For all those self-publishing (or even publisher publishing) authors out there – you may have already discovered that writing your genius book is only half the business. The other half is SELLING it. Even if you have sold to a big publisher, they will only push the boat out for a few weeks, and then if the book doesn’t take off they move on to the next and leave you to do the rest.
Marketing books is a gigantic minefield, and there are a zillion posts, pages, blogs, books out there which claim to tell you how to do it. They all promise you the secrets to becoming a best-seller, or to reaching ten thousand potential readers, and most will be after your money.
Having been at it for a while, and almost having mental breakdowns over it all (I’m a techno-idiot and all I want to do is WRITE) I can tell you a few things not to do, and recommend one or two which will save you a lot of heartache, wasted hours, and probably money.
First of all do NOT –
- Succumb to any of those spam messages which promise to email/FB/tweet you to ten million potential customers for just a few dollars. They simply blanket-spread you to people looking for cheap clothes/dating sites/sex instruction books, etc – 99% of whom are irrelevant.
- Join up for every ‘How to Sell/Market/Promote/Seduce/Capture/Contact’ books and blogs offer that finds its way into your inbox or search engine. You will soon be overwhelmed and confused by the huge range of advice and technical instruction on offer, and you won’t know which way to turn.
- Attempt to learn all the technicalities to do with SEOs, algorithms, networking, linking, etc, etc, unless you are good at all that and enjoy it. Find a real cyber boff (maybe local) who knows it all and can advise, and do a lot of it for you. It will be worth his/her charges for a few hours.
And instead of all that, here are just two recommendations of people who cut through a lot of it and give straightforward advice –
https://www.thecreativepenn.com/ (Joanna Penn – good simple info)
https://davidgaughran.com/FollowingResources/ (He’s Irish and so a bit verbose, but his book and videos cut through the jungle, and are relatively easy to follow)
And here is a warning note. The report by the UK’s Society of Authors and The Writers Guild published on 29 April 2022, exposes widespread bad practice among companies that charge writers for publication. It details aggressive marketing tactics, manipulative sales approaches, unclear contracts and publishing processes and services that fall far short of expectations and value. The report also includes the results of a survey which found that 94% of writers who had paid to have their book published, made a loss, with median royalties coming in at only £68.
Lastly, if you have more than just a first book/play/script to your name, then you MUST have your own (well designed) website. Since I started mine many years ago, built it up and improved it thanks to my clever designer, I now get an average of 15 hits/sessions every working day from potential producers or readers from all over the world, and around 30 pages looked at – not bad for someone who is basically a Covid-frozen playwright. And the ability to direct potential customers/followers/affiliated websites straight to the information on the site saves me hours of work having to create individual messages to everyone.
Furthermore, it keeps this ageing author in the public eye, and the increased productions and sales resulting from viewings have paid for its costs many times over. You don’t need to use an expensive commercial web design firm. Find an individual designer – they are everywhere – look at their examples and charges – and pick one you like, even if they are based at the South Pole.
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