Self-Printing Promotion: What Not To Do and Some Final Thoughts


June is coming to a close (thank God, because July means my birthday! Woo-hoo! I’m 21 again, thanks for asking) and with it, my series of posts telling you how I sold my self-published book, the same series of posts you’ll probably completely ignore when it comes to selling your self-published book, but hey, that’s okay. If you have any luck with any of them though, you might let me know.

To recap, we’ve covered:

I think that’s enough to be getting on with, don’t you? Although if you are out of ideas, I do love this post by David Louis Endelam that details all the weird and wonderful ways he promoted his book, Infoquake. It’s from 2006 but damn does that man have an imagination. I stumbled upon this post on Beth Morrissey’s Hell or High Water blog: Marsha Moore describes her plan of action for promoting her travel book, 24 Hours London. Moore has a background in PR so she knows what she’s talking about. I’ll also be reviewing The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won’t by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (no relation!) next month. I wonder if her publisher won’t promote her books because she’s calls them names like that…

Before I leave you to fend for yourself or read one of the other 32,438,101 blog posts floating around the magical internet about promoting your book, let’s just quickly mention what NOT to do.

Enter Catherine’s 8 Potentially Useful Golden Rules for What Not To Do While Promoting Your Self-Published Book (patent pending): Continue reading

Self-Printing Promotion: Of Book Launches and Book Tours


Initially I wasn’t even going to have a book launch, bound as I was by the bonds of self-published shame. If people opened the newspaper and saw me parading around with my POD-published book, wouldn’t they assume I’d lost my mind to self-delusion? Wouldn’t the really published writers raise an eyebrow and snort, in the same way I had in the past when I’d seen other self-publishers talk the traditionally published talk? (Not because I was really published, but because I knew they weren’t.) Wouldn’t the girls I went to school with see the pictures in the paper and think to themselves, Gosh! She’s put on a few pounds!, instead of, She’s done what she always said she would – and she’s only 27! like I wanted them to?

It was the pictures in the paper that did it – the thought of the free publicity. If I had a launch, I could invite people to it, and if people came, the local newspaper could take photos. Soon, the whole city would know I’d (self) published a book.

I could also buy new clothes. Maybe even shoes. Continue reading

Self-Printing Promotion: Complimentary Copies


Hands down, the best way to sell copies of your self-published book is to give copies of it away for free. Strange but true.

Don’t give them away to just anyone, of course – I don’t recommend you walk through the streets with a cart full of books chanting, ‘Help yourself!’, for instance – but disperse them amongst carefully chosen book reviewers, booksellers, bloggers, journalists and other people associated with the subject matter of your book. These aren’t necessarily review copies, so to speak; the people you give them to may not even have an outlet in which to publicly review your book. But if they’re interested in the topic and you’ve written well about it, they might tell some or even all of their friends.

And you never know, one of their friends may be a producer on the Oprah show.

It could happen… right? Continue reading

Self-Printing Promotion: Fun with VistaPrint


(Before I start this post proper, I want to say that I’m not trying to be an advertisement for VistaPrint. It just so happens that they are the company I used because I find them cheap and cheerful, and they have international sites. I also like how once you order something from them, they send you a voucher for 25% off your next purchase, and they’re always throwing in little freebies. But they’re the only ones I have experience of; I’m sure there’s loads more. Do tell me if you know any other good ones.)

Printed materials can be very useful when promoting your self-published book, so long as they look professional, contain all the relevant information and get into the hands of the right people. There’s no point leaving a stack of postcards on the counter of your local butchers, for instance, if your book is about vegan recipes.

To help promote Mousetrapped, I made myself book launch invites that doubled nicely as bookmarks, postcards and posters. I also produced an ‘info page’ to include with complimentary copies of my book so potential reviewers, stockists, etc. would know what it’s about without having to read through the whole thing.


I like things that match and as all three things were going to make an appearance at my book launch, it was important they all looked related to it each other, i.e. part of a brand. Online printing services are usually DIY with lots of templates, clip art, etc. but it’s not always possible to get the same scheme on a postcard as it is on a business card, so the best thing to do is make one yourself. Continue reading

Self-Printing Promotion: Contests, Giveaways and Freebies


The easiest and cheapest way to inform a lot of people about the existence of your book in a quick, sudden shock is to give copies of it away for free. News flash: people like things that are free. You can use this to your advantage to promote your book, increase blog traffic or get more Twitter followers or Facebook fans.

The Coffee Contest OR How I Sent Visitors to My New Blog

On the 1st February 2010, I left my blog (which was really just a mish-mash of messy stuff) and defected to WordPress, where I was determined to have a shiny new organized blog. To jump start its readership, I decided to hold a coffee contest to celebrate (read ‘publicize’) its existence.

I like coffee.

First, I needed something to give away. Mousetrapped was far from being out yet, so I went begging. I approached Cork Coffee Roasters, told them I was having a Twitter contest and asked them for three bags of their own blends. In the email I told them how many people, potentially, would hear of Cork Coffee on the day of the contest* and that in all honesty, I’d just buy the bags if they didn’t give them to me. (I would have). They kindly agreed; the contest was on. Coffee was the perfect prize – it was easy to mail, it was something special to Cork, where I live, and the name of my new blog was Catherine, Caffeinated. Continue reading

Self-Printing Promotion: Forum Fun


As a POD self-publisher, you’re going to encounter plenty of opportunities to talk about the experience, share tips and seek out fellow sane people who don’t believe their 180,000 word book about ice cream trucks in the year 3021 is going to land on the bestseller lists without editing, professional cover design or, well, being any good. The best place to do this other than your blog is on forums.

Arm yourself with some links to your book’s listing, book trailer and wherever you can download a sample first chapter, and head to: Continue reading

Radio Waves

Last Wednesday I was on the radio. If you discount a couple of angry sentences I screamed into a news reporter’s Dictaphone during the 2001 student protests outside Cork’s City Hall (imagine, “We want our exams corrected!” in a “They’ll never take our freedom!” sort of way) that was later replayed on the three minute news on the hour and then never again, it was my first time, and it was really my first time on there – eek! – live.

The idea was I chose six songs and the DJ, the lovely Martina O’Donoghue, played them and, in between, asked me why I picked the songs I did. Now contrary to popular belief, I’m not stoopid. I wasn’t there to talk about my obsessive scrap-booking hobby, why I still haven’t watched The Sopranos or how I once came within a postage stamp of applying to partake in a European Space Agency experiment where I’d be locked in two shipping containers with six other people for eighteen months. (They were simulating the effects of a manned mission to Mars, if you were wondering.)

No. If I was on the radio and broadcasting to, um, tens of people, then I was going to make sure I ended up talking about my book.

So what to pick? After much, much, MUCH thought, some helpful Twitter friends and several trips through my iTunes library, I finally settled on these six songs: Continue reading