Marketing can be a scary road for many writers and indie publishers who cringe at the idea of a room or chat room full of people and breaking the ice. So let’s ease into it by helping you to point out some “faux pas” of marketing that you can easily avoid as you begin your journey! Here are three major mistakes that indies focus on when it comes to marketing their books that you can steer clear of!
1. They focus TOO much on marketing and less on writing!
In fact, the one MAJOR thing that indie book publishers, authors, and marketers forget to do is: WRITE THE DARNED BOOK! The best way to strike a balance between the business of your indie publishing press and the creative side of it is to literally stick to a schedule. Network with your groups for no more than an hour a day, maybe with an occasional re-tweet or Facebook re-share throughout the day or lunch break. But don’t forget to WRITE THAT BOOK TOO! An hour of uninterrupted time (with no internet) can help you get a LOT done in a little amount of time. So don’t get so bogged down with marketing that your final book product never makes it out of the printer! More importantly, you must write the book well, which gets into our second point…
2. The other aspects of book-making get lost in the process.
The gates of online distribution have opened up, this gives indie authors an awesome license to publish freely and break the mold. Some molds, however, like book quality, professional editing, AND professional graphic cover design, are molds that are not meant to be broken. Before you put all this effort into networking, building relationships, and marketing, just make absolutely sure that you have a book that you are proud of, that you put your all into, that you KNOW is worthy of people’s time, money, and attention. One bad book can ruin your career and make all that awesome networking amount to naught.
3. Some indies treat people as though they exist merely to buy their books. And this is the gravest mistake of indie publishers.
What I’m about to say is going to seem hypocritical in the face of the last two points I just made but: your story doesn’t matter. People can and will buy it, even if you’re just a mediocre writer.
“WHAT?” You say. “BUT YOU JUST TOLD US TO FOCUS MORE ON WRITING AND ON THE BOOKMAKING PROCESS!”
Yes, I did. And you should. You should release the VERY BEST work possible. Seriously. But if there’s one golden rule of indie publishing that I’ve learned by doing it myself & by watching others do it, that rule is:
Readers buy from people they like. Yes. I’ll say it again, and I’ll add that extra something that just blew your mind. People buy from people they like… even if the work of the people they like is “mediocre”.
Strange, right? But not rocket science, actually! Why? Because people buy from folks they like and trust.
If they like you, they’ll want to support you. (These are your network.) If they like you AND like your work, they will support you AND tell others about you and your books. (These are your fans.)
Think about it. Imagine that you’re a huge Stephen King fan; you love his work. He’s a phenomenal writer, hands down and has the reputation to back it up. So, loving his work, you go to a horror writer convention, meet him, and he acts terribly or condescendingly towards you. Total disappointment! If you’re like most people, you will be FAR less inclined to support his work in the future. (King would never do this, by the way. I hear he’s delightful towards his readers (as I expect any writer would be)).
Treat your readers kindly. And EVERYONE is a would-be reader, so that translates to treat people kindly. While this sounds like common-sense, surprisingly it isn’t for some writers. I’ve seen many would-be writers in forums and Facebook groups, both independently and traditionally-published, act disgustingly towards people in their reader-base and then weeks or months later try to get those same people they hurt to buy their work. And then, some of these folks even have the nerve to COMPLAIN about readers in general “not having taste” or “not supporting their work”! Wow!
When I see these comments, I think to myself, “LOL, are you serious? No way am I buying your work, and furthermore, you’re deleted.”
Bottom line: people are people. We are social creatures who like to be spoken to, interacted with, and we like to form kind and genuine relationships with others. None of us likes to be used just for our money or resources; no one likes stopping randomly along the road of life just to be sucked dry of our hard-earned money… especially by people we dislike. As a writer, as an independent, and more importantly, as a person, you need to form warm and solid relationships with your readers and with your writing colleagues. It’ll not only help your book, but it will help you! You’ll find a great & supportive writing-reading community, a place to receive feedback, people from whom to draw inspiration, and general companionship amongst like-minded people who go through the same things you do as we all struggle to keep bibliophilia alive in the world.
So treat people like people. Do it because it’s the humane thing to do, but also do it for the sake of not having your work, and your reputation, die a slow death on the shelf.
So what have you found are the major mistakes of marketers or people trying to sell their books? What has made a poor impression on you as a reader or writer? Share your experiences and advice to writers below!
Keep it indie and write on, rock on!