This frustrated little guy is how most of us writers feel about marketing. UGH! Just the word “marketing” is likely to lead us to the nearest, hardest wall.
I’ve been trying to learn how to market since 2003. In truth, I mainly ignored that part of the process for some time after my first book came out. A not exaggerated fact about me: I’m social phobic, and have been for many, many years (yes, I am that old). I don’t mean I’m only kind of reserved. I mean according to the DSM-IV (psych manual of disorders), I’m full-blown social phobic. Well, or I was full-blown. Now I’m only half blown. Uh.. or something like that. Either way, I can talk to one person in a casual setting who I am familiar with and still fight shaking hands and voice tremors and heart rate increase. Add several more people in a group who are looking at me and expecting me to speak and all of that increases, along with the warming face and swirling head that feels like my brain’s in a Tilt-A-Whirl underground with water rushing in.
So, when I read the plethora of expert advice on marketing that all led to … UGH! … public speaking, I just figured I would never sell books other than to family and a few close friends because there was NO WAY in the world I was going to voluntarily speak in public.
A..hem… Well, I have. To an extent, a very small extent. But we’ll get to that later.
Avoiding that humiliation at all costs, I searched for any way other than that to get the word out. I bought John Kremer’s 1001 Ways To Market Your Books and spent a fair amount of time getting ideas and learning the process. Much of it is geared toward non-fiction or authors with an actual publishing house, so it left me with about 5 ways to market my indie mutt genre books. (Okay, that one is an exaggeration. There were more than 5 left that applied. A few more than 5.) Of course, this was way back before being indie started to be cool.
[Read my post about not so cool indie beginnings here at Lindsay’s Romantics.]
What did I do? Here’s a brief list as I can remember. I don’t remember which ideas I found in Kremer’s book and which I adapted, created on my own. Most of this applied to my second book, Rehearsal: A Different Drummer, since from what I read, I’d lost the “new book” window for Finishing Touches.
~~ I ordered business cards with one of my books featured, along with my web address. (That works best if you have the guts to actually give them out.)
~~ I ordered postcards with the same info, then searched online to find dozens of indie booksellers, printed out the info, and sat addressing postcards each night for about a week, bought post card stamps, and mailed them out. (Please don’t imitate this method. It’s a waste of stamps.)
~~ I started up an indie arts site to feature other indies of different sorts and bought pens with the site address to hand out (or conveniently ‘forget’ to take with me when I was out and used one).
None of it seemed to be even making a dent in getting my name out there, despite some gorgeous reviews from the handful of people who did read my books. I added some of those reviews to my “reworked several times” website and begged a few of those readers to please leave reviews on my publisher’s site! Bless their souls, they sure did, too. Some of them did.
Without results, it was time to go back to more research about how to market. If there’s one big thing I’ve accomplished, it’s that I’ve learned a heck of a lot of “how to” although putting it into practice is another story.
As this is getting long and one thing I’ve learned is to keep blog posts fairly short since online reading attention span is fairly short, I’ll continue this tomorrow.
Come back and bring your friends and I’ll get to how I found techniques that are much more productive than those above.
By the way, I now have my blog organized! Entries are linked in categories. Find what you want to read by clicking on one of the top tabs.