How to Hustle Your Book

Today I learned that you can promote your book by advertising it on a dating website. You put the cover of your book in the spot where your face goes and people stop to look at it because they’re confused why there’s a book there instead of your face.

I have wanted to be an author since I was in sixth grade and I wrote a thirty page start to a novel during recess. What I’ve learned since then is that getting published, in any capacity, is hard. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been rejected. You get that same drop in your stomach every time.

This afternoon I attended a workshop with three self-published authors who were kind enough to share the secrets of their success: Renee Meland (class of 2005), James B Reid, and Mark Shaw. That’s where the dating site tip came from. Here are a few more:

1) Do Your Research: If you don’t, you may end up paying way more than you have to for stuff. Meland paid over $300 for cover art she could have bought somewhere else for $60. Also, not all agents are good agents. Never pay an agent upfront.

2) Learn the Computer Voodoo: To be honest I didn’t completely understand this part. My strategy with technology is to turn it off and turn it back on. Somehow I doubt this will work for selling books. On Amazon, the trick is to set your keywords to things that people search for so they find your book. You could select words to describe your book like “thriller” or “adventure.” Apparently, Amazon has a place for you to do this.

3) Pay Attention to the Cover: The cover is your first sales pitch. Make sure it looks good small. On a kindle most covers are about an inch wide, if that.

4) Self-Incorporate: If you become successful, it can be cheaper tax wise to say you are a corporation. Declare yourself the sole proprietor, otherwise it gets messy.

It was a good workshop, but regardless, publishing your stuff is still really hard. Meland compared it to running a marathon. Sometimes, you still have to face that rejection letter: “Unfortunately…” One of the other students asked how you keep going after ten or so rejections. I thought the answer they gave was brilliant: “You just have to.”

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About lmcginnis

I'm a senior here at UPS . I'm working towards an English major and a Spanish minor. I love any kind of creative writing; I'm president of the Writers Guild. I'm working on completing my thesis, a novella titled "Like Butterflies." It's about a witch-figure who can take away people's memories. In my free time, I like to practice karate and read Agatha Christie.