Help Yourself to Opportunity
Dr. Tina B. Tessina, a counseling psychologist and author of “The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again,” published by Wiley, sees the Internet as a chance to take advantage of blogging and chat rooms.
“Yahoo Personals promoted my dating book well, since I answered questions for their readers. Blogging can be another way to get to readers and give them a little slice of what you have to offer,” says Tessina. “Chat rooms are also seen as the virtual book tour—it’s nice not to have to be constantly on the road to promote your books and still find a way to let readers know you’re there. It also allows you to better understand your audience for the next book.”
One area where Tessina feels publishers and authors are lacking—whether online or off—is communicating on the best ideas for promoting a particular book. “No one knows the self-help audience better than the author, and you still get the feeling publishers just want to do it their way and not listen to an author’s input. They’d be better off working together, if only because the author[s] may be more enthusiastic about promotion if they have some say in [the book’s] direction.”
Down The Road
Though the outlook seems fairly positive for self-help books, it’s clear there are challenges coming in the next few years. As online communities continue to grow, people are increasingly able to compare personal experiences and information to solve their own problems.
Take, for example, Yahoo Answers. Although, with queries such as “Who has better answers for Yahoo questions—guys or girls?” found within its pages, the self-help industry still has a leg up when it comes to providing reputable, credible sources.
Regardless, publishers must be ready to contend with the watered-down advice readers are willing to settle for, especially when it’s free.