Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Overcoming your inner introvert

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Kent Allan Rees, the self-published author of Princess Molly and the Golden Tree (, sent us the following query:

"I have written and self-published my first book. If you could suggest three things to help gain the most exposure, what would they be?"

Here was our paltry and probably unsatisfactory response:

"Great question, and one we struggled with for a very long time. It's also a question most people within the publishing industry can't answer. They employ a very traditional model and seem committed to very traditional steps when it comes to marketing and getting their authors noticed.

This may sound silly, but we recommend being as bold as possible. If you love your book and believe in it, then go and pester people. That's not easy by any means. For the most part, authors are authors because they like sitting alone in their rooms or offices, creating worlds of their own design. But, to get yourself noticed, you need to push yourself to be extroverted and pushy.

Here are three things that have worked for us. They may not work for everyone, as every book is different, but....

1) Go ahead, throw a launch party and invite everyone. The party itself doesn't need to be big in scale, but invite everyone you know and press those people to invite everyone they know. Social networking sites are great in this respect. If you're on myspace or Facebook, invite the world to the event.

2) Pester the hell out of media people and key mavens in the literary establishment. Make sure your book ends up in the right hands. Give away a free copy or 5 to the type of people you want talking about your book. Don't wait for them to ask. Just give it to them.

3) Go in and talk to the owners of small bookstores. Indigo floor managers may not respond to you, because they don't end up making too many decisions on their own, but go in and talk to the owners and managers of the locals. Talk up your book. Tell them why it's great. Mention that you're local. Let them know what a fight it was to self-publish. Hell, give 'em a free copy and plead with them to read it. If you can get those guys on your side, then you're golden. Sign a whack of books for them too.

This may all sound either very conventional or very scary, depending on who you are. For us, they were quite scary, but they paid off."

This is just our opinion. Different authors will no doubt have different approaches. Let us know what you think?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Alexander Herman, Paul Matthews and Andrew Feindel

Alexander Herman, Paul Matthews and Andrew Feindel are the authors of Kickstart: How Successful Canadians Got Started (Dundurn Press, 2008). Kickstart profiles over 30 prominent Canadians who explain how they started their careers.

Go to Alexander Herman, Paul Matthews and Andrew Feindel ’s Author Page