When I signed with Dusty Saddle Publishing (and publicist Nick Wale), I was absolutely thrilled when they rereleased my first novel, “Coyote Courage.” I’ve written in previous blog posts about the value of great covers (which “Coyote Courage” now has), as well as excellent publicity, which it received.
But I couldn’t have been more surprised than when I opened the paperback and found forewords from some of the hottest names in the Western world — Robert Hanlon and Megan Allen — along with “A Readers Note From David Watts.”
While I was familiar with all three, at the time I did not know any of them, and so I was quite surprised, albeit pleasantly so. I quickly learned that this is one of the jobs that good publishing companies and publicists do for their writers. They send copies of your upcoming book around to other writers who happen to be hot sellers at the time, encourage them to read the book and ask them to contribute a glowing foreword.
For readers of Westerns, these forewords are like recommendations from old friends and can kick-start sales for an otherwise unknown writer — in this case, me.
There is also the “Amazon Advantage.” If you take a look at any of my books on Amazon, the men and women who write the forewords are highlighted as authors. It’s the way Amazon works, and so if someone is searching for Robert Hanlon, they may stumble across one of my books and decide to give it a try.
Since sales of my books have taken off over the past few months, I have been flattered to be asked to write reviews for Randall Dale, Robert Hanlon (happy to return the favor!), Gary Hutchinson, Cherokee Parks, Russ Towne (his first Western!) and Big Jim Williams.
I have mentioned in other blog posts how friendly and helpful I have found my Western writing brethren to be, and these forewords are another example. Those kind enough to write them are taking time away from their own books, from sleeping, from their families — from something — to read my book and write an enthusiastic foreword (no one publishes the negative ones!).
If you choose to self-publish, this responsibility will fall on you and so you need to start to establish relationships with the writers who are already out there selling books and building a brand. It leads back to earlier blog posts that you’ve hopefully read on the various ways you can do this: write a blog, post and comment on group pages, search out writers you like and contact them directly — friend them on Facebook, visit their websites, and most importantly, buy and read their books.
If you want to get a writer’s attention, start by knowing what they write. Better yet, read it! As the relationship grows, you may feel comfortable asking them to write a foreword, and if you’re lucky, they will. It will most definitely help you sell books.
Don’t forget to one day return the favor!
I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at [email protected].
Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!