How self-published author Don Levers landed major media interviews and got his book into 25 bookstores
By Don Levers
I have told people since publishing my book in August of 2017 that finishing and publishing it is only the beginning for an indie author. Arranging book signings, retailer consignments and getting as much free publicity as possible can become a full-time job.
Using a media list supplied by Tellwell Publishing, I contacted media outlets prior to launching the book. The big newspapers no longer have space to do book reviews. I arranged interviews with small community papers in areas where I would be doing book signings. You can see copies of all the articles and interviews I have done on my website. The thing is you need a hook. What makes your book different than the tens of thousands of books on the bookshelves of any major bookstore?
My persistence in contacting various media outlets paid off. I managed to get short interviews with major radio stations including the CBC. I have had a number of articles in local newspapers talking about the book and the story that inspired it. I was even able to get a live television interview prior to doing a signing in Kamloops.
My goal was to try to get an on-air or newspaper interview to coincide with a book signing. One thing I learned is that radio stations are not usually interested in doing interviews on fiction books.
I contacted managers at the locations where I hoped to do book signings with the hope of leaving books on consignment when I left. This, again, takes time and persistence. I arranged for book signings at over a dozen book stores when I first launched the book. In a number of cases, I left a free book with the store for the staff to read with the hopes of getting them to recommend it. The sheer volume of free books they get weekly make this a challenge. However, if you can get the customer experience manager to take an interest in your book – good things will happen.
Chapters/Indigo have been very accommodating for these events. Most took my books on consignment. Indigo is slowly changing their policy to include consignment books into the mainstream by placing the indie books in their proper genre, rather than relegating them to an obscure section called “consignment.” At one point, my book was on consignment at over 25 locations including several independent bookstores.
A word of caution about consignment – unless you arrange to pick up the books when they no longer want them, they will likely destroy them. It is too expensive for the store to ship the books back to you.
After contacting the Vancouver Public Library about doing readings at various locations, I had one of my proudest achievements. The Vancouver Public Library featured me in their annual report. This happened because I reached out to them. They did not just come knocking on my door.
After reaching out to another library system, the Northern Lights library board in Alberta contacted me to do a tour of 20 libraries. Over a two-week period, I drove over 3,000 kilometers speaking at schools and libraries, not only about the book but a lot about what it takes to be a self-published author or authorpreneur.
The common theme in my talks is the same as in this article – writing the book is the easy part. The real work begins once the book is published.