Saturday, October 15, 2011

An indie author talks about book marketing

I've been publishing my fantasy novels for close to six years now. I'll be releasing another one soon, so one might think that I've learned a thing or two about book marketing. The truth is that I can't honestly claim to know what works and what doesn't. I probably do most everything wrong.

Here's a list of my many failings as a book marketer:

1. I don't have some amazing aspect of my life that makes me intriguing. I'm not twelve years old or the survivor of pirate abduction. I've never been to prison and I wasn't raised by wolves. I'm not missing my hands and forced to type with my feet. I haven't given birth to quintuplets. I'm not the favored pupil of a martial arts master. I'm not married to a wizard. So you get the idea. I don't have any detail about my life to hook people and make them think, "Oh, wow, I want to look at her book."

2. I don't blather away with controversial opinions about publishing. Some indie authors are quite militant about their indie publishing, and I think that's great but it's just not my style. I don't feel much need to continually trash the publishing industry because it could not be bothered to look at my work. I get it. I'm not wanted, so I'll just go sell my novels myself. That's really what I want to do anyway. Readers care about good stories way more than my inability to fit in with corporate America.

3. I'm not very active at forums. Participating in forums is always listed as one of those things to do to get your novels noticed, but I'm just not very good at it. I dabble in it, but I mostly don't have much to say. Also as far as I can tell all forums related to reading have become populated almost entirely by authors engaged in book marketing.

4. I have a terrible suspicion that I suck at social media. I use Twitter the most and actually enjoy that venue. I've met some cool people and had them guest post at my blog. I even have a few of my readers following me. That's great. But in general I'm clueless about social media. Everything I read on the subject says it's all about building a relationship. But the way I see things, there really isn't a relationship until someone actually samples my work. Then the relationship starts and I have to prove myself. Social media advice from all quarters also always insists that I not constantly talk about my products. Um, but I'm using social media to market my products. And no one is going to talk about my products unless I do it first. So, as I said, I'm a little lost here.

What I have been doing to market myself is known as content marketing. I give people content. Those who enjoy it might come back for more. I have free ebooks that lead into series. (See the left sidebar.) I recently launched the free serial podcast of Union of Renegades. I've added little quotes from my novels to my tweets as a micro form of content marketing. My marketing boils down to "Hey, come read or listen to my fiction for free. If you like it, buy more." This actually works, and I think it would work even better if more people knew about me, so I guess I'll just keep talking about myself and my fiction because that's book marketing as far as I can tell.

If you'd like to help me out, tell someone about my novels.