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How do I go about it? Marketing/advertising is daunting

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by italian in japan, May 17, 2021.

  1. italian in japan

    italian in japan Dreamer

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    Ever since I started writing my book, despite the many challenges involved in making that idea become a story, the thought that always kept me up at night the most was how to advertise my book and how to promote myself as an aspiring author to a potential audience that does not know of my existence.

    The book is now in its final editing process. I will want to start a kickstarter campaign once it's ready to go, but in the meantime i decided to start a patreon page where i will post short stories, chapters of edited and unedited material, artwork and more. Essentially I want to write and want to reach as many people as possible.

    I have a very small following on social media. I do know some mildly popular streamers who are trying to promote my page. Nevertheless I really don't know how one goes from zero people knowing you exist to 5 people reading your work, to 10, to 100 to X.

    I will admit that even the simple concept of creating a newsletter is a little confusing to me me. where do I start? How do I grow it? Where do I reach out for people so that I can ask them an email to reach out to them?

    How have you guys done it? I would like to know of all of yours experiences, but I would probably be able to draw more from those of people who were or are in a situation similar to mine: you are not big on social media, no particular contacts with the editorial industry, do not have bags of money to spend with no risk (you see where I'm going with this).

    All help would be a great relief, since this part of the process is what has terrified me since the first word I put on that word document, and now that it's actually time to face the giant, I don't even have a stone in my sling.

    Thank you all!
     
  2. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    This is a very big set of questions with a whole lot of options and variables. There is no one way to market and we all - traditional or indie - have to work through trial and error to find what works for us.

    I'm going to recommend a Facebook group called 20Booksto50K. It's a group devoted entirely to the business side of publishing. They have a massive following and are well-modded. They also have a great many articles and spread sheets and in-depth discussions about the various marketing methods available. Before you come in with questions, it's recommended that you search the tags and threads, first. Chances are good that your question has been answered already.

    Good luck and grats on your book!
     
    italian in japan likes this.
  3. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    You could check out the facebook group 20BooksTo50K, which is dedicated to specifically this question, the business side of being an indie author.

    A few pointers, all with the caveat that I am only at the beginning (as in trying to find 5 people to sell my book to):
    write more books: it's easier to sell 10 books to one person than it is to sell 1 book to 10 people. Also, you will seem like a better author to readers who check you out if you have 5 or 10 books to your name than if you have only 1. Also, if you have a series of books, you can focus on selling book 1 and people (hopefully) move on to the next books in the series

    Remember that there is a difference between advertising and marketing. Advertising = paying a place to display your book. Marketing is making people aware of your book. If you have streamers talking about your book, that's marketing (and both great to have and something not many people have). If you would pay those streamers, then it would also be advertising.

    I'm not sure a kickstarter would work for 2 reasons: one, to have a succesful kickstarter you need people to find you. And getting people to take a chance on a kickstarter for a book is harder then simply taking a chance on buying a book off Amazon. And 2, sales rank. Assuming it's just as much work to get 1 person to buy the kickstarter as it is to get them to go to Amazon and buy it there, then sending them to Amazon is superior. Getting a sale on Amazon improves your sales rank. The higher your sales rank, the more Amazon will try to sell your book, the more they try that (at no cost to the author), the more you sell. And the more you sell, the higher your sales rank. So getting a sale in an online bookstore is always superior to getting the same sale somewhere else (even if that makes you more money).

    You need to decide if you want to be exclusive to Amazon (which has some benefits as being in their lending library) or if you want to publish in as many places as possible (going wide). The audience is about the same size for both (as in, for English books Kindle Unlimited sells as much as all the other stores combined). It's down to personal preference and how much effort you want to put into learning a platform etc.

    For newsletters, the go-to source for many people seems to be the book Newsletter Ninja. So you could read that. But basically, you create an account at a newsletter service (like mailchimp) and get people to sign up. Either by having a link in the back of your book (another reason why more than one book is a good idea) or by offering something of value. This can be something like a free novella, short story or even full novel, extra chapters, background stuff, all that sort of thing.

