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MARKETING

March 30, 2022

           The worst part (for most people) of writing a book is the marketing. A lot of people dread it. I’m no exception. It’s like begging people to buy your book, or enticing them, or just yelling on a street corner. However you picture it, it is, at least to me, the worst part of the entire publishing process.

            I’ve done plenty, spent plenty, and gained few results. It’s not like I’m with one of the big six publishing houses that already has a marketing machine there to help. I’m with a smaller traditional press where we pretty much have to sell our own book. That’s not to say the big sellers don’t have to do it either, it’s just that they have a huge initial boost through their big publishing machine.

            For the small indie press, traditional or self-published, you’re pretty much on your own.

SOCIAL MEDIA

            By far, the most common way small press authors try to gain an audience is through social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads are just a few.

            By having a constant presence, you can at least get the word out to people you know, and even strangers given some of the available tools.

            The issue?

            It all costs money to go beyond your friends etc.

            As a heavy Facebook user, I’ve tried their ads on numerous occasions. The results were less than spectacular.

BOOK MARKETING SITES

            This is another case of either spending an outrageous amount of money, or going for the cheaper options and still spending more than you get back (usually).

            From my experience, these sites are nothing more than money pits. I know. I can check the amount I spent versus the results and once again, the were less than spectacular.

A NEW ONE (FOR ME) ON THE BLOCK

            I’ve just been introduced (by Amazon) to Amazon Ads.

            Worrying that it’s just another money pit, I made some queries on social media.

            The results varied, but for the most part, the authors that responded spent money and made a bit more into the green than some of the other options.

            The catch?

            Some weird and arcane rules that can get you into trouble if you aren’t careful.

            I actually read the rules, warnings, and legal stuff, and it left me with a bad feeling. Some of the rules seem a bit draconian.

            I mentioned that in my queries and a few responders will never use it because of these rules.

            Others weren’t intimidated and have made at least a little money.

            Then again, those users also gave tips on how they did it.

            Since I haven’t taken the plunge yet, and am not sure if I even qualify given the ominous warning (If You Qualify) statement up front, it all may be a moot point anyway.

BOOK SIGNINGS

            Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is where I’ve had the most luck.

            Outside of a few misses, I’ve managed to sell a book or two at each of these events.

            Some are multiple author events, and a couple were solo in a bookstore.

            I tended to do better at solo signings in a bookstore.

            The issue now?

            With COVID still out there, though things have loosened up a bunch, doing a meet and greet can be risky for some people. It’s not just a matter of shyness, or willingness to get out there, but a real health factor to consider.

SUMMARY

            I’ve talked about all of these issues (except Amazon) in the past and the specifics I won’t rehash.

            As a struggling new author, the marketing is by far the most difficult for a slew of reasons. Yet, it’s something you have to do if you want to sell anything. Just publishing the book and making it available isn’t going to do it. Having someone with marketing expertise at your publisher also helps a lot. Having an already established big machine behind you is, of course, the best option. However, we’re not all with the big six, so we have to figure this out on our own.

            Do what you can, what you can afford, and keep searching for the next big thing. It’s the only way your book is going to get out there to anyone but your friends.

            Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2022 6:36 am

    Gah, marketing, my bane only second to editing. I knew that writing wasn’t the only thing involved in being an author, but I didn’t know how SMALL a role it played in the grand scheme of things. And here I thought it was the end all be all, lol.

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