Every hopeful Indie author hears it: If you are going to self-publish, you are going to have to market your work in order to be successful. Sure, the reality is that even if I had been picked up by a major publisher, I most likely would have had to do some marketing on my own for any chance of success as well. But at least then I might have had someone to ask for tips! As an Indie author, I’ve got myself, dozens of guidebooks, and adverts (or random emails) from people claiming to have the answer for me. It is a little overwhelming.
Which is my excuse at why, after having my first e-novel available for a little over a year now, I’m finally really delving into the marketing thing. Yup, a year later.
If you read some of those handy guide books (I do recommend Mark Coker’s guides: Book Marketing Guide and Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success – both free and offering a tips on where to start), you’ll learn that the benefit to being an Indie author is that you can start marketing (and hopefully get good at it) at any point after publishing. There is no ‘magic window’ of time to capture the public’s eye. A year after publishing, my novel is still available possibly unlike a printed version. Yeah for me!
Why has it taken me a year to finally craft a marketing strategy? I’m slow.
Okay, just joking. There are many reasons it has taken me so long to jump in. I think the biggest hurdle was the mental one.
Every author hopes they’ll be “discovered.” Someone out there (someone with great connections obviously) will read the novel and post an amazing review, share it with their upteen-million friends, and overnight without lifting a marketing finger, my book will be rolling off the electronic shelves. Well, I never really thought that but maybe I hoped for it just a little. So that explains the first few months of not marketing.
After it started dawning on me that doing nothing wasn’t selling any books, I looked at all the potential marketing options and grumbled. If you do a quick search on marketing e-books you’ll find one of two things: people who will do it for you or authors complaining that it takes away time from writing. There is so much negativity about the idea of marketing! Straight out of the gate, authors are informed about it being a time sink with no sure-fire or tried-and-true way of ensuring success. Every author’s marketing attempt is a personal ascent up Mt. Everest. After absorbing all that information for an afternoon, who would WANT to start marketing? Isn’t it better to at least say I published a novel, which I wrote out of love and enjoyment of the craft anyway?
Is it better to give up without even trying? No.
And boy, sitting there and doing nothing (except writing, obviously!) while not selling any novels (or only by running free give-aways) is depressing. This creeping feeling of not being good enough mixes with a belief of ill-fate. That little corner of dark solitude looks more and more attractive every day.
Why I’m breaking out of my comfort zone and starting to market lies at the convergence of having a sequel (that I think is pretty darn good!) at the editor, a sudden boost in self confidence (could be spring or it could be that having e-published is no longer a new experience. I’m a year into this now and it is time to grow up!), and lots of information, derived from blogs and watching more experienced authors, coalescing into actual useful skills. For me, now is the time.
I’m trying on a variety of tactics, which I’ll outline in future posts (sorry – need to get back to writing and editing!). But the first and biggest, I’ll share now.
You remember all that negative energy regarding how much time marketing takes? Time that you could be writing your next great masterpiece, the one that will surely be your big break?
GET OVER IT
Seriously, marketing is as important as writing. And if you don’t embrace it, finding something to love it the sharing of what you created and enjoy, then you are going to only do it halfheartedly. You are going to suck at it.
Sure, if you have tons of money, go throw it at someone who can market for you. I don’t have that type of income. Plus, I tend to be a do-it-yourself-er (that whole self-publish thing should be making more sense about now). So, the biggest thing I learned and tackled first in creating my marketing strategy was to love marketing as much as writing. Seriously. I get to talk about my novel and why I love it. Is that really so bad?