A few months ago, I wrote a post called What I’ve Learned In Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business. The idea was to provide six bullet points, one for each year I’ve run my publishing company. Ultimately, I realized that each of those six points could use some exposition. So I’ve been creating more detailed posts elucidating each one.
This week, we’re up to point number four: Ultimately, you are the head of your own Marketing Department.
As I wrote back in April, even if you are traditionally published, you still have to do a lot of the heavy marketing lifting. As an indie author, though, you’ve got to do it all. You can hire someone for certain things, but not for everything.
The Write Stuff
The whole marketing topic reminded me of a post I wrote back in early 2020 called How Do You Sell A Book in the Digital Age? Market, Market, Market.
As a creative person, I’m always driven by the desire to make something. Of course, people don’t always want to pay you for what you’ve made, so you do what you have to do to earn a living. For me, much of my living has been made through marketing writing, first as an employee and then as a freelancer.
When a writer spends much of his time creating content designed to make sales, he learns a little about how to create similar content for his own stuff. In my case, as an author, I learned how to market to readers—my readers.
And when it came time to market my books in the glutted market we have these days, where thousands of new books come out each day, I’d already learned something invaluable. Recognizing the importance of different strategies is priority number one in setting up your book’s marketing plan.
As I said above, you can hire someone for certain things, but not for everything. Here are a couple points I’ve found crucial in marketing my own books:
1) Take a targeted approach, not a scattershot one. Not everyone is your reader. Talk to your readers, not everyone’s readers.
2) Use different strategies. I have a quarterly newsletter, a group of companies I can use to get more reviews, and a social media management tool. And that’s just for starters!
3) Don’t try something twice if it didn’t work the first time. This was one of my most valuable, if difficult, lessons. Your marketing dollars are precious. If you spend some of them on a strategy that’s ineffective, you need to move on. Find a strategy that works.
It can be incredibly frustrating to be the head of your own marketing department, but the key is flexibility. When you find something that works, keep doing it; when it doesn’t work, get rid of it. Have a plan, stick to your plan, and you should find that your marketing is more effective in the long run.