Indie Marketing — Where to Begin?

It’s time to get serious about marketing my latest novel, and that would be Turn on No-Bridge Road.  By now everyone probably knows that indie publishing is the hip phrase for self-publishing.  When you choose to go the print-on-demand route, having your book printed by a service such as CreateSpace and sold by Amazon, it means, among other things, that you are pretty much on your own when it comes to indie marketing.  No one explains exactly what to do first, although many websites offer plenty of ideas and choices, and even online webinars.  It’s clear that an indie author has to let readers know about his/her book if they expect to sell it, but where do you begin the marketing?  And how?  And when?  It’s really overwhelming.

If you follow my posts, you may have been wondering where I’ve been these last six weeks.  There is no other way to put it but that I’ve been lost and alone wandering through  the indie marketing maze.  I’ve never stopped thinking about selling this novel, although  I’ve taken time off to enjoy the holidays and days between with my family and friends.  But during this period of setting aside my fourth novel, ignoring my blog, baking cookies, wrapping gifts, and sending Christmas cards, I’ve managed to begin the chore of indie marketing by accomplishing the following:

1.  Submitted my files to CreateSpace and received a printed proof copy — looks great and paperback copies are ready to go.

2.  Ordered a number of print copies and distributed them to a group of beta readers who have agreed to write a review on Amazon after I give the go-ahead for sales channels to be opened, which I did this morning.  The book will be live on Amazon in a few days but it will be several weeks before the other channels, like Barnes and Noble, will be available.

3.  Sent the book file to R.C. Butler, www.bulldogpress.ca to be formatted for most ereaders (Kindle, iBookstore, Nook, Sony, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, and even eBookPie).

4.  Contacted www.BookBaby.com and set up an account, uploading my newly formatted e-files.  They are now in the process of making ebooks available to the book sellers mentioned above, which takes several weeks depending on the seller.  For an upfront fee of $99, BookBaby will also handle the accounting from all the sellers, sending me royalties monthly as they come in.

5.  Spent a day creating a press release and a sell sheet.  Dana Lynn Smith, www.The SavvyBookMarketer.com has many great marketing suggestions on her website and provided me with all I needed to be able to tweak these marketing tools for a fiction title, including a template for the sell sheet.  I highly recommend her site for anyone seeking info on writing, publishing, or marketing.

6.  Made a list of Virginia weekly newspapers where I’ll send the press release when I’m certain the Amazon sales channels are open.  I also considered the options for free and/or a paid national press release service; I got very little feedback on this when CreateSpace sent a national press release for The Lees of Menokin, so probably will not do this.

7.  Discovered how to use bit.ly, http://bit.ly.com to create shortlinks which can be useful to provide a shortened URL for long website addresses.  This is important when tweeting (only 140 characters allowed) or on your Facebook author page to direct readers to your blog or another site.

8.  Several of the author help websites I follow suggest sending your novel to a professional reviewer; one of them recommended www.bookpleasures.com.  An email to Book Pleasures brought a quick reply.  For a nominal fee my book has now been read, will be reviewed, with the review cross linked to an E-interview for which I’ve answered questions about myself and my writing.  Both the book review and author interview will be posted to the Book Pleasures website, the American Chronicle family of 21 online news magazines, WryteStuff.com,  Examiner.com, and others.

9.  Lastly, realizing how important my own website is to marketing my indie books, I’ve spent considerable time deciding how to improve it.  I have a clear plan regarding what I want to achieve, including making it possible to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books directly from me by making payment through PayPal; this in addition to the link that takes you directly to my Amazon sales page.  My next step is to find the right person to help me achieve the updates I have in mind.  I’ve discovered some things are worth paying for!

10.  Yet to do:  Arrange for a January local book launch/signing.  Send book release emails to everyone on the list I’ve compiled.  Mail those press releases.  Get my website updated and work on my Facebook page.  Investigate (always time consuming) free and paid sites that promote ebooks.

I have amazed myself with this list!  It seems I’ve been indie marketing Turn on No-Bridge Road even while I’ve enjoyed a bit of a rest from my normal days of six or so hours of immersion in fiction writing!  Perhaps this will be a helpful list for some other indie authors out there.  It will surely help me next year when it comes time to do it all again for novel #4, Timothy Darling and the Girl in the Sailboat.

Just took a quick look at my December post a year ago, “Steps in Selling a Book”.  Wow!  I’ve learned a lot this year.  I guess I’m not quite the newbie to all this indie stuff as I was way back then.  Can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring.  I’m sure to learn something else new — becoming more WordPress proficient would be nice!

Happy New Year everyone!