A self-published author recently asked me whether I considered that book marketing was more important than writing more books. We all have limited time to devote to our self-publishing business, so how do we allocate our time?
I decided to send a survey to my current and past fiction writing students. What did they think? Overwhelmingly, they said that marketing is more important.
It makes sense. You can keep writing and writing, but if no one buys your books, you’re just spinning your wheels. If you want sales, you need to market.
A common book marketing question I receive is: what if you can’t afford advertising?
Self-publishing: advertising your books
Chances are, if you’re new to self-publishing, you’re broke, after spending money on a book cover, and on editing.
There are “free” solutions of course, like social media and blogging, but you need a little paid advertising to get some visibility.
When you’re too broke to advertise
For the author who said to me, “don’t tell me to spend money! I’m broke…” There’s a solution: bootstrap.
Basically bootstrapping is investing the money you make from your books right back into your self-publishing business. As you write more books, and make sales, decide what percentage of your gross sales income you’ll invest in marketing.
Be patient: the more books you sell, the more you’ll sell
One of my fiction writing students became a full-time author four months after she published her first book. However, she’d been promoting that book while she was writing it.
She managed to get a small email list, and put the book on pre-order with Amazon a couple of months before publishing day. So, it sold well right out of the gate.
She was determined to quit her day job (she hated it) and her income’s going up month by month. Her second book sold even better than the first, and Amazon’s algorithm started to push her books along too.
As her sales increase, she’ll be able to spend more money on advertising, which will push her books along even more. With Amazon, the more books you sell, the more Amazon will help you to sell.
What about freebies?
So, in summary, both writing and book marketing are important in self-publishing. You need to create books to sell — then sell them. 🙂
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You love writing books, but marketing them is a challenge. You’re not sure what works. You do know that you would sell more if you had a strategy for writing, publishing and marketing…
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