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9-6 What About Distribution and Publicists?

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Distribution has always been one of the major reasons for not self-publishing your book. So what can you do to help turn that around?

Diane Diekman, author of two books she self-published, A Farm in the Hidewood; My South Dakota Home (ISBN 0-9708201-0-0) and Navy Greenshirt: A Leader Made, Not Born (ISBM 0-9708201-1-9), says boxes of them remain because she had no distribution system. However, since the University of Illinois Press, which has worldwide distribution, published her third book, "Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story (ISBN is 978-0-252-03248-6.)

U of I Press sent 17,000 catalogs around the world, made numerous contacts for reviews, and a blurb in the Faron Young book jacket promotes her earlier books. And now, Diane makes good use of her website,, where links publicize her first two books, plus Faron Young, Marty Robbins (Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins, her book in progress) and a link to her Newsletter and Blog.

Still, Diane said that hiring a publicist would have been helpful. A publicist would have set up book tours and radio interviews and other events for her. Many publishers do not set up events, or pay for them. And if you self-publish a publicist may be able to help. You must also ensure that bookstores will allow you to bring in your book if you are able to schedule a book signing, and be sure that sufficient copies are at the event.

Developing your platform is extremely important. Speak at every opportunity. Network with professional writers. Start a newsletter as soon as you finish writing your book. Be creative and grow your subscriber list. Network with other newsletter-owners and ask them to offer reprints of yours to their distribution list, if possible.

Diane started a weekly Faron Young email newsletter more than two years before publication of her book, after she'd finished writing her manuscript. By the time her book was on book shelves, her subscriber list had grown from 40 to almost 400, and another newsletter with a 20,000-person distribution reprints hers.

Distribution and platforms are critical, however not every professional agrees on the importance of platforms. Begin by reading the following post,, at Michael Hyatt's website. Then scroll to the bottom of the post and check out the articles linked there:
Then, you should know enough to begin your strategy for success.

Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Next: 9-7 What an Agent Expects to See:

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