    Once you have your newsletter set up you can look for a service like BookFunnel or StoryOrigin, where you can set up the free story give-away, run promotions, swap newsletters with other authors (as in, you promote your book once and they do the same for you), join promotions from other authors and so on. Note, both are (partially) paid services.

    In the end, my experience is that you are pretty much hand-selling the first few books to people. Either with advertising or by actively searching for these people using things like newsletter swaps, facebook groups, promotions and so on.
     
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  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I second the above. More generally, start hanging out in groups that have to do with book marketing. Search Google, Facebook, Instagram, forums, all the likely suspects. Rather than look for a recipe for success, just start joining those communities. Spend time there. You will find that some things sound useful, some confusing, and some irrelevant. Six months later, what had been confusing will come clear but new things will be confusing. I'm six years into it and the cycle continues.

    And even after all that, getting from unknown to nearly unknown is a long process. Getting to well known (as in, a steady income stream) is nearly impossible. And getting successful (enough to quit your day job) is roughly on the same odds as making a professional sports team. IOW, it ain't easy.

    This is where I am: I have a couple of things I do. I won't say I fully understand them, but they seem to do at least some good and I don't have the heart to take on another platform. IOW, I have found a niche. Maybe one day I'll step beyond and try to add in FB, but right now it's Amazon ads, a newsletter, and a couple of services like Fussy Librarian to run promos. Each of those still have aspects that are mysterious or under-used by me.

    Here's an analogy. I decide I want to "learn computers." Maybe I learn enough to use a word processor and a spreadsheet and a browser. I haven't learned *everything* about my spreadsheet, but it's enough, and I don't care to learn how to do databases. At another level, maybe I learn all that, learn to make web pages with html, etc. At another level, I'm learning about Internet protocols, the seven layers of the OSI model, and the difference between packet switches and routers. At still another, I'm programming. Or I'm making circuit boards.

    "Learn computers" is roughly the same as "learn marketing". Just start learning. At some point you'll reach a comfort level (a discomfort level?) and will be satisfied. But join some communities. The worst thing to do is go it alone, or read a book and charge ahead. And yeah, that takes time. It would be better to have begun two years ago, but now is better than later!
     
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  5. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    This always gives me hope. :D
    142691358_10159803674859063_9171352675703370889_n.jpg
    There are a couple of things that have worked for us to help build our reputation and our audience. I highly recommend getting a website and naming it something easy for readers to remember, like your pen name. It will be your workhorse and should be the first thing that comes up in searches. Social media platforms come and go, and as a result maintaining a presence on them it like building in someone else's sandbox. At any moment, they can take it away. It happened with Myspace, it happened with Google+, and it will happen again. That being said, I established our domain name and our social media presences in 2013, four years before we released our first book. It helped. Just don't expect much loyalty from the companies that provide your chosen platforms. You don't want to hang everything on shifting sands.

    Also, participate in groups and on forums in your sub-genre. It's called 'finding your tribe' and it helps a lot to have friends - real friends - who understand the business and the craft of writing. These friends are your tribe and you will have each other's backs at release time, and just anytime it gets hard. Don't be spammy and don't be pushy. Just be authentic and you'll be fine.
     
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  6. italian in japan

    italian in japan Dreamer

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    thank you! i will do that :)
     
  7. italian in japan

    italian in japan Dreamer

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    This also helps a lot! I requested to be part of 20Booksto50k and I'm sure that is gonna be a good start. Those streamers are friends so it would be marketing. I thought kickstarter would be a good way to try and promote the book, even if the campaign fails (as it statistically might do), while amazon would still be viable, regardless of kickstarter.
    Thank you for your input!
     
  8. italian in japan

    italian in japan Dreamer

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    I definitely did realize that I should have started earlier. I was so focused on the writing and on NOT wanting to face this mountain that i procrastinated for too long.
    Thank you for your input. It makes a lot of sense and it helps
     
  9. italian in japan

    italian in japan Dreamer

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    The meme did give me some hope lol.
    funny you should mention a website. i actually have a couple of domains and a potential website. just need to decide what to actually put on there.
    it does seem that the key is to grow your reach/groups organically. i'll do just that. thank you for the advice and for sharing your experience!
     
    A. E. Lowan likes this.
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