when you’re not working on a specific project, to see what sorts of new ideas and tools are being put out there.  And the quality of instruction on YouTube videos has improved greatly!  I’m not going to lie: the Internet is my go-to place when I need to learn how to do something for the first time, whether it’s to refine my (practically nonexistent) origami skills or how to snake my toilet.  (Don’t ask.)

But some of the “barriers to entry,” as we like to call them, are still up–even with the Internet and YouTube and Google in play.  I successfully snaked my toilet … after an hour of “practicing.”  (Read: “flailing wildly.”)  I know I didn’t have an hour to burn that day, but the toilet needed to be done.  And snaking is a relatively simple task compared to some of the many involved in, say, acquiring the rights to an audio file you want to play behind your book trailer video.  Or tracking down email addresses for booksellers, reviewers, and other industry influencers to create an email distribution list.  Templates and virtual instructions can sometimes fail us at crucial moments–or inflate the time required to accomplish what needs accomplishing beyond what we can spare.

If only there was somewhere we could turn that provided professional insight and assistance with our marketing campaigns!  Okay, okay, I know it’s a little on the nose, but I really do recommend paying for at least one consultation with a PR Publicist when you’re looking to put out a press release, a graphic designer or videographer when you’re crafting your book trailer video, and someone on the inside–with real experience–when it comes to tracking down credible book reviewers.

There are, as always, several ways you can go about this–you can contact these people individually, or you can opt to pay for a bundle of services that put all of these professionals under one roof (digitally speaking, at least).  Do your research, shop around for the best deals, and weigh your priorities against your marketing budget.  (Yes, you need one of those!)  Do what needs to be done to get you back to what you really love–writing–and cuts down on the time you spend fumbling around with that toilet snake.

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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