Marketing is something that can be challenging for every author. There are so many different options, and so many different opinions on what you “should” be doing for success, that it can get quite confusing. Fortunately, the secret to great marketing is not to master everything, but rather to focus strongly on a few key things.
Below is my list of the 5 best things to focus on for book marketing if you are an indie author:
We’ve all heard the advice that building your social media platform as a writer is super important, and we all know that we’re supposed to have a strong presence on social media if we ever want to catch the eye of new readers. This holds true whether we’ve decided on independent publishing, traditional publishing, or we’re still researching publishing options. The moment you start looking around online at what you’re supposed to be doing as a writer who is serious about launching their books into the world, pretty much the first thing you see is: Start building your social media platform now.
This is good advice, but it also falls short of what most writers need. Outside of cultivating a “strong” presence on social media, what else do writers need to consider when building that presence? Here are 3 things that I’d wish I had known when I was just starting out, and that I also believe most writers overlook when building their social media platform.
By and large, the biggest problem I run into with struggling authors is the challenge they have around marketing themselves. I hear a lot of different reasons for this: “I’m too introverted.” “I hate anything that has to do with sales.” “I don’t want to be fake or phony,” etc. I get those reasons, because way back in the day when I felt like I had an allergic reaction to anything that had to do with marketing, I told other writers I hated marketing because of those very same reasons.
But, here’s the thing. That really wasn’t the whole story.
I’ve launched three different books in the past couple years and I’ve definitely noticed a pattern. Every time I go into “launch mode” I tend to also go into “marketing frenzy,” which means I’m frantically researching, emailing, posting, and overthinking about my book of the moment. My main drug of choice to support the frenzy is the internet. Because no matter what question I might have, the online world seems to have the answers.
Well, this is true. Sometimes. But at other times—a lot of other times—my overthinking is only made worse by reading around on what I “should” be doing to market my book.
Usually when we think about “book marketing” we think of glitzy ad campaigns or nuking everyone on social media with relentless messages to “buy my book!” This is a huge turn-off for most writers. We’ve spent months, possibly years, working on a story that is so personally meaningful to us that it’s even hard to describe it succinctly to other people without getting tangled up in words and emotion.
And now we’re supposed to push it onto total strangers using a catchy (or cheesy) hook?
Um, no thanks.