Thursday, 1 July 2010

10 Do's and Don'ts of Selling Yourself and Your Book.

1. DO prepare. Preparation is key. Make lists of every possible publication, programme and retail outlet that you feel could be interested. Think big! Don’t limit yourself to local press – and remember trade presses and special interest media. Your protagonist breeds horses? Call Horse and Hound. Find out if there is a programme for the Burghley Horse Trials, see if your local equestrian centre will take some copies… all ways think out of the box. Every sale counts.
2. DO telephone first in every possible instance. Remember, it’s easy to fire off an email. But whilst your new book may be huge news to you and your family, it’s just another option for filling their publication or show. In other words, your email will become just another bit of Spam if you don’t ring first. Get the right person to send it to. Touch base with them in person. You can then call a week later to gently remind them that you sent them an email.
3. DO always follow through. Didn’t get anything back from The Daily Telegraph? Don’t dismiss it. Your press pack may be sitting at the bottom of a great big pile (yup, think slush) and the journalist has forgotten about it. Be polite and cheerful and you’ll often find that the email magically reappears and gets forwarded onto the right person. Be persistent!
4. DO network and offer reciprocal favours. Can’t create a website but know how to write press releases? Swap with fellow authors along the way. It’s all about karma baby.
5. DO write thank you letters. Got that big feature or a slot on a radio show? Send them a brief thank you afterwards. That way the people who can be helpful to you are far more likely to remember you – and to be willing to give you that little bit of extra airtime/column inches when you next have a product to sell. Make friends.

1. DON’T send vague emails with no recipient or clear idea of what would interest a journalist’s/broadcaster’s readers/listeners. They’re in business just like you. If you want to place an advert, you’ll have to pay. If you want free exposure, you’ll have to think of something that will interest. Wrote your novel whilst recovering from a car-crash? That’s a hook. Took 38 years to write your novella and it’s finally been published? That’s a hook.
2. DON’T be rude or snotty or unkind. EVER. Particularly on the internet. You know that guy you can’t stand on that forum who in your opinion just wrote the worst book ever? Yeah, well he might end up being Stephen King. Think along the lines of the elderly Duchess who said “I’m never rude to unmarried girls… you never know who they may become.” Furthermore, what you say on the Internet sticks around. You are now formulating a public persona. Watch your P’s & Q’s.
3. DON’T forget to attach ALL relevant information in emails. By which I mean your name, contact details, name of your book, blurb, excerpt, information on publishing and buying details (will it be on Amazon, Neilson etc). Sounds obvious but you have one shot to get someone’s attention. If you fail to give them the necessary information they may not bother to get back to you. Do not make people work – you must make sure it’s done for them.
4. DON’T be late for interviews. Should go without saying… but seriously, DON’T. Also, it helps if you bring any other material you think might be of interest. Cover art, copy of the book. Again, help the people do their job and they’ll be far more helpful. Also, if you don’t like having your picture taken (as I don’t) make sure that you are prepared with some headshots that you HAVE approved and that are in an easy e-mail friendly format.
5. DON’T give up. Your novel is a product. You wouldn’t spend a year inventing the world’s most incredible gadget just to get it manufactured and skip off thinking about your next gadget…would you? You are a sales person now. A PR person, a celebrity, a genius and a bloody good multi-tasker. Now pick up all those hats and go get ‘em.





  1. Charlotte this site is so very professional, wonderful job in communicating how very odd for a

    I'm still in the baby steps stage on a couple of different sites, trying them on for size and finding out which site offers me everything I need simply and creatively. {At no cost} Your articles are very helpful indeed. I'm delighted to become a follower.

  2. I was just starting to take baby steps to get my book out there and noticed. NOT ANYMORE. Massive big ones now. Watch out i'm coming to your street, shouting loud and proud.
    Tee Eye of Erasmus