Well, I did say this might become a series. So here we are again with me sharing my Best Advice I can offer in response to a recent question about the writing and publishing life that landed in my DMs. The question: What opportunities would you say are available to Caribbean authors to increase exposure. What are the challenges to getting novels carried by bookstores across the Caribbean?
My response (partial):
Increasing exposure is a matter of trial and error in my experience. Re getting books placed anywhere (primarily a responsibility of my publishers though I reach out to book retailers where and when I can with book announcements etc.), the challenge, I believe, is saleability or perceived saleability (not always the same thing) depending on numerous factors. I don’t have a definitive answer to any of this – continuous and creative promotion and engagement across every platform available to me (social media to direct mailings to direct contact to lit fests etc.) has been my approach. If (you have) the resources to hire a PR or ad or promotion agency or consultant, this might help. I have gathered information in my time that I’ve posted which I believe would be of value to other writers. Three of them are linked here.
Image caption: Below, I also talk about seizing opportunities. An anecdote about this picture. Here, I’m doing an interview on the ABS TV morning show (September 5th 2019). An interview I initially turned down because life was pulling at my resources (or lack thereof) and more importantly my spirit and I didn’t think I could muster that morning TV energy. Being upbeat author when I was feeling anything but felt like a lie. But, given that the invite came in response to me sending out the announcement re the second edition of my book #MusicalYouthbook coming out, I managed to talk some sense in to myself before my publisher had to. I did the show, had a good time (didn’t have to fake it), got some attention for the book, all while life-was still life-ing. Given that no one owes me TV time to talk about and read from my book, whatever else is going on life-wise, I’m happy that when it came to this book promotion opportunity, I didn’t stand in my own way and thankful to ABS TV for extending the invitation. p.s. you know how I know I don’t have a style team: that bra strap playing peek-a-boo. Keeping it real.
So that was my quickly fired off response. I will add only research (see what strategies are popping, what has worked for other writers that might be practical for you – a blog tour if you can’t do a literal tour, for instance) and take action, be proactive (including being in discourse with your publisher, making suggestions – fair warning: there might be resistance), be ready and open to opportunities (see image caption), and tell that little voice in your head trying to deter you from drawing attention to yourself to take a seat and shut the bleep up.