I’m sure that almost every seasoned Indie Author will tell you that the majority of us work endless hours with little pay in the beginning. This has been my own experience thus far. After I published my first romantic thriller novel, Shadows of Deception, I was proud of my achievement, but then I realized that Amazon wasn’t going to just miraculously sell my book for me. I spoke with my cousin, a well established Indie Author, and she warned me of the obstacles and hard work ahead. The purpose of this post is to give both new, and already established authors, some insight about my own experiences in this industry so far.
Start marketing before you write your book!
I can’t emphasize this enough. I won’t lie; I had no idea what twitter was, until after I published my romantic thriller novel. No clue! With the exception of my own personal Facebook and Goodreads pages, I established all of the following accounts after I published my novel. It takes time to build these accounts; months and years. Here’s a basic list of platforms that you need to establish immediately, if you want at least 1 person to know your work exists:
My Personal Accounts Include:
- Facebook Fan Page (or at least your own personal FB account)
- A Website & Blog
- Stumble Upon
Authors Support One Another:
It’s important to connect and communicate with people in your field. When you show support for fellow authors, bloggers, artists, and your readers, they are likely to reciprocate. Talk to people, be kind, and don’t just selfishly throw your book ads around and expect others to help you, when you don’t bother to help them along the way. Join groups and discussion forums on Facebook, Goodreads, and wherever else you happen to stumble across them. These groups offer an excellent learning opportunity. You get a taste of what other writers are experiencing, how they advertise, and you can even find beta readers for your books.
I believe in Karma & I’m also a very nice person:
I’m connected with so many authors on twitter, and like myself, they run some incredible book promotions to promote their work. If their book is free, I download it to my kindle. It may sit there for a month, maybe longer, but I eventually get around to reading it, and I post a review if I like what I read. They say it’s important for writers to read as much as possible, so it’s a win win deal to me! I have had several supportive authors buy my book and/or short horror story recently, and I try to reciprocate as much as my budget will allow.
Don’t Be an %@$#*%#
I’ve also had authors download Shadows of Deception and The Black Shadow during a free book promotion. They then contacted me to inform me of their “purchase”, rudely demanding I buy their book (NOT for free) and review it as soon as possible. It seemed to be more of a threat than a friendly request. There was no personal conversation to get to know me prior to these requests, and I had no idea who these authors were, so I was very turned off. I always appreciate support from my colleagues, but I do not negotiate with terrorists! Again, build relationships. Please.
Clearly, if you are in a situation similar to mine, you don’t have a ton of cash to toss at a major advertising campaign for your book. Through my research and growing connections, I have stumbled across plenty of free advertising routes. Readers Gazette, for example, offers a ton of services and support for authors, and Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are other useful, free options.
I have paid a reputable book promotion service to tweet my book for a week, and it didn’t have any significant impact on my sales, however, they also tweet about my blog posts upon request, which has driven a significant amount of traffic to my website. I have also dumped about $150 into paid Facebook advertising, but I did not find that to be very helpful. However, as an emerging author, I have not yet established a large fan base through Facebook, which I believe would make my ads visible to a much larger community of readers.
Taking the leap to become an Indie Author has been a major learning experience for me. I have made some excellent connections and friends in just a few months, and I value them greatly. My best advice is to do plenty of research before and while you are writing your book. When I’m not writing, I spend at least 5 hours of my day on book promotion and research about the industry. To effectively promote your own book, you have to be prepared to work around the clock, and it requires lots of time and patience on the part of the writer (and their significant other…..and toddler, in my case).
Thanks for reading,