Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pimping Your Book

No I don't mean force your book into a shorty shorts, fishnets and a tube top and drop it off on a downtown corner.

Although that might make more cash than a badly launched self-published book.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, bunnies, but writing your book and editing it---are the easy parts.

Yeah, I cried a bit too. Go ahead let it all out. But don't short circuit the keyboard with the tears.

First, don't spend a year or years writing a book and then put a 59cent cover on it. I know, I know, looks shouldn't matter but when was the last time you dated that one eyed humpbacked guy who smells like sweat socks?


A little packaging won't kill you and it just might help make your book more attractive to readers. You know--put sunglasses on it and give it a bath. :)

Just self-publishing a book without any background work is a bit like sending a aging nun out to get a job at a strip club. Honey, it just isn't going to work. You're going to need a website that's searchable on this thing called the internet. :)

You'll need to proposition every website, blog, vlog and book review site who might give you a shout out. And don't forget related sites. Example: You are writing a murder mystery set at Nascar? Try pimping your book at Nascar related sites.

Set up (if possible) readings at your local library or book signings at any local INDEPENDENT bookstores. Some Indy's won't carry self-published books, some will. Don't assume.

Come from a small town? See if someone will do a special interest piece in the local paper.

Hit up your bigger local book groups. Having people who are book people read your book, discuss it their group and then talk it up to their book friends, on their websites, their blogs can't hurt. People trust people more who they read often or who read a lot of books.

Every writer says their book is wonderful but sometimes they're wrong. You are always fighting the impression that a self-published book is one step above the free flyer given away at the grocery. To fight that impression, try to get some book reviews from people who don't owe you any favors and didn't give birth to you.

And hon, before you pimp out that book, EDIT it. You'll need a second set of eyes. Not just for typos but plot holes and inconsistencies. You won't see some holes because you're too close to the project. Get an editor or a nit picky English major (at the minimum) to look at it.

Self-Publishing is WORK. Writing is, I hate to tell you, was the easy part.

That sucks, doesn't it?


Crap, I suppose this means I have to finish my novel. Oh well, do as I say bunnies, not as I do. Most of what I publish I do for me. I'm assuming you want paid. :)



  1. Yes, go write some more Plum! What you've said is the reality many of us face with our dreams of publishing.

  2. Tirzah, this post is wickedly funny--and all so true. Promoting our books might take time and effort, but it's less scary than donning a pair of stilettos. :)

  3. Joy--Yes, I must get back to Plum. Just haven't been in the mood for her. But I will finish...Sigh.

    Michelle---I'm glad you fine it funny. Never sure when I'm too much. :) And heels---are the debil! To quote a bad Adam Sandler movie.

  4. So true! I have a few author friends whose books are quite good, but their covers look really amateur. I wish I could have advised them before publication, but I didn't get to know them until after the fact ... The old saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover, but the truth is, people do it all the time. That's why it needs to look good.

  5. SO funny! and oh so true.
    I just pubbed my e-book in July and holy crap...writing it was the easy part!
    Great post!

  6. Great advice with a great sense of humor. Love it!

  7. Hey, from a fellow humor campaigner. And writing was the easy part whether or not I decide to self-publish. Not giving up queries after only 4 rejections and 2 ignores. Although I write fantasy/SF for teens, I think all teen books need humor and lots of sarcasm. So I here I am. I followed your blog and you can do the same for me at There's a chance of chocolate or gift card if you follow the contest instructions. Now back to campaigning!

  8. Ah to write a good book, edit it and to be able to toss it to someone else to market and sell it...hahahahaha...the dream.