I went to a discussion on Monday on the pros and cons of self publishing, sponsored by the Valley Writers Chapter of Virginia Writers Club. Four members all had self-published, with varying degrees of success. The general consensus was that self-publishing works if you have something of local interest (Sally Roseavere's novel is set at Smith Mountain Lake), is non-fiction (memoir by Rodney Franklin and history by Jim Morrison) or humor (Becky Mushko). No one is getting rich slowly this way, but their words are being read.
One prevailing theme was how involved a writer has to be in marketing his/her book. (To avoid this awkward construction, I will use "her" as the collective noun.) Hand selling at readings, out of the trunk of a car, or through local book stores and gift shops moves a few books. Not enough to garner interest from an agent, however.
I didn't hear anyone talk about alternative publishing and alternative marketing. I would love comments about these topics:
I have nearly 4000 personal contacts on one of the social networks. When I posted a note that I was reading a particular book on marketing, my friend noticed a definite blip in sales.
How else can we market our books? What are your experiences?