An interview by William Lambers and the challenges of self-publishing promotion

An Interview

I hope you’ll take a minute to read the interview William Lambers, author and an advocate to end hunger, did with me. Originally appearing on blogcritics, his story, An Interview with Christine Grote was picked up from Yahoo’s associated content site by the Seattle Post Intelligencer, a Hearst-owned paper.  That’s pretty exciting.

In the interview I answer questions about my inspiration to write Dancing in Heaven, what challenges I faced in getting to a final, publishable manuscript, why I decided to self-publish, and what advice I have for others who are inspired to write a book. I hope you’ll click one of the three links above and read the interview. (The Seattlepi story actually looks better on the page.) I hope you’ll also check out William Lambers’ website where there is lots of terrific information about the war on hunger.

The Challenges of Promoting a Self-Published Book

I’m barely off the starting block and already I feel the weight of being a self-published author. There are a LOT of self-published books out there. And let’s face it, just because somebody can type up a manuscript and manage to format it (which in my view does deserve some credit), that doesn’t mean they actually have an interesting, well-told, well-written and edited, story. There are no guarantees in the self-published world.

Many readers have figured this out on their own after buying a book only to realize they can’t get past page 3.

How do you convince readers that your book is worth a chance?

Traditionally published authors don’t have this cloud of uncertainty, doubt, and frequently disillusionment, hanging over their books. You get a book published by a respected publishing house, it appears on a bookshelf in Barnes and Noble, and you automatically win the crown of legitimacy. You still have to hope people will want to buy your book, but at that point it becomes more a matter of choice.

In the self-publishing world, it’s a matter of pulling yourself out of the mire. There’s still a lot of prejudice out there (and sometimes for good reason). “If the book is so good, why aren’t they published by a Harper Collins, Penguin, Random House?” That’s a valid question. But there are a lot of answers to it. Discouragement in the state of affairs of overworked, over-queried agents ranks high on the list. Loss of faith that a good book will be guaranteed notice, is another.

There are no gatekeepers in the self-publishing world. The readers are the gatekeepers.

That’s why word-of-mouth is so important. We’re the little guys. We really need our readers to help us convince others that our self-published book is worth a chance.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has bought, read, commented on, left a review on their blog or at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble, or Createspace and Smashwords. (In addition to the comments linked in the previous sentence, you can read others here.) I want to thank everyone who has given Dancing in Heaven to someone else to read. Who has told a mother, a sister, a neighbor, about it.

Good books are successful (or not) because of the readers. Simple.

If you haven’t been there yet, stop by the review at Cynthia Robertson’s blog and comment for a chance to win a copy of Dancing in Heaven.

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12 thoughts on “An interview by William Lambers and the challenges of self-publishing promotion”

  1. You are such an inspiration Christine. I hope I can learn from you and follow in your footsteps. (By the way, in a not so brilliant move in terms of promotion on my part I changed my blog address to lisawieldswords.wordpress.com)

    1. Thanks, Lisa. When did you change it? I think I’m still getting your rss feed on google reader. But I will check.

      The whole name thing is a quagmire. I’m out there as Christine Grote, Christine M. Grote, cmsmith, and cmsmith57.

      You either have to be very forward-thinking and have it all figured out at the beginning, or get reorganized as you are trying to do. No worries.

      1. I’m taking a course on self-publishing now, and was told that my twitter handle should be Lisa Kramer, but I like LisaWieldsWords. Plus, there are at least two other Lisa A. Kramer, PhDs out there, both who have published, both from very different fields. One who graduated with her doctorate from the same university at the same graduation ceremony as I did (her degree in sociology, mine in theatre). I don’t want to change my name, but marketing a name that exists in so many ways seems useless.

      2. I think you’re going to be fine. So many guidelines to follow. Sometimes I feel like chucking it all. I think Lisa Wields Words is quite accurate.

  2. As one of those “little guys” who is self-publishing, I appreciate your post for so many different reasons. Nothing could have prepared me for the rigor that awaited. Yet, I would do it all over again. Thanks for sharing your story so the rest of us can benefit.

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