Marketing Ideas for Indie Writers

You must do the following before marketing.

Write a good story, get it copy edited, format correctly, including an interesting blurb, and eye catching (appealing to readers of the correct genre) cover.
Place it in the correct genre, using correct metadata search words.
Upload to all sites, not just Amazon Select.
Create a POD file and upload to Createspace, and select all channels, as well as price correctly for bookstores to get their discount.

Now what?

1] Do nothing.

Forget about the published story and write the next story.

Let readers find your story in their own way on one of the distributor sites. If they like your story, they will check the author links in the back of the story and check out the author site, looking for more stories by you. If you do not have any more stories, they will move on to another author.

Realise writers need backlist. Or call it products. We need lots of stories available for readers to purchase.

Once you have 10 or more stories published, readers will find one story, and move on to your other stories if they like the first story they read.

2] Blog

Free short story day (eg: once a month, or weekly) on author blog. Must be regular so readers expect it = announce on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Put thumbnail of latest published novel at end of each blog article, with links to all purchase sites. This is a reminder that the blog author has books for sale.

If blog visitors like your stories or blog articles, they will follow the link to whichever site they want to use to purchase your story, or even signup to your mailing list if you offer free gifts in return for collecting their email address.

3] Shout out on social sites like Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads

I do not think Twitter sells fiction novels. Having said that, you may sell a few copies by announcing a new release on twitter.

However, do not annoy other twitter users by bombarding Twitter with tweets about your latest story. It becomes annoying and you will be Unfollowed by everyone else on twitter.

I do not use Twitter much, because I have better things to do with my time, like write the next story, but I will Unfollow anyone, without hesitation, if I read repeat tweets. I have no doubt others do the same.

As for Facebook, I do not use it. However, I know a lot of publishers set up a page showing releases, but I have been told all the publishers on Facebook link back to the publisher website. Which makes sense to me, because having readers view the publishing website keeps control in the hands of the publishers: to collect reader details, and other data. The information collected is not lost if Facebook changes rules, as it has done in the past by limiting the number of views the posts receive.

I have set up an account on Goodreads, but I do not discuss what I have read with other Goodread readers. I even forget to check my author page for months at a time. And, I have no idea if publishers find anything useful about Goodreads, other than giving away free books to generate interest in a new release.

4] Find readers without spending money

Nick Stephenson = Reader Magnets (Free videos)
Write a Series. Make Series Book 1 free on all sites, Series Book 2 free on signup to mail list, and price Series Book 3 for the full price.

Can tweet free link for first in series, put signup info in back of first story, when signup, send coupon code to access series book 2. It the author loves your stories, they will purchase the third book in the series.

Watch the videos and take lots of notes. Work through his process by setting up an email list on Mailchimp or another mail collections program, and add the signup page to the back of your first free book.

Every step can be researched on Google. This only costs you time, not money.

Or you can sign up for his expensive course to learn the detailed processes of each step to start selling your series.

5] Spend money

Nick Stephenson = Facebook Ads by Rick Mulready (video)

Watch the video, and take good notes. Sign up to Facebook and create your advertisement. Work out the amount of money you want to spend and make the ad live. Monitor clicks from your ad and change your ad to gain more sales.

Jimmy Brown course was called How to make a Small Fortune Online with Small Reports when I took it years ago. The name could have changed sense then, or even the course. Check it out for yourself.

This was an expensive course, and is designed for non-fiction. However, it can be converted into selling your fiction via subscription.

You have to be prepared to produce new stories every month and upload for your subscribers to read. There will be no time to get sick, or have holidays, unless you have a few stories reserved for when you can’t complete your latest story.

A good example of a fiction subscription is what Dean Wesley Smith is doing with his Smith Monthly magazine. Check it out on his web site, all the cover images of the monthly magazines are down the right hand side of his site.

After some time, 6 months or more, Dean Wesley Smith, and Jimmy Brown packages up the subscription novels and publishes them as eBooks and POD on all distributors. More income streams.

Jeff Walker = Launch process for new products (3-5 videos)

Watch the free videos and take good notes. Or you can buy his book, which is a lot cheaper than his online course.

The videos are an overview of his course. I believe his book is his course, but as I have not purchased it I can’t say for sure. Google for other people’s comments on his course and reviews of his book.

This is an expensive course, but you don’t need to purchase the course, because you can find each step in his process free on the internet for each task in his process, without signing up for his expensive course.

Also, as you watch the videos take note of how he presents his videos. After all, the videos are his launch process in action. He uses short time frame to sign up for the course (scarcity), sales hooks (others used the course and made $$$), anticipation, encourages comments (feedback), etc. Download his pdf file. It is a handy reference, no matter which way you market in the future.

However, I will point out that I believe Jeff Walker’s process to launch a product is not designed for fiction. His course is designed for non fiction or online courses, or physical products. I do not recommend purchasing his book, but it is worth your time to watch his videos and take notes, if you want to sell non-fiction or jewelry or paintings or … anything else but not fiction.

I don’t recommend doing his course, and I have not purchased his course. Why? Because he does not teach how to sell fiction, which is different to selling anything else, including nonfiction.

I personally know writers who paid for the course, but could not convert his process into selling fiction. One writer is currently working on altering Jeff’s process so it will work for fiction. I am waiting to see how that works out.

Having said that, Jeff Walker reinforces my belief that building an email list of customers (think readers) is the best way to support yourself as a writer.

Go back and look at Nick Stephenson’s videos. He said the same thing. Build your list, give them free stuff, and occasionally, let your list know when a new story is published.

6] Professional Marketing Ideas for Indie Publishers

Learn how Traditional Publishers Market.

One course I paid for was Promotion by Dean Wesley Smith. Not an expensive course (US$300, I think). It was filled with steps to get word out to book stores, obtaining reviews using ARCs, nominating for awards, etc for each new story. But, all these steps are from a publisher, not a writer.

I can’t link to it because Dean closed the 6 week course because not many writers were interested in it. However, he has a lecture on How to Get your Books into Bookstores (10 videos) for US$50.00. You will find the information on his Lecture Series page.

Or, he has a Classic Workshop called Discoverability for US$150.00. I do not know if it is the same as his 6 week Promotion workshop that I did, but you could always email him and ask if Discoverability is the same as his Promotion workshop.

So, what are you doing to market your novels?

Whatever you do, keep learning, and keep writing, and have fun.



4 comments so far

  1. Cat-Gerlach on

    I’m visiting targeted conventions (SciFi Fantasy coming up next week) where I’ll be reading. That always gives my books boost in the weeks after the Con. Also, I get to see new releases and interesting authors myself.

    • D J Mills on

      I can’t see myself reading in front of people, but that is a good idea. I could attend and hand out flyers and business cards at a scifi con if there is one near my place. 🙂

      • Cat-Gerlach on

        I used to teach programming to forestry students at university (which is like trying to make a group of toddlers sit still for hours on end in the middle of a playground). So, reading to people who are genuinely interested in what I have to say will be a piece of cake (although I am a little nervous).

      • D J Mills on

        Come to think of it, I was a workplace trainer, teaching staff how to use software programs (that I created) so if I thought of reading as teaching, maybe I could do that. Or not! 🙂 Good luck with it.

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