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cdcederman

Cadet
Joined
Apr 11, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Buffalo, NY
Good Morning Everyone,
So I've finally made the leap and began writing a book, historical fiction based at Gettysburg, that I intended to begin almost 10 years ago. I have never been published before, aside from in a scholarly magazine with my graduate thesis, but am trying to figure out what the next step would be once I've at least got a first draft of the book completed. Are there ways to reach out directly to publishers or do I need an agent to do that? If so, how do I go about finding an agent? Thank you in advance for any assistance you might offer, I'm virtually in the dark on the entire publishing topic.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
363
Location
Nashville, TN
I completely skipped the whole agent/publisher route and self-published through Amazon KDP. Through Amazon, I got a global audience and have sold books in several countries both print and digital versions. I've even been able to purchase author's copies for doing book signings, stocking local bookstores, and direct sales. The setback is I've had to do all my own marketing. I don't get the benefit of a big publisher pushing my books or distributing them to big brick-and-mortar chains.
 

cdcederman

Cadet
Joined
Apr 11, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Buffalo, NY
I completely skipped the whole agent/publisher route and self-published through Amazon KDP. Through Amazon, I got a global audience and have sold books in several countries both print and digital versions. I've even been able to purchase author's copies for doing book signings, stocking local bookstores, and direct sales. The setback is I've had to do all my own marketing. I don't get the benefit of a big publisher pushing my books or distributing them to big brick-and-mortar chains.
Thank you for the response Cody! How exactly does one advertise and do marketing for a book like that though with no real experience in either?
 

LSBusch

Private
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
83
Location
Reno, Nevada
Consider joining the Historical Novel Society (https://historicalnovelsociety.org/, $50 a year) and/or following them on Facebook. They have a manuscript group there that can answer questions and give advice on the publishing process. (You might not need to be a paid members to follow these on Facebook.) They also have lots of (free) helpful information on their website.

Frankly, the first step once you have a draft completed (assuming you've gone back through it yourself at least once) would be to have it edited. You need to do that before you submit it to a publisher or agent. That can be expensive, but you might get lucky and get a break through networking in groups such as the ones I mentioned above. If you are self-publishing, you also need to have a cover designed. (There's a recent thread on this here.)

I have practically no marketing experience, but you would need to have and post on several social media accounts, buy ads online (starting with Facebook), and sign up with Civil War Talk's book promotion program! There probably are marketing opportunities directly related to Gettysburg, too (museum gift shops, etc.).

Good luck!
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
363
Location
Nashville, TN
Thank you for the response Cody! How exactly does one advertise and do marketing for a book like that though with no real experience in either?
I do a lot of organic marketing myself. I belong to a lot of facebook pages and groups where I drop my own ads or bring up my book in conversations. I also have built my own following on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I pretty much accept everyone as a friend. I don't have an "author's page." As soon as you do that Facebook thinks of you as a business and wants you to pay money for the organic reach you'd naturally get for free by just using your own profile. I reached out to several local groups, museums, and bookstores to get them to host me for a book signing or to stock my books. I'm also an old-time fiddler. I play a lot of Civil War-era fiddle tunes. I bring my books with me every time I play to sell them.

I'd be cautious of anyone taking your money for marketing help. I'm sure the lady above me here is legit, but there's a whole industry of money-sucking vultures out there that prey on new authors with promises of marketing help. I had to shoo quite a few away when I first started publishing. If you do have money to spend: Amazon, Facebook, and Google have pretty good and easy to understand ads that you can buy and customize to the audience you want to reach.

Here are some of the homemade ads I've made and passed around on social media for free.

I also got on a few radio shows like this one:
I got invited onto two radio shows just from my own social media promotion. In the end, marketing is just another creative process. The more you do it, the more you'll come up with ideas and meet people who will help you. This site here is also a good resource. Talk to them about becoming part of the Book Launch Club.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
289
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
i haven’t written a book yet, but I want to do this.

I joined a networking group for writers and wanna-be writers. We meet several times a year at a library meeting room for presentations about topics in writing and publishing. Most of the officers are published writers. I was told that people volunteer to be officers and committee members for the networking opportunities. For instance, if our group brings an agent to speak to the group, and you volunteer to drive the agent back to the airport, then you have extra time to speak personally to the agent.

I also attend book launch parties and author visits at Pittsburgh-area bookstores. I do this at both Barnes and Noble inside the city limits, as well as independent bookstores that bring in a lot of authors. I pick authors who are promoting the genres that interest me the most. The authors at these things usually speak about their books, their writing processes, and also about their publishing experiences.

Sometimes, the authors share some of their positive and negative experiences with agents and publishers. They don’t name names, but they name some red flags.
 

LSBusch

Private
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
83
Location
Reno, Nevada
I'd be cautious of anyone taking your money for marketing help. I'm sure the lady above me here is legit, but there's a whole industry of money-sucking vultures out there that prey on new authors with promises of marketing help.
I was making suggestions, not offering services. That should have been clear when I began by saying I have little experience in marketing. It does not come naturally to me at all, but I've been trying to learn about it because my own book is ready to publish. A publisher is evaluating it at the moment, and if it is rejected I plan to self-publish.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
363
Location
Nashville, TN
I was making suggestions, not offering services. That should have been clear when I began by saying I have little experience in marketing. It does not come naturally to me at all, but I've been trying to learn about it because my own book is ready to publish. A publisher is evaluating it at the moment, and if it is rejected I plan to self-publish.
I wish you the best of luck. If you do go the self-publishing route I'd be happy to offer any help I can.
 

Shadow9216

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 20, 2012
Messages
1,666
Location
Pacific Northwest
I used Draft-2-Digital for my books, they distribute to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and a bunch of others I've never heard of. I opted not to use KDP as I didn't want to limit myself to one outlet, but I did make a paperback Print-on-Demand version. Marketing...yeah, that's a problem, but I figure I'm not in a hurry, there's time for word of mouth to spread- assuming they're any good 😀
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
23
Location
Dedham, MA
If you use Amazon KDP they state that they sell to bookstores. In fact, very often bookstores see Amazon as a threat and they most often seem to buy from the Ingram catalog. Ingram has a self publishing software capability similar to KDP at Ingramspark.com.
This is important if you plan to sell through bookstores. If you publish through both, I believe you'll need separate ISBN numbers for each of them (free with KDP and some cost thru Ingramspark).
In both cases the self publishing software is not overly complicated, and many of the layout tasks that formerly required outside help are taken care of. You won't need an agent. Getting an agent or getting a publisher to talk to you can be time consuming and difficult unless you already have a name and reputation. Self publishing does require self promotion if you hope to sell more than a handful of copies to friends and those highly interested in your topic. Good luck, and if any of this has changed, please let me know.
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
2,163
Location
Jupiter, FL
I completely skipped the whole agent/publisher route and self-published through Amazon KDP.
I think there's a good general question here: when to self-publish vs when to go through a publisher?

Part of the answer seems to be how much the author wants to retain rights to and control of their work.

My impression (which I welcome others to contradict with personal experience or other better knowledge) is that fiction authors are probably better off self-publishing until they win awards or otherwise can more effectively sell themselves to a publisher. (It also probably depends on the genre; Civil War alternate history is probably not usually a hot item.) On the other hand, nonfiction writers usually seem better off trying to find a specialty press (like Savas Beatie) because being published by a reputable press matters more for nonfiction, both as an endorsement of the research quality but also so photos and maps turn out better. The exception to the latter might be coffee table or other oversize books, due to printing costs.
 
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