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African American Authors: Promote and Sell Your Self-Published Black Book

May 16, 2008
Self-publishing is the hottest trend in books, as it provides creative thinkers turned authors with a fast and easy way to get their work on the market. With the added option of "print on demand", and desktop publishing and design software, the initial cost to get your book out can be very minimal.

Self-publishing is also the most profitable since you get to keep all the profits for yourself. IF you are committed to the work it is going to take to sell your books that is.

One of the most difficult challenges a self-published author faces is getting their book into the hands of people that will appreciate it enough to pay their hard earned money. I recall reading an article on the self-publishing industry that reported the average number of self-published books sold per author is about 100 copies!

With that horrifying number in mind, you need to roll up your sleeves and prepare to launch a focused marketing and promotion program that will have you doing at least 3 things per day every day for the next 6 months to promote your book. Remember, no one can dream your dream but you, and ultimately, you are the only one responsible for the success or failure of your book.

Start by arming yourself with as much knowledge on the subject as possible. Check out these books and websites on marketing and promoting for self-published authors:

THE SELF-PUBLISHING MANUAL by Dan Poynter is I think hands down, the best promotional book and guide to successful self-publishing for a first time author. It is easy to read and understand, and organized in a fashion that make it a valuable reference as you go through the writing and publishing process.

GUERILLA MARKETING FOR WRITERS by Jay Conrad Levinson is another easy to follow guide with more than 100 ideas for marketing and promoting your book. There are like a zillion Guerilla Marketing books covering a wide range of markets.

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING by Tom & Marilyn Ross guides authors through the entire self-publishing process from writing the first word to wildly creative ways to market the finished product.

1001 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BOOK by John Kremer is top notch. John Kremer is a legend in the book marketing field. But there are SO many ideas presented this 3" thick book that I found it to be somewhat overwhelming. His websites are much easier to go through for people that are A.D.D. like me!

Leveraging the power and global reach of the Internet is the next step you must take.

Every author needs a web page. Do you have one set up for your book or books yet? This site will serve as the foundation of your marketing campaign and is a step you cannot afford to skip. Your website will be used as a vehicle to promote both yourself and your work 24 hours per day. It will also display or link to book reviews, to provide the media and press with an avenue for contacting you for interviews, and will of course help you sell your product.

Your website does not have to be fancy and expensive. As a matter of fact, it is better if it's rather non-dynamic. You want the key focus to be on your book and YOU, not your fancy FLASH intro.

After that, you need to get your book reviewed. There are mainstream book reviewers, and there are many niche market reviewers as well. Check out John Kremer's list of newspaper reviewers at BookMarket.Com.

Authors of Black books have many options available.

When seeking reviews, be prepared to send out a copy of your book along with a headshot photograph, author contact information, and information on where your book can be purchased. This is when you would mention your wonderful new website! Here is a list of Black book reviewers and sites:

QBR The Black Book Review
QBR is a reliable source for what is current in Black books. QBR also produces the Harlem Book Fair, the largest African American book Fair nationally, held annually in New York City.

Felicia Pride's Black Books Blog - More Than Words
Felicia reviews and blogs about Black books on AOL's Black Voices channel.

African American Literature Book Club (AALBC)
The largest site on the web focusing on Black books.

The RawSistaz
This group of ladies provides casual reviews of a wide variety of books, all written by African American authors.

Let's Talk Honestly with George Cook
George provides free interviews with Black authors which are posted as pod casts each week on this popular website.

The Black Issues Book Review
This the only nationally distributed magazine devoted exclusively to covering the latest news and reviews on black books.

Now you have a published book and a couple of great reviews. It's time to contact Black bookstores in your area. Go visit them with your book in hand, introduce yourself, and ask if they will either carry your book or allow you to have a book signing in their store.

Book retailers usually receive a rather large discount from the cover price (as much as 60%). Since each independent retailer has its own sales agreement and terms, all I can tell you is to be sure to read each carefully.

Make sure the terms regarding book returns, payment dates, and merchandise delivery are spelled out clearly and to your satisfaction before signing on the dotted line.

Writing, researching and editing your book is certainly a lot of hard work, but that is just the beginning. All that work pales in comparison to the long hours and the effort you must put into getting your name out there and your book noticed every single day until you reach your sales and financial goals.

I cannot describe with words the deep sense of satisfaction one gets when you open up a package from your publisher and find the first copy of a real book that has your name on it. And selling thousands of those books is certain validation that what you have to say has value and is important to others.

Get busy making it happen!
About the Author
Deborrah is a relationships expert and self-published author of the hilarious guide to modern dating entitled: "Sucka Free Love - How to Avoid Dating The Dumb, The Deceitful, The Dastardly, The Dysfunctional & The Deranged." Order your copy today at http://www.suckafreelove.com
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