Self-publishing is huge fun, mostly. You can do it all in your PJs or from the comfort of your squashy sofa. Of course there’s a serpent in this author’s paradise: marketing.
Authors try to get around this inconvenient bugbear in various ways.
My favorite is denial. “Yes, but Author X said in Magazine Y that she doesn’t do any marketing, and she sells 3,000 copies a DAY!”
The SO THERE! is always implied. 🙂
I’m tempted to say, Author X is lying. But I don’t because it’s obvious. After all, Author X is giving an interview in a magazine — she has a publicist on retainer. That’s marketing.
Self-publishing and selling books without marketing: is it possible?
The short answer is no. You need to get the word out about your books somehow. Even if the Amazon gods are benevolent, and you luck into a popular but underserved genre, sooner or later you’ll need to give your epic a kick along to get it selling.
That said, you can market without marketing, if that makes sense. Let’s look at three ways.
1. Sneaky marketing: market using your own books
This is my favorite. Amazon doesn’t care whether you publish a book of 100,000 words or 2,000 words. I’ve been encouraging you to write and publish short stories, and short nonfiction too.
Just add an excerpt from a longer book to the back of your short book: that’s marketing. You’re using one book to sell another.
Of course, you can also add a link to your mailing list, or to your blog, if you’re an author who faces marketing squarely.
2. All together now: bundles, anthologies, and other freebies
The bundle train has been rolling along for a couple of years now, and shows no sign of running off the tracks. If you join self-publishing groups, you’ll find authors who are putting bundles together.
Bundles are set and forget. These bundles are either “sold” for free, or for a tiny amount. Nevertheless, some authors get good results from bundles and anthologies, over time.
Consider creating a bundle yourself — authors will be happy to join you.
3. Stealth marketing: the marketing you do when you’re not marketing
Are you a member of any forums or groups? When you join a forum, you can add your website address to your profile page. If you don’t have a website, add the link to your Amazon Author Page.
Some groups will even allow you add a signature file to your postings.
Pick groups you’d join anyway. They don’t need to be authors’ groups, they can be for any interest you choose.
You’re getting your name out without marketing per se, because you’re just interacting on the forum.
Painless marketing: a little every day
I’ve always said that you don’t need to invest huge time in marketing. How long does it take to write a tweet? Maybe half a minute.
A Facebook page might take you a little longer to set up, but once that’s done, you can pay for promotion, or you can write a post occasionally.
Post snippets of whatever you’re working on — many authors do this. They post a couple of sentences from a new chapter, or from a scene.
There are ways to market your books without marketing. Looking on the bright side, consider that when you’re rich and famous, you can hire a publicist. 🙂
Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.
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