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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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Im sure the same as and promotion!
Hi, Lucien.
There are many good marketing and promoting ideas in this Forum from fellow authors. You may want to look through the entire Forum to see if any ideas resonate with you.

It's been my experience that distribution for your book must be in place before marketing and promotion begins. Without good distribution, most of your marketing is wasted.

How are you distributing your book? Who is your target audience? The answers to these two questions will determine, in large part, the most cost-effective ways to market and promote your book.
My biggest challenge? Getting past my shyness. I'm a researcher by nature... I'm happy locked in a room, not seeing another soul for hours (or days). Having to get out there, which I've been doing, has been the most difficult part of having a book out there. Now I have a second one out there and I've got people talking about TV and radio for this one... I'm thinking of hiring a body double.
Hi Gina,

I find the best way to confront fear, is facing it. When I went on a radio show, I thought I'd pass out just seeing the mike. I knew it was live and there couldn't be a mistake, although, we're not perfect.
Book signing is easier for me if I stay out of my chair. I feel like I look desperate. I actually walk up to the person with a smile, introduce myself and ask if they would like to hear what my book is about. Pass out excerpts to the buyers who can't stay so they can take it home to read; include your email, website, price of the book and where they can purchase it on the paper. That can sell your book.

If you can present something about the book up front, it might help. An example, I went to Bosnia for a pilgrimage so I printed a map out to show people where I went out of the country. It starts the conversation. Talk about what "they" will get out of reading your book, more than trying to sell it.

Instead of thinking of it as a selling process, think of it as making friends and meeting people. If you don't have a good day with sales, you will have left a mark on the reader. They will remember how friendly you were to them.

Remember something, Gina, only you know you're shy. If no one else does, fake it. The more you get out in public, the more comfortable you will become.

I've been asked to speak on February 7th at a Catholic organization that meets four times a year at the Providence Marriott Hotel, In Providence, RI. I will be speaking in front of 200 women and a priest for 45 minutes on my spiritual renewal. I'm scared to death. But I can't let an opportunity like this slip by because it could open other doors for me. They are letting me book sign, sell my writer's workshop binders and they are taping my speech to sell that day and at all their meetings that are all over the world. I get one free and I can make some to sell at book signings and on my website, which is

What is your book(s) about? "Maybe" I can give you some ideas. Move ahead no matter how scared you are. You never know if these small steps sell your book in the future by being known instead of pushing it.
Hi Alberta,

I have two books out at the moment... two very different ones. One, Utamaro Revealed, is a serious Japanese art history book. The other, The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy, is satirical fiction inspired by my experiences of living with 'nuisance' neighbours.

I have an illustrated talk coming up (about Utamaro Revealed), and I'll be talking for two hours. According to my husband, I have no problem doing this at home. Speaking in public is another matter though. I am worried I'll freeze up, lose my cue cards, fall over, or blow up the laptop while I'm showing my slides. The venue is very friendly (a specialist museum), the staff are lovely, and I have no reason to believe those attending will be ferocious art historian-eating beasts... and yet I am still slightly petrified.

You're right... I know I'm shy but nobody else does. I really have to work on the 'fake' me.

HI, Gina.
If you are anxious about media appearances and promoting your book, perhaps you can partner with another person who can promote the book for you leaving you to focus on what you prefer to do: research and write.
Hi Gina & Alberta,
A resource you both might find helpful is The Shy Writer by C Hope Clark over at She addresses how to be you while doing some of the things writers need to do besides writing if they wish to sell/promote.

I believe a key is finding outlets you're comfortable with first, then working up to the "scarier" stuff.

Best wishes to both of you,

Cheryl Pickett
Hi Gina,

I never thought that I would be speaking in front of large groups of people either. I attended an author's presentation at my sons school not long after my first book was published. After the presentation one of the teachers said, "Just think, before long you will be giving presentations like that." I said, "There is no way I can speak in front of all of those people!" Her advice was to start small by visiting classrooms; then work my way up to bigger groups. I took her advice, and now I have done a lot of school presentations. The funny thing is that school presentations are my favorite part of my job. I love to write, but nothing beats all those excited children! It is really rewarding!

I will even be doing a presentation for teachers and administrators soon. I am a little nervous because I am used to an audience of children ages five to ten, but it's exciting that they are interested in my books. Teachers are one of my target audiences.

So I think Cheryl gave you some good advice. Start small and build yourself up. You have an advantage because you are speaking about something you are familiar with. You
may be surprised, like I was, and discover that you like public speaking. Keep a positive attitude and good luck!

Dana Lehman
Hi Cheryl,

I think I've started back-to-front. Kicking off with a two-hour talk in a museum was perhaps a little ambitious. It sounded so easy... and so far off... when it was booked. Now I have a couple of weeks to go and it's a different story.

My biggest challenge is to stop writing any more books! Just market online what I have-11 of them and many reports, transcripts and teleseminars.

Judy Cullins
Currently my challenge is finding good quality (free) historical photos. Any recommendations (other than the Library of Congress photos)



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