Writers, we can’t put a price on the press (or maybe we can)

There are plenty of costs for the independent author.

Like cover art.

And editing.

There’s inventory.

And did I mention marketing and advertising expenses?

The price can range from the hundreds to the thousands, depending on who we hire and how much we’re willing to invest. But there’s one priceless tool money can’t buy.

Being featured in the press.

I’m not talking about $425 Kirkus reviews (because those certainly aren’t priceless). I’m talking about articles in the newspaper, interviews on the radio, Podcast chats, etc.

The job that pays my bills is working as the evening news editor at a rural Illinois newspaper. I’ve always loved and valued newspapers, but even I didn’t recognize their full impact until I became an independent author.

I’ve paid small amounts to advertise here and there. (Pro tip: The Goodwill Librarian page on Facebook accepts advertisements for as low as $10, and it reaches an audience of 313,000+ followers. Check out goodwilllibrarian.webs.com for details.)

But every time I have a surge in a book sales, it’s been after my book or I was featured in the local paper. My newspaper ran a Q&A with me when Sarah & Katy and the Imagination Blankets was first released. That resulted in the first surge of sales. Then the paper published a press release about my first book signing. The event was a huge success.

When I attended a more recent book signing this summer that had no prior press coverage, I sold only one book.

If you’re an independent author, it’s worth asking visitors to book signings and events, “How did you learn about my book? Where did you hear about this event?” More often than not, news media will be a leading answer.

There’s no guarantee the press will cover a book release or event, but when it does, the value is immense. We can’t put a price on that kind of book promotion.

Then again, maybe we can … the value is measured in book sales.

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