Marketing Tips for Indie Authors

Since publishing my debut novel on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook, I've pretty much relied on word-of-mouth to sell and market it. I've done pretty well with sales, but not as well as I'd like or even hoped. While I know that becoming an overnight sensation is rare, there was a part of me that hoped I'd be one of those rare cases. I still hope that it will happen to me, but in the meantime I've been doing some research on marketing, specific to the Indie Author/Publisher, in the hopes that I can facilitate the overnight sensation blitz happening.

Twitter/Facebook/Social Media: Absolutely a must. In today's society where people post about their dinner plans, their parent's unfairness or their boss's funny antics, it's not unreasonable to expect Indie Authors to market their merchandise using social media. And while social media can certainly be a boost, it's important to know that spamming the twitterverse or facebook nation is not the way to go about it. From everything I've read, it's most important to build a relationship with your fans and readers. And by doing that, you'll make them want to buy your book and/or follow you to the ends of the Earth.

Blog: Another must, but less important than social media. With a blog, you can find your voice and develop a deeper relationship with your readers and fans than a 140 character count tweet can accomplish. Once you find your voice, stick with it, across all forms of social media and blogging. And figure out what you want your blog to be. An important first step, in my opinion. Do you want to invite readers into your everyday life? Do you want to invite them to the trials and triumphs of your writing career? Do you want to invite them into an occasional funny thought or anecdote? All of the above? Or do you have a whole other idea of what you want your blog to say and be about? Whatever you decide, be sure to stick with that voice.

Business Cards: A fun, inexpensive way to get the word out to people who might not otherwise hear about your novel. Make them simple but attractive. Be sure to have your name, contact information (twitter, facebook, email, website), and a tag line that not only identifies what you do, but what you write. On the back, include the cover photo for your novel and a QR code for where it's for sale. It's an easy way for potential readers to access your book and purchase it. Companies like Vistaprint and GotPrint offer many discounts and inexpensive ways to get business cards. Once you have them, put them to use. Leave a couple with your server at restaurants, leave a small stack at your local library, hand them out to people that you've spoken to about your book. Anytime you mention your book to someone, you should pass them a card. They'll remember the conversation and once they see your card again, they will be more likely to purchase it as well.

Book Review Sites: Submit your novel to free book review sites. There are several sites that promote only Indie Authors, and those are the best ones to start with. If they choose your novel to review, think of all the fans/readers that will learn about your novel and be more inclined to purchase and read it for themselves. Once you've exhausted the Indie Book Review sites, then you can move on to the regular book review sites.

Meet the Author Events: Check with your local library and bookstores. Most are willing and even happy to help out a local author. If you have copies of your novel, bring them and do a signing. If you're an ePub author, consider printing out copies of your book cover, along with the QR codes and your contact info. You can "sign" those copies and bring awareness to your novel. Ask if they have a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter that they can advertise your event in, and if they advertise in the local or regional paper. Be sure to advertise these events yourself on your blog and social media, and mention it to people you speak and pass your business cards to.

Do you have some marketing tips that I've missed? Please feel free to share!

Now I'm off to find my own voice and decide what I want this blog to be about...

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