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5 Questions to Ask Before Self-Publishing Your Book

Unlike writing, marketing a novel is not wholly within your control. But there are techniques you can deploy to stand out among other similar titles being marketed to readers.

Let’s ask a diverse group of best-selling and critically acclaimed novelists what worked best for them!

01. Margarita Montimore, Author of Oona Out of Order

“Every story has been told a million times, but your story is unique because it’s in your voice.”

For Margarita Montimore, marketing a book ultimately boils down to your author voice. It is your identifier; and an extension of yourself that functions as a literary “fingerprint.”

Despite the genre or your writing structure, Montimore believes incorporating your author voice into your marketing message can really help stand out. More importantly, it will feel less like selling, and bring out your unique individual parts of yourself as a storyteller.

02. Heather Chavez, Author of No Bad Deed

“So much of marketing is beyond our control. The question you have to ask yourself is; what makes you unique? And tap into that.”

For Heather Chavez, going local was her unique selling point. She approached her local newspapers, employee newsletters, book clubs and writers’ groups to promote her books to.

Chavez believes your existing connections are a more efficient and authentic way of marketing your book and recommends exploring them first.

03. Natalie Jenner, Author of The Jane Austen Society

“The more I shared about my motivations, the story behind my story, the more readers have come to me afterwards and said, ‘I loved knowing that about that.’”

For Natalie Jenner, marketing your book is about enriching the experience for the reader. She encourages not to hold back and share to the extent you can.

The more open you are and the more you share your story with the reader, the more enriching the experience becomes and the less it feels like selling.

04. David Heshka Wanbli Weiden, Author of Winter Counts

“I would recommend publishing essays to emerging writers that are marketing their first novel.”

Having echoed on the importance of using author voice and concepts to stand out, David Heshka Wanbli Weiden recommends writing essays and as many outside articles as possible to get the word out there.

He believes his essay, published in the New York Times, was an important source that helped get word about his book out.

05. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, Author of the The Mountains Sing

Crediting her publisher Algonquin Books, Quế Mai stresses on the importance having a publishing team that will believe in your project and fight for the space of your novel. She even recommends foregoing the highest offer for the team that will support you the most.

Being part of the literary community is about championing other voices. Quế Mai says;

“When we have a chance to be published, we should also open the gate for other authors. I love to write about other authors because in that way we can contribute to the diversity of literature.”


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Shafeeka Hafeez

Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.

November 15, 2021

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