Guest Post: Turn Up the Lights by Jean Naggar – Part 1

April 16, 2012

While the publishing industry has been going through a confusing sea change, and ways for a writer to get published are multiplying like weeds, some things never change. The first step toward selling and marketing a book is probably trying to find a good literary agent. If you have faith in your book, that is still the smartest thing to do. Not only does a reputable agent have the know-how and the contacts to make a good deal, but having someone in your corner when everything around you is in flux is beyond priceless.

Not everyone comes to publishing as a seasoned national celebrity. The buzzword bandied about in publishing circles is “platform,” although once upon a time, building up an author’s visibility was a job undertaken by the publisher of a book. Now it is up to authors to find ways to enhance and promote their work. Now, the internet reaches out into the cosmos, providing both a challenge and an opportunity. Many writers today are more savvy than their publishers as to what to do, and how to do it. While I started out seriously technophobic, I acknowledged reality. Swept along by my desire to see my book reach as many readers as possible, I pushed myself well past my comfort zone.

I consider that the best investment a self-published author can make is to invest in a professional designer for a beautiful jacket and interior design. Bookmarks are an inexpensive way to brand the book jacket and should offer links to a website where the book can be purchased. Readers on buses or trains are often delighted to receive a bookmark,  asking eagerly, “are you the author?” and every small effort builds steadily  toward increasing visibility and recognition.

Social networking is all about access and personal communication. First order of business: optimizing social networking; setting up a Facebook page; building up a crescendo of followers on Twitter; posting reviews and recommendations about other peoples’ books wherever possible; entering posted discussions, commenting on the comments of others; offering access to reading groups to chat by phone, email, or in person; offering access through professional newsletters, blogs or websites, or sending email blasts to relatives and friends. At events where I read from my book or give a talk, I try to arrive early enough to leave a little publicity package (bookmark, review sheet, author biographical material) on each empty seat, to ensure that the audience takes away a reminder. In other words, anything that gets the writer’s name out there is a baby step toward creating a brand, and a platform, both highly desirable commodities.

About Jean Naggar

Jean Naggar was born in Alexandria, Egypt. She grew up in Cairo, moving to England, and then New York City, where she currently resides. She is the founder of the prominent Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc. Her work has been published in the New York Times, the Village Voice and Publishers Weekly. She is the mother of three adult children and grandmother of seven. Now, she is at last exploring her childhood dreams: to write.

Her memoir of a magical childhood, SIPPING FROM THE NILE, My Exodus from Egypt, is available in print, Kindle and audio versions at the following link: Amazon, or you can visit her at: www.jeannaggar.com and www.JVNLA.com.

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12 Comments

  • Janette Fuller April 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I found this article about book promotion very interesting. A self-published author must work very hard at getting the word out about his/her book. Ms. Naggar offers many good suggestions for effective book publicity.
    “Sipping From The Nile” looks like a wonderful memoir ~ I will put it on my “must read” list.

    • Jean Naggar April 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      I hope you enjoy SIPPING FROM THE NILE, Janette. Today, self-published or published by any traditional publisher, authors have to shoulder most of the work to get the word out about their books.

  • Wendy WEltz April 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I am a great fan of Sipping From the Nile because when reading the book (I read it twice) it took me to a time and place that was unknown to me.
    Somehow colonial Egypt was never in my various history corriculums and the Sudan Crisis was always given a quick swipe.
    So you can imagine my fascination when I entired the world of Jean Naggar. For me it was like the best historical novel ever! I wished it could go on and on.
    So now, I therefore wait with baited breath for her upcoming novel, and in the meantime have to be satisfied with reading some of the wonderful authors that Jean and her Agency have guided and helped to be publish.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book April 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks for the comment Wendy, it’s great to hear you liked the book so much.

  • Sam (Tiny Library) April 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    She is so right about investing in good cover design – so many self-published books have awful covers and I’m sure that this does put people off. Her book looks great, I’ve purchased it for my kindle.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book April 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      I agree, we still buy books through our eyes. I dislike those covers which are as if someone discovered Photoshop filters.

    • Jean Naggar April 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      I love the cover, myself, and am delighted to learn that you like it, too. Please go to my Contacts page on my website when you have read SIPPING FROM THE NILE, and let me know how you liked it.

  • Robin Gainey April 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Great post, whether one if self-published or not. Thank you for the thoughtful insight. I look forward to the next installment!

    • Zohar - Man of la Book April 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      I agree, a very insightful post from one of the industry’s giants

      • Jean Naggar April 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

        “one of the industry’s giants…?” who after that comment has a head so swollen that NEITHER of her hats fit!
        Thanks!

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