David GaughranAfter reading my review of David Gaughran’s self-help guide to visibility-raising for self-publishers, Let’s Get Visible: How to Get Noticed and Sell More Books, Gaughran himself got in touch with me and outlined some of his views on traditional media exposure and self-publishing. As I noted in the review, traditional publicity venues didn’t feature much in his book, and Gaughran explained to me why. With his permission, I’m reproducing his remarks, which may help other self-published authors still further with their marketing choices.

“Right now … there are very, very few paths to success outside Amazon, and I felt the book had to reflect that, or it would have been promising something I couldn’t deliver.”

“I deliberately left out the topic of traditional exposure. I’ve talked about this a number of times on my blog, as I believe that it does a terrible job of selling digital products. And if an author doesn’t have nationwide print distribution, is well stocked in most bookstores across the country, and preferably on those front tables—I don’t believe traditional media exposure really sells print books either.”

“I’ve been featured in huge media venues on quite a few occasions. And while that’s always nice, it only ever has a very minor effect on sales. (This isn’t just my experience; I’ve heard the same thing from every self-publisher I’ve spoken too.) An appearance in a weekend newspaper in the UK is worth about five percent to 10 percent the sales of appearing on a reader site like Pixel of Ink, for comparison. Plus the route to getting that exposure either lies through a long, slow process of platform-building, or hiring an expensive publicist. This book tried to focus on strategies that were effective, would give a positive return on investment, and wouldn’t eat up too much time.”

 David Gaughran blogs regularly on self-publishing and related issues here. (I recommend skipping past the first few paragraphs on Let’s Get Visible to the insightful thanks and acknowledgements below.) You can also read some of his remarks on the state of modern publishing and the opportunities for authors in this interview on Lateral Action.