I belong to a lot of groups online that support indie authors. These organizations are great, they’re a place to brainstorm with other authors, ask for feedback and learn the craft. Even though I’ve connected with writers of all genres, cultures and backgrounds, there seems to be one thing that indie authors have in common: most think self-promotion is a cringe-worthy task.
I get it, but I don’t think self-promotion has to be synonymous with negative feelings. I understand that no one wants to be that one blabbermouth author that peddles their books 24/7. I get that as creative types we’d rather use our time to write than push our work. I realize that a lot of authors are introverts that prefer the company of their laptop’s glowing screen than getting out there and networking with people.
But, no matter your personality type or marketing preference, let’s face it, as authors we want to get copies of our work into the hands of readers. Otherwise, why are we sending those little book babies out into the world?
Break through the barrier:
From my experience in both online and in-person writing groups, I’ve noticed there is one barrier between writing the book and reaching the reader, and that is when a writer feels uneasy about self-promoting. It seems a lot of writers feel uncomfortable doing it, yet to a certain extent, it’s vital to an author’s success, and that goes for indies and traditionally published authors.
What I’ve learned about marketing, both from experience and from my college courses, is you have to make a plan. It’s okay to be a pantser when writing your novel, but when it comes to self-promotion, as an indie author, you have to be a plotter. Now, if you’re already a plotter as a writer and you’re an extrovert with an extensive background in marketing? Then you’re way ahead of the game .
Plotting those promos:
As I prepare for the release of my third novel Love, Simplified I am going over my marketing plan. While I prefer to write as a pantser, I see marketing as a different animal and I definitely plotted out several ways to get the word out about my novel. At least, I hope that all my brainstorming wasn’t for naught and I created a diversified list of book promotion options .
At the top of that list is creating a press release announcing my book to the world. I am lucky that I have a background in journalism to support me in this venture. I spent most of yesterday working on creating several versions of press releases for each publication I am sending it out to. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but again, this is where I feel my journalism background helps me out.
As a former reporter I know what journalists and editors want when they’re looking for copy. As the focus of journalism continues to shift toward being community-based, I know the first thing a reporter looks for when they receive a press release in their inbox is how the content relates to their readership. By tailoring and tweaking each press release for the publication I submit to, I feel I’ve bettered the odds of my release running in each publication.
Using the tailor method for each marketing platform:
Tailoring your message is a good idea no matter the forum you choose to market. For instance, it’s fine to send out a Tweet about my book that reads: “#Simpleliving & #love combine in my newest release Love, Simplified. 2.99 on #Kindle & #Smashwords. #amreading #romance #novel” and include a short link to my book. However, if I tried to use that many hashtags and “Twitterspeak” on other networks, like Google+ or Goodreads, I run the risk of not only confusing my followers, I could actually alienate them.
This is why it’s good to know your audience and tailor your message. A tailored message has a much greater effect than a more uniform one. After all, people on Twitter want to read tweets, short messages made up of 140 characters or less. Facebook users want to read status updates, a few short sentences that inform them about your life, your day or your work. Blog readers want to read interesting and engaging posts, filled with pictures, links, video and other media.
Okay, to end this post, and to show that I fall into that unique category of authors that have no problem with self-promotion, I’d like to indulge in a bit of gratuitous self-promotion and announce: My newest book baby will make its debut one week from today!