Last night's QRB event featuring Craig Popelars and Michael Taekens, Directors of Marketing and Publicity at Algonquin, respectively, was quite enlightening. As I learn more and more about bookselling as a business, I am more and more intrigued by it, and also realize that I still have A LOT more to learn.
But I came away from last night's event feeling confident that
a) I'm on the right track
b) self-publishing was still the right way to go for me.
Of course, my goal is still to be published with a traditional publisher and get the exposure that one can often get from a traditional publisher. And I am quite confident that I can achieve this goal. But I am equally confident that I can make strides as a self-published author as well, especially if I keep doing the kinds of things I've been doing.
Craig and Michael discussed promotion and publicity techniques that I'm already employing: online social networking, blogging, blog tours, etc. (ok, so I haven't done the blog tour yet, but it's at the top of my to-do list). They also talked about the importance of establishing relationships, especially w/ indpendent booksellers. I think I'm off to a good start w/ that as well. Other things I could look into: book clubs, distributing galleys (although that runs into a lot of $$), and local media (press releases, etc.).
Finally, I'm passing on a bit of a gem in terms of a new online resource called The Book Publicity Blog. I especially got excited when I saw all the links for book sites, etc. (blog tour! blog tour!)
Overall, to my readers who are aspiring to be published authors: keep doing what you're doing, and stay on track. A publicist and a publisher would be totally awesome -- it can be tough to wear all those hats. Don't wait for it all to come to you; but don't sit on the sidelines, either. There's too much potential just begging to be tapped.