It has probably been said before, but if not, I’ll say it. The beauty and the curse of being a small press or independent writer (Indy) is that you are responsible for making everything happen. That includes all the nuts and bolts of getting the book into publication, which is to be expected. Heck, portions of that can even be fun like cover selection (editing not so much), but then the author is hit with a nasty little shock - they have to successfully market their new shiny novel.
This isn’t Field of Dreams. Just writing a novel is no guarantee that “They will come.” It takes a lot of hard work that has absolutely nothing to do with writing a good story.
The first thing I recommend is to see what successful independent authors in your genre are doing and make a list. I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Some things I do won’t do squat for a romance or humor author, so examine the people in your genre and decide what person’s career you’d like to emulate.
Once you’ve come up with a list of possible strategies, you now have to face the likelihood that you won’t be able to do all of these things. You can look no further than the numerous social media choices available to connect with your potential readers like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, MySpace, Kindleboards, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all the review blogs out there. It’s an endless buffet and you’ve only got so much room in your stomach.
Yes, just because you can go make a video trailer for your book doesn’t mean you should. This is just an example and I’m not slamming book trailers, but I haven’t seen any real evidence that they sell more books than a good description will. In my case, I don’t see the ROI (Return on Investment) because most of my sales come from Amazon and as an “Indy,” I haven’t come across a way to get a video trailer up without paying a large fee to their Createspace business unit. Yes, you can put it on your Author Central page, but the reality is only a small percentage of people who arrive on your book’s page will click over to your author page. It makes a nice addition to your website or blog, but now you need a reason for a person to come to your website or blog, and that goes back to making a large investment of time and effort into hosting a successful blog. As with all my advice, your mileage may vary, but the time spent creating that video trailer is time you could have been writing or blogging.
In my own case, I have a wife, two feisty daughters, and a full time job to occupy most of my waking hours. This limits the amount of time that I can spend on the computer for both writing and marketing. So, I pick and choose where I maintain an online presence, because doing three things well is better than doing a dozen things poorly. There is something to be said about not biting off more than you can chew!
Generally, I stick to Facebook, my webpage (www.jimbernheimer.com), my Amazon Author Page, and make an occasional appearance on Kindleboards. Give readers a place where they can contact you, but you don’t have to scramble like a crazy person trying to be everywhere at once. Take a deep breath and remember that this is supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun, try and figure out why it isn’t and fix it.
Guest blogging, reviews, and sponsoring giveaways are my bread and butter when it comes to marketing. Many authors also run their own blog. I haven’t gone that route because (once again), I don’t think I could add another ball to my juggling routine and do it properly. Instead, I spend my time contacting all the folks who have taken the route of posting regular content and attracting followers. For me this makes the most sense. Guest posting introduces my novels to this blogs followers and maybe a few are intrigued enough to give one of my books a try. The nice folks who run the book review blogs know that content is king and more interesting content keeps the readers coming back for more. Having authors come in and do guest posts is a mutually beneficial relationship for the author and the book blogger.
With the advent of “Blog Tours,” it seems lots of other authors and the publishing houses as well have figured it out too, but keep in mind that being late to the party still means you’re at the party, so don’t get discouraged if this blog turns you down because they have a large to be read pile. When deciding whether or not to contact a blog, look at how often they update. The quantity and quality of their postings will tell you a whole bunch about the person or persons you are dealing with. I rank it just as important as the number of followers/networked blogs a review site has.
One big thing to remember, the majority of book bloggers are doing it because they love reading. They are volunteering their time. Things do come up in their lives that may interfere with reviewing your novel. One of the mistakes I made about six months ago was contacting a blog and accepting an offer to do giveaways for three of my novels. I sent them two copies of each book for a grand total of six, which ended up being about seventy-five dollars after shipping and handling. You can probably already see where this is going, but yeah, none of my books have been reviewed or given away.
Lesson learned - wait for the review and then coordinate the giveaway.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank CK and DJ for having me and offer encouragement to any author out there trying to get his or her stories published. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to marketing, I say, “Keep it simple,” and find things you can do and do them to the best of your abilities. Jim
Jim has graciously agreed to give away a signed copy of his book to one US resident and an e-copy to one international winner!!! For an opportunty to win a copy of CONFESSIONS OF A D-LIST SUPER VILLAIN please leave a comment below or at WebbWeaver Reviews http://bit.ly/HWQKW and the winner will be chosen from those entries!! Best of luck folks.