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Getting the Word Out: Publicizing a Recently-Published E-book

Journey into e-book self-publishing. Discovering unexpected bonuses in self-promotion -- thanks to friends and strangers alike.

As one generally reluctant to trumpet my achievements, writing the novel seemed easy compared to the task of publicizing its existence But an unexpected bonus of sending out flyers announcing the publication of my e-book to everyone in my address book is the response I’ve had from people whom, due to time or physical distance, I’d almost lost touch with over the years.   

Whether by email, phone or regular mail  they’ve sent words of encouragement. Even if they never get around to reading the book, rekindling old friendships makes the effort all worthwhile. And since I also took advantage of my husband’s address book, I’ve been astounded by his contacts' generosity, who have offered to post links on their Facebook pages, notify their friends and post flyers on various community bulletin boards -– all for someone they barely know.

Until now I’d managed to resist the call to Facebook. But with so many people putting links to the book on their own pages, I decided it was time to take the plunge. So as of last weekend, Mel Parish is now on Facebook -- though I will have to wait until my daughter returns from college this weekend to figure out what I’m doing there!

Am I the only person who can’t work out how to post a picture? Every time I clicked on the desired file, the browser box ignored my input. I started taking it personally (I’ll be the first to admit I’m not particularly photogenic -– as soon as someone points a camera in my direction, my mouth starts twisting in unflattering ways, no doubt a result of years of bad British dentistry). But surely there wasn't a vetting process in the browser!

Fortunately for my self-esteem, I was no more successful when I attempted to upload a picture of my book cover. I think I’m beginning to reach the limits of my tolerance for new computer experiences this year. I just hope I haven’t already used up all of next years', too!

If I needed any more proof of how helpful even relative strangers could be, I got it last week while I was on a regular visit to Cambridge, Ma. Not wanting to miss any opportunities to get the word out about my book, I plucked up the courage to ask the owner of the small hotel that I stay in on these visits whether I could put my flyer up on their notice board. She not only agreed, but asked me whether I knew about the local bookstore that offers an on-demand printing service for paperback books. Needless to say I was there within the hour checking it out.

The Harvard Book Store has an amazing machine called the Paige M. Gutenborg. Right there in the shop, it can produce a "library-quality, perfect-bound, acid-free paperback in roughly four minutes" from a couple of PDF files. If you wish, they will also sell your books in the store and online!

The examples I saw were no different from the normal trade paperback-style. The beauty of this system is that you pay only a minimal set-up fee, which includes a proof copy. Then, you can have the book printed when you need them at a price-per-page fee, which doesn’t cost more than you would want to sell the book for -– a problem encountered with other print-on-demand services. It’s a tempting prospect. Maybe I can satisfy those friends who want the hard copy of my book after all...and even have a physical copy for my own bookshelf.   

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Margaret Wright December 16, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Hi Pam I'm dying to read your book, but I'm a bit of a technophobe and would need a papercopy, I don't mind paying for one. How can I do this? I'm very impressed that you have done this. I wouldn't know where to start. Also if I get a paper copy then Mum can read it too! Margaret Wright, Southampton UK
Mel Parish December 22, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Margaret, I'm hoping to get some paperback books printed by the Harvard Book Store in the New Year. If you send your email address to me at info@melparish.com then I could let you know when the book is available in hard copy.

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