I have not met any indie author who thinks marketing their books easy, yet. I know marketing the book can daunting and tiring. And any number of articles you read about it is not enough at all. And let us not even talk about the cost constraints.
Say hello to Eden!
I’m an indie author, (with a marketing background) and keep finding posts on writer’s forums like ‘so I published my book, but only sold two copies in the last year, I don’t know why I bothered….’
Contrary to some people’s opinion that “when the book is written the work is done”, self-publishing isn’t just about writing, finding a good editor, choosing a publisher, getting an ISBN, formatting the book, designing the cover and choosing your price. It also needs to about becoming your own agent, marketing department and cheerleeader. You can throw lots of money at marketing, but that might not help – what are you spending your money on?
This is a step by step guide to getting started, using things that anyone can do, that cost nothing. Marketing means publicising your name and work, it is everything you do that gets people’s interest. Which can lead to them buying your work – it’s not selling, which is a different skill, and doesn’t relate to books.
You will need: a calendar, notebook, two pens one colourful, and off we go…
Imagine your ideal reader, now make a note of their gender, age, occupation, relationship status, pets, where they live; When you have a detailed picture then we can work out where to find them.
Set up a Facebook page with privacy set to friends, people must be your friend to see your content. Invite people you know, and ask these people to invite their friends – don’t randomly add people you have no connection with, they are unlikely to be your ideal reader.Don’t randomly add people on Facebook page you have no connection with, they are unlikely to be your ideal reader. Read more tips on Branding you as #indieauthor from @edengrugerwrit1 Click To Tweet
Use this page to talk positively about your book, your writing process, your inspiration, good books you have read – absolutely no negativity allowed on this page. If someone is unkind or abusive, block them, don’t get into arguments that make you look unprofessional.
Remember this isn’t the page to share private photos or air dirty laundry, keep your private life just that.
Join every writer and reader group that you can find on Facebook, this is where you connect, and let likeminded people know that you exist (no bombarding anyone with links or information on the book).
Back to your ideal reader, we know who they are, now we need to think about where will they hang out online, parent groups? Ones about pets, gardening, music, interior design, travel, local history, or issue groups?
Apply to join the groups where your readers are. If you get accepted introduce yourself with a question to engage interest, ‘Hi, thanks for welcoming me into the group, I am writer what do you do?’ ‘Hi, I love history/travel/music it inspires me to write, what does it inspire you to do?
You get the picture – do not add your book information unless someone asks for it. You are marketing yourself and your work; NOT COLD CALLING (remember those annoying people who used to telephone while you were eating?).You are marketing yourself and your work; NOT COLD CALLING! Read more tips on Branding you as #indieauthor from @edengrugerwrit1 Click To Tweet
Set up a Twitter account in the same name as your Facebook page follow authors who are in your genre, or people who would be your target readers and make pleasant comments on their posts – don’t mention your book unless asked, just be an interesting person.
On all of the above use the same profile picture, you need to be instantly recognisable. Make sure you look smiley and approachable – if you write horror or sci-fi you can afford to look serious, but still approachable. Ladies, no cleavage or poute-y poses please – we know sex sells but we are marketing your book, not your personal wares.
Congratulations you now have a brand – BRAND YOU!
To begin to build on this, you need to be like healthy bowels (nice and regular); mark on your calendar exactly when each week to update your social media. Give yourself an hour to post and respond to messages. When complete give yourself a tick with your colourful pen; it is important to notice and record when you are working on your writing career.
Now you have a cohesive image and a social media following which will be organically growing while you go to the next phase.
Sixth belief, in yourself and your book.
Have you told everyone you ever met that you wrote a book? Think of this information as a pebble dropped into water making bigger and bigger ripples. I’m not talking about becoming a bore, but if anyone asks what you’ve been doing lately, tell them you wrote a book. Your family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours, sports team, hairdresser, dentist, librarian, mechanic, the person on the bus next to you… everyone should know.
People you know are more likely to buy from you just because they know you, they might want to hear what you have to say, or they might not. It doesn’t matter why they use their money to buy your book, it just matters that they do.
Never forget to ask people who buy your book to leave you a review (give the exact addresses of your FB and Twitter to post their review online). Suggest they invite other readers they think might like the book to try it – consider how many of the last 10 books you bought came from personal recommendation?
This is one for the calendar, once a month ‘put a message on Facebook tagging anyone who has bought your book’; then do it, and tick with your colourful pen.
If you have an ISBN and are on Ingram’s then email bookshops, (start in your town, then county and work outwards) introduce yourself and the book. There are templates online of what you need to include. If you have physical copies offer a three book discount to buy direct from you. Any deals or prices must be agreed in writing – so get emailing.
Don’t just drop into shops, it looks unprofessional and is generally a waste of your time and theirs, the person responsible for buying will need to check your book out before they can make a decision.
If a shop wants to stock your book ask to be featured on their social media, and ask to add their links to yours. When they agree (in writing) post on Facebook and Twitter “Head to BOOKSHOP (link) to get your copy of TITLE” or “Thanks to BOOKSHOP (link) for stocking TITLE”.
Make friends with your booksellers, they can recommend your book, or give you a reading / signing event. Independents are better than chains, as they have autonomy.
Do all this, and then keep doing it every single month, and then do it all again, and again. Your name will be out there as a cool writer who behaves with professionalism rather than a nightmare spammer. Potential customers can look you up, see what you have written….and buy your book.
Please remember why you started writing, if you were thinking you’d written an indie bestseller, and you’d make your millions, I admire your spirit, but you might want to adjust your reality. Enjoy the process, including the marketing, or why do it?
Thank you, Eden!
And I am back to thank Eden for taking time off her busy schedule to write us a guest post. You can follow and contact Eden through these links.
If you have something to add to Eden’s story, drop a comment here or send him a word of thanks on the social media. Both of us would love that.Also, if you are interested in writing a guest post for the independent publishing community, write to me right away. I am still accepting guest post submissions.
Let us chat
Do you have an author website? How do you fare on your branding as an author? As a reader, do you like author brands? Do you follow their social media as much? Who is your favorite brand? Let us talk.