PRLog - May 10, 2014 - WARWICK, R.I. -- Self-publishing isn’t as easy as it looks, according to Sebastian Cole, author of Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love. That’s because self-published books are primarily sold online, not in bookstores. And people won’t know to look for you online if they’ve never heard of you before. Therefore, the toughest challenge facing first-time authors is getting people to know you exist. Exposure is the key. But how do you do that? Winning the Pulitzer Prize, getting a shout-out from Oprah, or having millions of hits on YouTube certainly would do it. But let’s be realistic here; that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. So what’s a local indie author like Cole to do?
Sebastian Cole, author of Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love
Before we answer this question, it’s important to understand why so many new authors are turning to self-publishing in the first place, rather than traditional publishing. Unfortunately for them, it’s not exactly a choice. That’s because of the catch-22 in publishing: In order to get traditionally published, you need a literary agent. And in order to get a literary agent, you need to have already been traditionally published. So it’s nearly impossible for first-time authors like Cole to break into the industry. But while traditional publishing is shrinking, self-publishing is growing exponentially. Self-publishing affords authors the chance to succeed in a very competitive industry that would have otherwise shut them out. But while anyone can self-publish a book; being successful at it is another story, especially if you’re not well known.
Cole suggests starting locally by doing book signings, library events, guest appearances, newspaper articles, radio interviews, etc. He also suggests networking online with bloggers to arrange book giveaways, author interviews, guest posts, and chats. But in the absence of wide-scale exposure, Cole admits, this only gets you so far. Cole claims to have found the solution, however. He even wrote an article about everything he learned from the process of writing and publishing his first book, aptly named “What You Need to Know About Writing and Publishing Your First Novel (http://sebastiancoleauthor.com/
Cole credits websites like BookBub, Pixel of Ink, eReader News Today, FK Books And Tips, and others that recommend free and discounted eBooks. To put things into perspective, Cole typically sells between 10 to 30 paperback books at local book signings. That’s 10 to 30 new people who, Cole hopes, will spread the word about Sand Dollar. That’s not bad, but not good, either.
This past spring, Cole enlisted the help of promotional eBook websites to recommend his eBook while it was on sale for 99¢. (The regular price is $4.99.) And the result? 3,800 eBooks were sold in a week, with Sand Dollar climbing to #41 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for paid eBooks and to #6 on Barnes & Noble’s. Cole fell short, however, of reaching his goal of making it onto USA Today’s Best Sellers list for the week, which lists the top 150 books and eBooks. But Cole feels it’s just a matter of time.
Last fall, Cole used the same websites to promote his eBook for free (making no profit), and the results were staggering. Cole ended up giving away 107,000 free copies of Sand Dollar in a week on Amazon -- courtesy of BookBub and the others -- reaching #1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for free eBooks! That’s 107,000 people who previously never heard of him, people who, Cole hopes, will tell their friends, and so on. After all, Cole figures, word of mouth is how Fifty Shades of Grey got so popular.
As romance novels go, Sand Dollar is at the other end of the spectrum from that of E.L. James. The story in Sand Dollar is about pure love: a love gained, a love lost, and through it all, a love that just won’t die. Although it’s considered to be a romantic fantasy — a kind of cross between The Notebook and The Sixth Sense – the book distinguishes itself from other romance novels in its genre by its honest portrayal of life as a recurring tragedy, a roller coaster ride of sorts between joy and heartache, and the faith needed to overcome it. Sand Dollar is a thought-provoking, emotional read that, among other things, might even have you yelling at the main characters at times. And not only is it filled with plenty of twists and turns, but the ending is a complete surprise.
Sebastian Cole never intended on being a writer. He graduated from Brown University in the 80s, then worked briefly in New York before returning to Rhode Island to work in his family’s business. Nineteen years later, he took a leap of faith and left the company to pursue his dreams, which has led him to where he is now: a novelist of romantic fiction. Cole writes from the heart, believing in true love, love at first sight, and finding that one person in life you’re meant to be with.
Published in 2012, Sand Dollar was emotionally inspired by his own personal life experiences. The bookhas won numerous awards, including being a winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award, a bronze winner of ForeWord Reviews Book Of The Year Award, a silver winner of the Feathered Quill Book Award, a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, a finalist in the International Book Awards, and a finalist in ForeWord Firsts debut literary competition for first-time authors.
Sand Dollar is also translated into Portuguese and sold in bookstores in Portugal under the title Uma História de Amor Eterno.
Sand Dollar has well over 400 reviews on Amazon, many of which compare Cole to his favorite author, Nicholas Sparks, whom Cole cites as his inspiration for becoming an author. Cole’s dream is for Sand Dollar to be made into a movie. Whether or not he ever achieves that kind of success, touching the lives of others through his writing has been the single most gratifying thing he has ever done.
Cole is currently working on a second novel, which won’t come soon enough for his fans worldwide.
For more information, please visit http://sebastiancoleauthor.com