Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Is marketing worth it?



I’ve been reading a lot of threads and forums lately dealing with the topic of marketing your book. It seems there are a lot of “newbies” out there in this relatively virgin explosion of indie publishing and many can’t understand why their books aren’t selling. When asked if these new authors market and promote their books most say yes, but complain that they have limited time for the endeavor, maybe a few hours a week.


These authors wonder why they have little or no sales. Well, here’s a hard truth. To be a successful indie author you have to market your books as much if not more than you spend time writing them. It takes a lot of work to get noticed in a publishing sea that now includes a million new published books yearly. Competition to get readers’ attention is ten times harder than it was three years ago. But it is not impossible.


With the internet, the exhaustive task of promoting is now accessible to even the most introverted writer. No longer must writers sit in nearly empty bookstores peddling their signed wares or go out on long book tours just to get a little recognition, that recognition can now be achieved at home. It can be done. You can get noticed. But it ain’t easy.


Internet marketing does sell books. I’m living proof. A complete unknown three years ago, since then I’ve sold thousands of books to absolute strangers. I also spend an average of two hours a day marketing. It’s tough to find the time, believe me, but I do it. I used to pay for sponsorships with mediocre results and placed samples of my books on all those hundreds of author sites that promise tons of exposure. They worked to some degree, but not worth the hours of drudgery downloading in comparison to sales. I earned roughly eighty cents an hour in sales royalties for my efforts. And paid Facebook and social media boosts do virtually nothing. Blindly spamming and pushing your book over and over only turns readers off. You seem desperate for anyone to buy your book. Then I discovered the secret to gaining an audience.


The proper way to promote is to build a readership through online book discussions and joining groups. Respond when a reader emails you. Get involved in discussions other than about your own work. Get people interested in you by being interesting online. Word-of-mouth will cause your audience to grow in time. It will! Marketing on the internet will sell your book, but you have to do it properly and have patience. If you tell a great story readers will find out about you. And they will tell their friends.