There are no rules in the deadly world of self-publishing. Editors? Expensive. Cover artists? Superfluous. Adjectives, adverbs, prefaces, acknowledgements, dedications, and notes to the reader? Required and to be used in the mathematical quantity known as ‘a plethora.’
That being said, a few suggestions are needed to reach the staggering height of my success (or just use a stool).
1. Market the living hell out of your family.
Also your co-workers at the Shake Shoppe, people in your spinning class, and especially neighbors. What are they going to do, move?
Family is a delicate matter, however, and you must gain rapport. Call them in the evening at dinnertime. If you must approach in person, allow them a few seconds to talk about the kids or politics or cholera before launching into your book’s “elevator speech,” the motivations behind minor characters, or the struggle to maintain a ten-hour writing session fueled only by chocolate and Tang.
The inevitable rift will occur with friends and family, but at that point remember that persistence is also your friend, and now the only one. If an old co-worker suddenly pretends to have a stroke, monitor him closely but don’t call for help. Humoring these antics will only encourage the scamp. If he pretends to be unable to speak, take the time to learn sign language.
Relatives may pretend they’re traveling to Bhutan on holiday, but the clever self-published author will see an opportunity. Travel in disguise, preferably as the opposite sex, and shadow this relative’s every movement, dropping Zazzle-made postcards of your book at every opportunity. When the relative decides to remain in-country and abandon America, report him to the authorities and move on to your next victim.
2. Change your publishing model.
Throw a chair through a window and suddenly you’re a criminal. Throw a fresh, self-published book through your neighbor’s window every week and you’ll be as popular as GRIT. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Or the Easter bunny.
3. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, FourSquare, Instagram.
The pinnacle of human achievement? You’re thinking the Moon landing or Miles O’Keefe, but you’re oh-so wrong. It’s social media, or as I like to call it, The Game of Life (not related to “The Game of Life”).
There’s so much going on! Status being updated, tweets tweeting, photos uploading, cogent opinions and carefully worded comments appended, and friends going up by the minute!
All of these services are perfect for the self-published author for two reasons. First of all, they are free (an important point for writers to whom “shopping” means canvassing dumpsters behind The Shake Shoppe). And secondly of all, these services allow the author to promote his or her work to a captive audience. Everyone knows you have to read every comment, tweet, and hilarious baby photo! This becomes more time-consuming as fame and followers increase. I can’t imagine how Richard Simmons or George Takai can handle the workload, but then again, those two cats know magic.