Last week, I followed a lead on an interesting website for locating midlist books: Small Press Distributors. After exploring the site, I have to say that I was impressed. Small Press Distributors in a non-profit in Berkeley, California that serves the literary community by emphasizing book releases by smaller profits- a noble cause.
I had fun sleuthing around the website. The website categorizes smaller press books by company and literary genre (fiction, non-fiction, poetry). The site also has a healthy “self-published” section, which I have never before had come across and was excited to see. The site also posts that 3 of its promoted books are short listed for the National Book Award. Impressive indeed.
Pleased as I was with SPD’s website, it made me wonder how else can/do smaller presses get their name out there and its books on peoples’ shelves or in their e-readers? The mystery did not last long. I came across a Twitter article that gives a few ideas in regards to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pintrest, and YouTube as marketing channels for books. Another article lists 15 ways publishers can engage with the audience of readers more deeply and imparts the inspiring message: Not all books can be bestsellers, but all books can be good sellers.
Another interesting angle was that authors can have an online presence and relationship with their readers through social media and blog updates, and I believe this would be a highly effective method. The major negative I’ve heard with this route is that authors that put time into self-marketing lose out on time that they could actually spend writing.
Though I agree that most people cannot be doing two things at once, it is possible that such self-marketing may culminate in feelings that lead to motivating the writer and the writing process, rather than only detract from it. An author that engages regularly with a fan base may discover the motivation necessary to continue on. While not every author may be a best-selling author, having the support of his/her readers will no doubt support and sustain them. With social media becoming more ingrained in typical communication, new authors may already be comfortable with social media and able to use this medium to his/her professional advantage as personal brands become more typical. I think that social media is a huge asset to smaller publishers and mid-list authors alike.