• Grant Handgis

Think Globally ~ Act Locally

Every author wants to be recognized globally. Who wouldn't? If your name is Tony Morris or Ken Follett, Jean Auel or Isabelle Allende your names bring immediate recognition. Well, for those that read said authors. What they have in common is their name recognition in many countries and languages. That, it might be said, is the goal. Well, the dream of any self-published writer. The first step in the process is making it from self-published writer to self-published author. The distinction between the two terms, which have become rather interchangeable in normal conversation, as if it was a subjective decision to use one or the other, is simply this. A writer is one who does just that, writes, and, has presumably completed a book. A self-published writer has taken the further step of getting said book to print ready status. There is more than one way to accomplish that, which was discussed in an earlier article. That same self-published individual may never in their lifetime sell one book. And that would be my definitional distinction between writer/author. A self-published author has sold at least one book to cross the finish line of that distinction. But that’s just me. The message here is not elitism or being "special" or just another 'vanity' press issues. For those writers/authors who have been around long enough to have seen the changes in publishing over the past thirty years know where I'm going with this. The term "Vanity Press" derives more from the publishing industry itself, the critics and reviewers who make or break an author's future, and of course those who tried to become part of the published authors list. Vanity referring to the author's vanity of wanting to have their book in print when it hadn't made it past the gauntlet of review and approval by professionals. Ergo, author vanity in going ahead and printing their own book, like they had any right to do so. Considering the growth of writers who turn to self-publishing, and their seemingly consistent reasons for doing so, the 'vanity' tag only sticks to those that allow it, by tagging themselves with the invective. In my humble view, any author who believes in their work sufficiently to want to see it in print, then hold it in their own hands, deserves the opportunity to showcase their book(s) in whatever form they choose, and be reviewed by their peers, book reviewing blogs and the public at large. As always, it is the reader, buyer of books, who make the ultimate decision whether a book is worthy. The best reviews won't make a bad book a lasting success, nor bad reviews or no review at all won't stop a worthy book from readers hands. History clearly shows this to be true. The successful self-published author is one who believes in the merits of their book, and, is willing to assume the full duties of the publishing industry. Earlier articles explore this topic, describing the process in three basic areas. The third leg of the self-publishing equation dealt with marketing. The article focused on the importance of this task and some of the mechanics involved. The focus here is directed on the marketing task as a whole. Think globally, act locally. The movement that coined this term has nothing to do with publishing. The slogan does. It is up to the self-published author to make this happen. The extended distribution channels of Create Space or any other POD publishing provider gets the author's book to print ready form and listing on distribution channels, which have now gone into the listings on other continents. That's the global tethering of the book. That doesn't mean the book is actually being seen by potential readers. The book is merely available for purchase if and when readers find the book on the database listings. Authors pay to have their book showing up on the landing page of internet outlets such as amazon or Barnes & Noble. That's another article entirely. The second part of the slogan is the local markets available the author to be seen. One tool of a local marketing campaign is the marketing kit. The marketing kit consists of the visual aids showcasing a book, or books, of the author. Such a kit would include an 11x14 or 12x18 poster, table top duplicate of the larger poster, book markers using a matching design, a press release and possibly other accoutrements that can be given out or left at the bookstore for advertising purposes. The marketing kit is but a tool. The use of that tool would be book signings at a local bookstore. The proper order of use would be setting up a book signing at a local bookstore, which is best held on a Saturday, being a day when book stores are usually the busiest. The signing date should be at least two weeks ahead of agreement. Getting the store to allow you to put up your poster showcasing your book(s) two weeks in advance of the book signing date allows customers to purchase the book ahead of time, to bring in for the signing. It obviously helps drive book sales as well. When the book signing date has been set, and hopefully your poster has been displayed, along with a few copies of your book the store has ordered for this occasion, it is time to utilize the press release and notify the local newspapers of the new release of your book, and the upcoming book signing. The idea of course is to get a nice article, with photo of the author published in the community section of that newspaper sometime before the book signing. This alerts a lot of readers to your book and upcoming signing, which is the driving force of local interest in your book. The table top replica of your book poster will be used during the book signing, sitting on the table with at least five copies of the book, along with a stack of the book markers, which are to be handed out with a signed copy of your book. This is where the connection to the reader can be enhanced by listing other books by the author on the book marker. Every time the reader sees your marker, they see other books they will be more inclined to check out, if they are reminded regularly. I have covered the highlights to one aspect of local marketing. This approach is not expensive in the sense of marketing. If the author has a 13x19 format printer, all the above components to the press kit can be done in-house as it were. If a local printer is chosen to print the elements of the press kit and the author is able to design the poster and other printed material at home then have printed, the cost is still a reasonable one, being there is one poster and one table top image to print, and hopefully dozens of book markers (five to an 8 1/2x11 page). The most expensive route is having a printing business do all the work; design and layout then printing. Most such printing companies now charge between $50/hr to $100/hr for the design and layout work. The biggest hurdle for many authors is working their way into the limelight, and the responsibility of that task. Being in the limelight as in newspaper articles, possibly local television program in arts and entertainment showcasing books and of course interacting during book signings. Speaking for myself, it can be somewhat intimidating. I am not one that relishes the spotlight of attention in crowds. However, I abide.


g. Michael Handgis Photography


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