During the last meeting of the Gettysburg Writer’s Brigade, we talked about marketing for the independent author. While marketing for the mainstream author and indie author overlap, some differences exist. This is mainly because an indie author can develop longer-term marketing.
While your short-term marketing will generally be focused on promoting your most-recent book, your long-term marketing will focus on your author platform or brand.
The basic elements of your author platform will be your author website and a Facebook fan page. These are the first two places that readers will search for information about you as an author. They should find an active, up-to-date page that lets them know about you, your books, and what you are up to. A webpage can be developed easily with sites like WordPress or Wix, and the cost is inexpensive. The Facebook page can be created for free.
From this basic platform, you can begin to add in additional pieces. This include:
- Twitter – Visit it regularly to follow authors and readers. Tweet about your activities as well as your books. Readers want to feel like they know you and casual tweets are a way to do that.
- Blog – If you have more to say than can be said in 140 characters, a blog could be a good way to do that. It also allows you to delve deeper into a topic of interest.
- Podcasting – If you want to try a different medium to attract readers, try a podcast and fulfill your childhood dream of becoming a radio DJ.
- E-mail List – This is something that I wish I had started building years ago. Collect names of and e-mail addresses of your readers. That way, you can communicate directly with them with news and book deals. If you post on Facebook or even your blog, you never know whether your readers will see it, but an e-mail has a greater chance of being read.
The key for your long-term marketing to last long-term is to provide information of interest to your readers. While you can mention special pricing or promotions within your author platform elements, most of the information should be non-sales. You are trying to build name recognition and goodwill. Continually trying to sell your books through your blog, Twitter account, etc., will only cause people to tune you out and unfollow you.
As the name suggests, long-term marketing is long-term. Don’t expect immediate sales. Your goal is to get your name out there and at the top of people’s minds when they think about your genre.
You want everything to become an interconnected web where you start to do something in one area and causes something to happen elsewhere.
Here’s a recent example. I do a particular festival every year where I sell my books (short-term marketing). A couple years ago, I met an author and we talked during the show. These events are good places to network (long-term marketing). This author later reviewed one of my books on Amazon (long-term marketing) and gave it four stars. More recently, he saw me do a presentation on C-SPAN (short-term marketing) and decided to review the book I walk talking about (long-term marketing). Also, the C-SPAN presentation came from doing a book signing (short-term marketing).
Can you see how everything is connecting? In some cases, it took a couple years for something to happen, but it did. Hopefully, the review will spur some sales, just as the C-SPAN presentation did.
It may sound like a lot to do, but you have time. As an indie author, you can keep your book in print as long as you want. You don’t have to make a quick impact like mainstream authors do (although if you can, so much the better). Do a little bit every day. Write yourself a marketing “to-do” list. Once you work your way through the list, evaluate the results and create a new list based on those results.
Go for it!