Where do you start? How do you get your book in front of an audience as an indy author? These are possibly the hardest two questions you’ll face as an independent writer, because they mean you not only need to know how to write, you also need to know how to take your work to market. It is a daunting, scary process akin to stepping onto a train station platform at rush-hour in a busy metropolis somewhere – you feel yourself drowning. Drowning in the fear of being invisible. Drowning in the onslaught of competition. Drowning in the snake-oil marketers convincing punts to take your book to market for you – at a price, of course! Drowning in uncertainty and doubt.
The lifeboat is your common sense. And if you feel you are out of your depths, let me remind you – You wrote a book! You CAN do this. And you must.
First things first… get some social media accounts set up – either for you, as the author, or for your books. I use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – that’s all. And that’s enough! It keeps me pretty busy maintaining those profiles, thank you. If you are able to, set up a simple website – mine is not massively polished, but it does the job and it’s easy to maintain. Then you follow and follow and follow – individuals, organizations, companies, groups, etc. Until you feel the momentum start to build. It took me a week to get up a head of steam, so to speak. Only one week. I went from no followers on social media to hundreds in a matter of weeks. Twitter is great for authors because of one simple reason – for every author that you follow (and they, invariably, follow you back!), they have hundreds or thousands of followers too. The moment there’s a back-and-forth, ALL those followers have the potential of seeing those messages – it becomes an exponential wave and it can carry you along for a while – getting more eyeballs on you SM and, ultimately, on your book. Hooray! Eyeballs on your book – how great does that feel, right?!
Facebook author groups can also be good, but pick them with care. I am on a few, but they are groups within my genre – Sci-fi – so I enjoy them more for fun and the occasional post that I can add a comment to. There can be limited opportunity to self-promote, but groups are more about community-mindedness than brash, shameless self-promo.
Instagram is the unknown for me still – it has an opacity to it that I’m not fond of, but it is great for visual posts. I have a healthy collection of photos on my personal account, and I have reasonable expectations for the book’s account. That account exists more for ideas and because I enjoy the visual nature of Instagram. I also didn’t want to dilute my personal account, nor confuse my readers that use Insta, with cross-pollinated accounts – best to keep it all separated out.
Offline, I’ve approached bookstores, arranged some events and will send out press releases as my launch approaches – all of this activity will be supplemented and enhanced by my online presence.
If you’re still struggling to figure out how to best approach your online marketing, I suggest subscribing to other author’s blogs. So much helpful information is out there if you look for it.
Happy writing and good luck with the marketing!