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I am currently leaning toward self-publishing my book via Amazon services. However, before I do, I am considering the pros and cons of searching for an agent or publisher. Please note that everything I am saying here is particular to my own situation, and I am not trying to make a general standpoint about the state of traditional or self publishing.

In my case, my book is complete and professionally edited, I am not that bothered about making money, and I just want my book to have the widest audience possible. That being the case, it seems publishers only have three advantages over self publishing. Access to distribution in book stores, marketing assistance, and the credibility of being associated with a publisher.

The issue of credibility is too multifaceted to cover in this question, so I'll just put that aside. More concretely, if I am willing to give up on access to book stores since distribution by online services seems sufficient for me, then all I really want is help in getting the word out about my book.

Are there people or companies who will help only with promotion in concert with online self-publishing? I might be using the wrong search terms on Google, but it seems all my queries end up at the same place, traditional publishing companies.

If book promotion specialists exist, do any of them work for percentages of sales? I would be hesitant to hand over cash in lump sums for the promise of promotion, as it seems their financial motivation would be in pulling in authors and not in pushing books.

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Traditional publishers may "only" have three advantages over self-publishing, but they are huge advantages. Houses tend to have money, experience, power, connections, and presence that self-publishers haven't had the time or resources to develop.

That said, the answer to your question is a definite yes, and it's very possible to market a self-published book successfully.

Try searching for "book promotion packages" or "self-publishing promotion packages". The first turned up a lot of links, but you'll have to sift through them yourself:
http://www.enchantedbookpromotions.com/
http://www.bookbaby.com/bookpromo
http://www.edc-creations.com/publicity.htm
http://www.infinitypublishing.com/additional-book-publishing-services/book-marketing-services.html
http://www.dgtbookpromotions.com/book-promotion-services

They're probably most often referred to as "packages", so that's a keyword you may want to use in your searches. The help or information sections of self-publishing sites will also often have a section on packages they offer for editing or promotion.

And I'm guessing on this one, but I don't think it's realistic to expect promoters to work for a percentage of sales. Your sales aren't entirely directly correlated to their efforts, and aren't guaranteed. Publishing houses can afford to make risky bets like that, but not everyone can.

About agents and traditional publishers: Looking for one will take a lot of time and a lot of effort (and you'll have to deal with the unavoidable rejections), so it may or may not be your top option.

Good luck!

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You really can't separate credibility from reach. Credibility is reach. Credibility gets a message attention. Credibility gets a message passed on. A traditional publisher is not the only source of credibility today, but they are still a huge one. The credibility that a traditional publisher brings will get your message a wider spread and a more willing hearing, and thus get you more readers.

Self publishing is for those who are not good enough, or who are not writing on a topic of sufficient general interest for a traditional publisher, or for those who have, or can build, a platform and a credibility of their own and want the control and the higher margin that they can get from going it alone.

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From personal experience, having both self-published, and published through a traditional publisher, but without an agent, I'm fully committed, for all future book projects, to seek both. I neither want to, nor have the skills to do all the effective marketing, sales and representation of my book and its interests that a good agent and publisher can do.

Self-publishing is for businesspeople who can write, not writers who want to skip a few steps. Being successful as a self-publisher means taking on all the myriad jobs of a publisher and an agent and a publicist, and doing them well. The one biggest determinant of success as a self-publisher is not the quality of your writing or the worth of your content, but your willingness and ability to tirelessly self-promote and sell your own product directly. Of course, in today's world you'll still need to be prepared to do a lot of that, even if you have the best agent and publisher, but you'll have a huge step up in a highly competitive market.

As far as your title question, I never personally encountered a book promotion service for self-publishers that was worth the money. Things such as reviews and awards seemed to make very little difference. I suppose it's possible there might be some young viral marketing genius out there who could singlehandedly make your book a hit --if you find him or her, drop me a line!

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There are numerous places to promote your book, many for free.

You can do it yourself, or hire a promoter to place the information for you, for a fee of course.

I don't understand why you don't want to take advantage of distributors, most of my sales were from their sales points, until I hired a promoter to place my books on sites I had not found on my own yet.

I doubt very much if you are going to find someone to work for a percentage of sales, because 99% of books are a flop, no matter how well edited.

If you consider only one in fifteen thousand submissions to trad publishers are ever accepted for publication. This means 14,999 made zilch because they landed in the slush pile.

Self-published authors are gaining ground with one in five thousand earning a decent income stream.

One of the first questions a promoter is going to ask you is how well established is your existing platform.

How many pages of hits does your 'author name' get on Google?

Many promoters will advertise your book in five or more major readers blogs, and ten to twenty secondary blogs, for between 150 and 300 bucks. But they can't guarantee sales, not even a ball park figure as a guess. Too many variables. Is your cover grabbing and attractive or mundane? What about the title and genre?

Advertising can sell almost anything to anyone, no matter what it is, if the ad is luring enough. Consider rocks that cost three bucks ton, with the right packaging and advertising campaign, you can sell those rocks for seven dollars each, and yes people will buy them. Want proof? Look up "Pet Rocks."

My point here is, with the right packaging (cover) and jacket (blurb), your book will sell. Will it sell well and become a household name (sell by word of mouth) or become a flop like Ford's Edsel?

Excellent books die, while some horrible books top the charts.

Even if you hire a promoter, unless you do a lot of the preliminary work yourself to build your platform, get your name out there, just because they see your book advertised, don't mean they will click-through to buy it. Something has to motivate them. I've had over 10,000 splash ads in a row, to selected readers groups, without a single click-through on a major website. No Matter, each of those splash ads is placing my name in front of readers at the rate of around 50 to 100 per day. So when they do stumble across my book elsewhere, amid other selections, my name will be remembered, and hopefully produce another sale.

A salesman may get the door slammed in his face 199 times, before hitting a sale. It is expected. Selling books is no different!

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