So I waded through your questions about book publicity and marketing (most of them excellent questions, by the way) and have pulled out a couple of short ones to answer this evening, as it's late and I just got home from work and there's a tuna sandwich waiting for me (if Stinkyboy doesn't get there first).
Q: I am hoping to self-publish my first book. How do I go about spreading word about my book to review critics and convince them to review my book? I can't find info about this anywhere on the internet.Okay, that's all for this evening. More tomorrow! And please feel free to keep sending in questions.
A: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!
No, seriously? No book reviewer is going to review a self-published book. They just don't have the time or space. Something that may be helpful to know is that many book reviewers and producers develop the same kind of professional relationship with a book publicist that an agent and editor develop with one another, a professional relationship based on mutual trust and years of solid book recommendations. A really good publicist knows how to match a book with a producer or reviewer based on that book reviewer's or producer's interests and taste. A newspaper book critic (if there are any left) who may have only one column a month in which to fit four science fiction or fantasy titles is not going to waste those precious column inches on a self-published book from an unknown author. Even if you hire a freelance publicist to do a big mailing, your book is gonna end up in the recycling bin. Don't waste your postage.
Now, local media may be another matter entirely. Occasionally a local celebrity or public figure will write a book geared toward a specific local interest. In that case, the author may garner some interest from local media if s/he's willing to do a lot of legwork, follow-up phone calls, and self-pimping. And sometimes a self-published book has a very specialized built-in audience. An example of this might be a book on the history of dressage that is sold only at horse shows. These kind of self-published books can do very well if the author is willing to so his or her own sales.
But book reviews? Not gonna happen. Sorry!
Q: Okay hopefully this is not too out there. I get a lot of inspiration from music and find myself compiling a playlist for each project. (They come in really handy when the muse takes a powder.) I've often wondered if it would be possible to incorporate something like this into marketing a book, or if it would just be a big hairy mess of copyright issues.
A: Actually, there are authors who've included lists of songs in the backs of their books. There are no copyright issues for merely listing a song title. Problems arise when you want to use the actual song recording or lyrics from the song; bad idea unless the song is public domain. You'll always need to secure permissions for using song lyrics in a book - and guess what? That's the author's responsibility, not the publisher's.
Occasionally authors have proposed including a CD of their favorite songs with the book packaging. If you'd like to to stay on the good side of your editor, DON'T SUGGEST THIS! This is right up there with "Do you think you can get me on Oprah?" and "When will I hit the New York Times bestseller list?" on the list of Big Enormous Kick-Me-I'm-So-Stupid Author Questions.
If you really want to be creative with music, do what New York Times bestselling YA author Frank Beddor did with his series The Looking Glass Wars (a funtastic re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland - well worth reading!). Frank (who was also the producer of There's Something About Mary, by the way) hired a local Los Angeles band to create and record original music as a soundtrack to his novel. He then made the music available as a free download at the book's website. All of this was the author's idea, and done at the author's expense, but his publisher made excellent use of Frank's innovative marketing ideas when they promoted the book.