Increasing Your Creativity/Publishing


QUESTION: Hello, my name is Kate and recently (in the last year) I have self-published my novel, Arid Land, and am wondering how to proceed regarding publicity.

First of all I was wondering if I should totally pull myself out of self publishing and go to an actual company. Most problems I have encountered is that my manuscript is a post-apocalypse fantasy novel and many agents don't know what to make of it as they seem more accustomed to futuristic post-apocalypse novels as oppose to one where it is set in a desert, the main character has amnesia and the whole thing is filled with uncanny abilities of magic that a person can possess called 'Powers' (all copyrighted. Not being mean to anyone but I am an untrusting person). Anyway, I think its safe to say that most people are only used to dealing with one of the topics I have listed above as oppose to all three. To make things more complicated I decide to throw in a deeply psychological romance with mentally unbalanced participants, most people would think that it is created to tease and annoy them.

I know that the highest question posed is typically "You're self published though, why not keep rolling with that?" But I have discovered the human race is lazy on one end of the social spectrum. For instance I can't meet every one of my readers (as much as I would love to!) so encouraging them to promote it is a bit of an uphill battle, one in which they mostly don't bother to push my book - some do and there's only so much one person can do - or aren't able to explain it accurately (for the record my target audience is 13+ and I have had readers from that age to 20) so they don't have time to prattle on about a book that can only be bought on Amazon and other sites online. And then the other side of it is people are told and just can't be bothered.

Anyway, I think my dilemma is either obvious or I am explaining this terribly. How do I go about promoting my novel? Or, should I just try to submit to publishers?

Thanks for any help, I know this is an awkward situation but I am sure that I'm not the only one in it. If this whole thing is a matter of patience then I deeply apologise for wasting your time.

There are a number of ways to promote a self-published book. One is to hire a PR firm. However, publicity people want to start planning a campaign before the book comes out,not after, in order to get reviews and preorders.

Another thing I want to mention is that it's not up to your readers to promote your book. That's your job. If readers choose to post a review on Amazon or other book review sites that's great but they should not feel obligated to do so.  Another reason for promoting your book yourself is one you mention, readers often have a hard time explaining a story. You know the story better than anyone and you should know your readers just as well.  

You are writing YA novels and they are one of the best selling genre on the market because they often appeal to teens and adults. To promote your  book you have to go where the readers are. A lot of that can be done on the Internet via chat rooms, blogs, twitter, pinterest, etc.

Do you have an author website and /or a blog? Are you active on social media? Do you review books on any review sites? You say your characters have powers. How can you use those powers to interest readers?  Can you blog about him or her or write a short story that ties in to your book without giving away part of your big story? In order to promote your book you have to be as creative in doing so as you were when writing it.

Now- to the question of self publishing or going with a traditional publisher. For this book it's too late to seek a publisher unless they come to you and they will only do that if the books is selling big (in the several thousands). In their eyes your book is already published and they won't touch it.

I have a question for you. You say agents don't  know what to make of your book because they're more accustomed to something else. How do you know what they think? Also, it's important to understand that agents and publishers of books now expect authors to do a lot of their own promotion so changing how you publish will not solve this problem for you. You still need to do a lot of the work yourself.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, sorry to annoy you again. Anyway, I know that I shouldn't expect my readers to do all this work for me but that has been suggested to me (admittedly on Yahoo Answers) so I figured to ask some people I knew if they would and I know how hard it is to describe a story.

On the matter of knowing what agents think, they have told me. I have been rejected and they have told me that one of my genres escapes their expertise, mostly the fantasy or the relationship with the mentally afflicted love interest, so they can't represent me.

Recently I have posted excerpts and short stories regarding my book online. I have got media interest and interest on Twitter etc. I've had one interview and am wondering if I should enquire for more. My main selling point seems to be that I am a young writer with one of those oh-so-tragic pasts full of bullying, which I don't like as my biggest appeal but am willing to work with it as ai tied it in with one of my characters. I'm also in the process of making a book trailer (risky I know, but I may as well put my book wherever I can) and I've got into book shops but I do think it is a matter of people talking about it for me, which is out of my control.

Thank you for the help and sorry for wasting so much of your time. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Regarding agents rejections: If they are saying anything to you about your writing, and not just sending you standard "not for me" responses, that is a very good thing. Pay attention to their comments and find a way to fix the problem. Agents and publishers want to work with new writers who are willing to do the hard work that goes into get a book ready to go to market.

There are many publishers, including small presses, that want fantasy and there is probably more than one who would like the story line that includes a mentally afflicted love interest if the characters and relationships are rich and compelling. Consider bypassing having an agent and going directly to small publishers with your next book.  

Another thing to remember is that becoming a successful writer takes time and often a writer does not become known until he or she has written more than one book.  Writers write because it's part of who they are. Continue to write and build a relationship with your readers, no matter how many there are, and your talent will continue to grow and your fans will increase.

Sadly, self published books, even excellent ones, are harder to get into the hands of readers. Many large book stores, libraries, schools, reviewers, etc. won't take them making it hard for potential readers to find them.  There are organizations to help authors of self published books get the word out. Search them out and join. You will find readers willing to review your books there.  

Increasing Your Creativity

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Bobbi Carducci


All aspects of creative writing including but not limited to: How to get started, creating vivid characters, establishing voice and point of view, setting a scene, writing exercises. How to publish, where to submit, how to write a query letter and what to do when submission is accepted and how to proceed when you receive a rejection. General question on the business of writing including the ever important topic of blatant self promotion.


President of boutique publishing company, Community Voice Media, (published two books of short stories written by kids in grades K-12)Senior Staff Writer for Washington,DC area newspaper. Columnist and book reviewer About Families magazine, award winning short story writer,Executive Director Young Voices Foundation -Mentoring Young Writers, writing coach and conference speaker.

Pennwriters (Board of Directors) Young Voices Foundation, Executive Director

Purcellville Gazette Newspaper, About Families Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort Anthologies, True Story Magazine, Freedom Chronicles, Byline Magazine, and more

High School - Many years of writing classes and workshops. Instructor after school enrichment program Round Hill Elementary School, Round Hill, VA

Awards and Honors
Named Outstanding Woman of Loudoun County, VA 2006

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