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How to Beat the Self-Pub Stigma and Gain New Readers

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As informed, wise, and purpose-driven authors who have made the decision to employ the indie route rather than the traditional publishing route for your book, you’re ahead of the curve. In our prediction post last week, we claimed (rightly, we think) that 2014 is going to be the year of the hybrid and indie author. But, as with all trends, it’s going to take a while for everyone to catch up.

And it’s your job to speed it along.

There are millions of people who haven’t yet jumped on the indie-publishing-is-awesome bandwagon; these people are your potential readers. You just need to reel them in. We’ve written before about the self-publishing stigma. It’s going away, but its not gone yet. Most likely you’ve found yourself time and time again defending your decision to not submit to an agent or a publisher. But what most people forget to do when they’ve found themselves in another traditional vs. indie conversation is to use it as an opportunity to sell their book.

So how do you do this?

Well, it’s actually quite simple: work in your book’s content as you explain your choices.

Bring your discussion down to the ground. Talking about your specific book rather than books and authors in general increases the chances that the person you’re chatting with will jump to support indie publishing. That is because people respond better to new ideas if they can see them in action. Your book should act as the first example of a self-published book this person sees.

Have you written a book about a current event or a new craze? Is your content timely? When you talk about how you chose indie publishing because it’s faster than traditional options, use your own content to help communicate the urgency. Sochi Olympics? Edward Snowden? A YA book about mermaids? These are all things that should be published sooner rather than later, and you can talk about why you’ve written your book and what it’s about in terms of timing—public interest is fickle, after all.

When you talk about how self-publishing gives you more control over your book—from the cover to the content and everything in between—talk about how you’re breaking the mold. All indie authors are in some way. Every one of you is doing something traditional houses haven’t thought of yet (or haven’t worked up the guts to do yet). You just need to find out what that is and talk about it. Novelty is what’s going to gain you readers.

When you talk about how going indie allows you to reach readers instantly in ways traditional publishers can’t do, talk about why your book needs to reach people quickly and directly. Perhaps you have a series where each book leaves the reader clamoring for more and you want to give it to them ASAP, or perhaps you’re looking to sell the books yourself so your author/professional brand carries farther than just a presentation or conversation.

Indie publishing is the sector of the book industry that’s growing the fastest. If you sell new people on the method AND your book, your work is going to be remembered forever as the gateway to a whole new world of books. And gateways get a whole lot of traffic.

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  1. Being where your readers are is the key to successful marketing, especially with time-sensitive topics like those you described in the article!