Every author dreams of landing on the New York Times bestseller list. I do and if you’re smart, you do, too. Why does it matter? Landing on the New York Times bestseller list means you have ARRIVED. Not that your work is finished by any means, but at least getting on the list of all lists means that there’s someone in the literary field who is confident your book will become well-known. It doesn’t mean that you have sold more books than anybody else; it simply means that the public agrees with you that you have one of the best books ever written for a certain time frame. If your book stays on the list for longer than a week, you can be assured that you have not only become a literary star, but your sales figures have quadrupled. And isn’t that why we slave away day and night writing and revising and submitting and waiting for the coveted acceptance letter?

What I am about to propose to you is a strategy that works. You can become your own PR consultant without spending mega-bucks to get the job done. All it takes is a little common knowledge of what it takes to become a best-selling author.

Many things have to be accomplished before your book sales rise dramatically and it is only then will you see a significant increase in sales. First of all, you have to be dedicated and believe in your book, and what author doesn’t? However, you must go that extra step to prove your book’s salability and the first thing to keep in mind is acknowledging the fact that not only are you trying to sell your book, you are selling “you,” too. By this, I mean that you are the one that is responsible for your book’s success. Taking the right steps towards making your book a viable selling tool greatly increases your chance at success.

To become a successful PR person, one very important thing must be acknowledged: the number one place that sells more books than any bookstore in the country is Amazon.com.

I had a talk with a well-known publicist a few weeks ago. She was pitching her company to me in the hopes that I would hire her to take on my PR work. The prospects of getting my name out there via radio, television and print media sounded downright enticing until she came to the point where her fee was discussed, which made my pocketbook scream for mercy. I declined her offer, figuring I could do everything she was doing thanks to the Internet. But, one thing stood out in my mind that she told me before we ended the call. She said that Amazon.com was the number one spot that people buy books.

I couldn’t agree with her more. After all, that’s where I bought the majority of my books, also.

But having your book up at Amazon isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have a website with links directed to it.

An author website is your number one selling tool. The majority of those who buy books at Amazon.com won’t even know your book is up there unless you have a website announcing it. Sure, the search engines will pick it up at Amazon.com, but why not ensure your book’s success with a website with all the important information, too?

Once you have a working author website with links to Amazon.com and other places to promote yourself and your book, the second thing to keep in mind in becoming your own PR consultant is how you are going to present yourself to the media. That’s where learning how to write a captivating press release comes in. If you’ve never written a press release before, you can view how others have written theirs at such places as PR Web (http://www.prweb.com). Once you have learned what makes a great press release, there are other places you can submit your release to:

* Free-Press-Release.com (http://www.free-press-release.com/submit/)

* Paashan News Service (www.paashannewsservice.com/submit.shtml)

* Click2newsites.com (http://www.click2newsites.com/press.asp) 

The next step in becoming your own PR consultant is learning how to have an extensive web presence. You can buy ads in magazines or you can do what I have done and write free articles and plaster them all over the Internet. Many promotion-savvy authors have done this and you can, too. Write up articles related to your book and self-syndicate them to websites looking for material. Be sure you keep your rights and make sure that the publication accepts material that has already been published and you’re good to go! This is called free advertisement. There are many places that accept free articles. I have found that this is a great way to sell your books because along with those free articles, you send your bio that includes your website url, which tells potential customers where to buy your books.

A few places to submit your free articles are:

* Success-Talk.com (www.success-talk.com)

* All Freelance Work.com (www.allfreelancework.com)

* Family-Content.com (www.family-content.com)

Becoming your own PR consultant takes a lot of work, but once you learn how to use the search engines to find what you want, everything falls into place. Don’t spend mega-bucks on large publicity firms when you can do this all yourself. With the money you save, you can invest in other things, like building a media kit that will have publications begging you for interviews and media placements. The bottom line is that with the right amount of dedication, you not only can turn your book into a best seller, but you will turn your name into a household name, too!


Dorothy Thompson is the editor-in-chief of The Writer’s Life. You can visit her author site at http://www.dorothythompson.net.