How to Publish and Promote Your Own Book

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Is there a book inside of you waiting to be born? In today’s digital age, it’s easier and more economical than ever for authors to get published, or to publish and promote their book on their own.

“There are not many of us who have never thought of writing a book,” said award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson, whose books and Web site, How To Do It Frugally, assist authors in promoting and publishing their own books the Frugal Way. She says the decision to self-publish or go with a major publisher depends on the goals of the author.

“If publishing by a big publisher is a dream, then that’s what you should go for,” said Howard-Johnson, who says it’s important to consider the type of book you are going to publish. “If it’s inspirational or for the business world, then very likely you’d be better off doing a non-fiction book on your own, self publishing.” Howard-Johnson says the cost of publishing a book today varies greatly, starting at as little as $500 on a digital press (POD or “print on demand” press). At the other end of the spectrum, she says, publishing on an (traditional) off-set press with nice cover art and fancy formatting could easily cost as much as $10,000 to $15,000.

If you have a book and want to promote it the frugal way, Howard-Johnson suggests keeping an eye on the things you are paying for and balance that against the audience you’re reaching. A well-written media or press release sent to the right group of journalists can help you reach a larger audience, and it is much less expensive than purchasing advertising.

“And advertising is less credible than publicity,” offers Howard-Johnson, because readers are aware that an ad has been paid for and editorial material offers more news value. To get this publicity, Howard-Johnson suggests putting together a list of journalists, producers, and broadcasters who cover stories in your area of expertise, and send them a media release relating to news or a show/story topic in your area of expertise.

“Reach out to editors, producers, radio hosts and anybody who will tell your targeted audience about you and your book or business. Get them interested so they will want to do your work for you.”

Journalists are often on deadline, so it’s best to contact them via fax or email instead of calling them on the phone. A well-written, one-page (okay, two pages MAX) media release outlining a newsworthy topic and your book or area of expertise could get their attention and lead to an interview.

Build your own list of media, radio, and other journalists who cover stories on the same subject as your book. You probably wouldn’t want to pitch a story on spirituality to a reporter who covers automotive news, so be sure your media list is appropriate.

Tune-in to my podcast with Carolyn Howard-Johnson at


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