Despite my wonderful CoSchedule, today’s requirement to post snuck up on me. I’m reposting an article that originally appeared on my Aether Excursions blog on November 11, 2011 (complete with misspelled headline!). I’ve grown so much since then, but the core of the post is still valid. I hope it’s helpful to you; it applies whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction.
Indie publishing is all about freedom–it’s a great theme today of all days. I write this while sitting at the Toyota dealership on Veterans Day, getting my car serviced and drinking hot chocolate brewed in a Tassano machine. Do you ever get freaked out, though, by freedom?
The reason I’m thinking about this is that my latest book, The Source of Lightning, will be available for sale in e-book form any minute now (well, as soon as the vetting gods have their way with it) and in print sometime this month. That’s so exciting to me, but that means I’m back on the marketing trail once more.
My first venture into marketing in this brave new indie world was with my first book, Second Death, published back in March of this year. The opportunities were amazing and varied. I worked out a schedule and did a little marketing, but not as much as I probably should have. My second book, The Color of Darkness and Other Stories, wasn’t marketed at all. I mainly put it out there to have a body of work, as all the experts say you should have.
But since March, the opportunities for marketing have grown exponentially. I’ve been a member of the Indie Authors Group on Facebook for awhile, but I’ve also joined Indie Authors Unite. My head spins at the veritable plethora of places I can submit reviews, post my book information, blogs I can guest write, blog tours… Yikes! How do I sort through it all?
No, really, how do I?
I’m not sure this is a blog post about how to sort through it. I’m still trying to get my head around that. The main message I have to bring you today is, you’re not alone. The biggest strength of the web is people. Sure, there are trolls and generally ooky people out there, and an amazing number of demanding people who take advantage of the free help offered, but want MORE and MORE, driving the kind-hearted who offer that help to distraction.
The key to indie marketing, I think, is to know where to go for help. Don’t try to do it alone. Here’s the strategy I plan to use:
1. Figure out what product you’re selling. Your book is a product like any other. Do you think salespeople go out unprepared and don’t know what they’re selling? Write the best blurb you can, describing your book in a way that will entice people to buy it. (I’m assuming you already have a well-edited book with a professional-looking cover. If you don’t, make that your number one priority.) Figure out the tags and categories that place your book among the others out there.
2. Decide what you want to get out of marketing. Do you want huge sales? Do you want name recognition for your brand? Come up with the goals you have for this book. And set your goals high. A person’s reach should exceed her or his grasp, as the poet said, in my bad paraphrase.
3. Shop for marketing opportunities. Keeping your goals in mind, look for sites to be interviewed, blog tours to join–whatever opportunity fits in. Don’t take every opportunity that comes along; be selective for what fits your goals.
4. Keep up with what you’re doing. You don’t want to duplicate your efforts. If you’re like me, you have a limited amount of time to write and market, so make the best of those opportunities. Whether you use software to keep up with it or just a notebook, jot down somewhere what you’ve done and where and what’s worked and what hasn’t.
That’s all the advice I can summon at this moment, and my hot chocolate is gone. My head’s clearer on the subject and I feel less panicked about marketing. How about you? What are you doing to market your latest work? Share in the comments.