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 readersmy 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.

 

Three Things

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.

radio shows

Radio, Radio

Normally, when I've done radio shows, it's been related to promotion of a novel, or of my novels in general. This week, it's something completely different. (If you got the Monty Python reference, kudos. If not, Google them after you read this post. Then thank me in...
optimism

Are We Ready to Make A Case For Optimism?

Most anyone who reads this blog probably knows I’m not what you call a Pollyanna type. Not that I’m a pessimist. Far from it. But as we’ve all endured the slings and arrows of the last four years—and especially the last year of Plague—I haven’t exactly been pumping...
characters

It All Starts With Character

“Sahno offers a compelling vision of a community whose need for companionship and support in the face of life's struggles is stirring.” “The characters are deep, well thought out…” “I read this novel in a few short days, drawn in by a believable plot and characters...

Writers Kickin’ It Old-School

Today was one of those days when I thought I might have to start kickin' it old-school. Not even halfway through the afternoon, my brand new modem/router went on the fritz. Suddenly, I couldn't work. My day was already well-planned out, with social media posts for...
trigger

Why Trigger Warnings are Bad for Everybody

Recently I almost got into a Twitter skirmish about trigger warnings, or TWs, as they say in the trade. One of my followers asked the Twitterverse their opinion on them, and I gave mine. In essence, I said I don’t believe in them. While trigger warnings originally...
patchworks

Patchworks: A Book Review

Today I woke to the all-too-familiar tragic news of yet another mass shooting. Sadly, we all know what will happen next: politicians will sputter, talking heads will bloviate, and the next thing that gets done about gun control will be – absolutely nothing. Such is...
healthcare

Feeling Wiped Out? Get Up and Out!

I don’t really think of myself as a healthcare writer, although I did earn a living for many years by marketing a variety of healthcare services—from traditional to alternative medicine. These days, I’m more in the Author-Speaker-Publisher mode, writing books and...
book launch

Ready to Launch Into 2019?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’ve shown an obsessive side lately – lots of content about my upcoming book launch. I’m releasing my fourth novel, Whizzers, in 2019. That means I’m putting a lot of emphasis on building my marketing plan well in...
collection

A Free Short Story Collection

Last week I wrote a bit about the upcoming Rides From Strangers short story collection, as I finally got the completed cover design. Today’s post is related, but with a little twist. As I mentioned a week ago, I’m offering this e-book free to anyone who joins the...
biscuit

“What Do You Want for Nothing—A Rubber Biscuit?”

Readers who are old enough to remember the Blues Brothers’ cover version of The Chips’ Rubber Biscuit will no doubt understand the reference in today’s headline. For everyone else: just shorten it to “What do you want for nothing?” I guess that’s my way of saying,...