I have a super-awesome secret weapon for book promotion up my sleeve, and it has made a world of difference to my success as an indie author. I wish I could share it with you guys, spread the love, give you this awesome weapon for your own arsenal, but I’m afraid I can’t do that. I’m not being selfish, but…
My secret weapon is Stefan.
If you’re just joining us, Stefan is my BF. He’s a stand-up comedian professionally, but he’s had a lot of past lives (like many creatives), and he’s picked up a lot of skills that happen to come in handy for publishing and selling books.
He studied graphic design for a minute, he worked as a videographer for a few years, and he learned website design in a small town when people were still connecting to AOL by CD-ROM.
So, he’s pretty useful to me. He helped me produce my first book trailer, and taught me how to create those oh-so-lifelike 3D ebook covers you see scattered across the site.
You see why I can’t share, though, right?
What I can share instead is this tip: You don’t need Stefan, anyway.
You have your own secret weapons.
Self-publishing is a multi-faceted undertaking. It involves a lot of skills that go way beyond the scope of writing — graphic design for your book covers, code for your website and blog, marketing for your book promotion, video editing for your trailer, and all kinds of more specific aspects of all of those for a bunch of minute details of the publishing process that you never knew existed until you ventured into this crazy world.
But, despite the lonely connotation of the term and our inclination for solitude, self-publishing does not have to happen alone. You can get others involved, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do it.
Look at your existing network. Who are the “Stefans” around you? What skills do your friends, family, co-workers, and other acquaintances have that could be helpful in publishing and selling your book?
It’s a 2-way street, of course.
Once you’ve identified the hidden gems in your network, figure out how you can work together with those people, what you have to offer them in return for their services. If it’s your boyfriend, maybe your simple happiness will be reward enough ;) If it’s someone more distant, make sure you respect their time, effort, and skills, and don’t ask them to apply their expertise for any less than you would be willing to offer your writing or editing services for.
Maybe all you have to do is make them dinner every few weeks, and they’ll be happy to design your book cover. Maybe they have a piece of writing they want you to look at in exchange for fancying up your author website. Maybe you can write copy for their video website in exchange for a professional book trailer.
There are tons of ways you can leverage your existing network to support your self-publishing goals so you don’t have to become an expert in every field. You just have to be open to the opportunities, and learn how to bargain.
Don’t forget what friends are for…
“Friends” intro theme song, just for fun.
Featured image by Leland Francisco (Creative Commons)