Indie Book Marketing 101’s first rule is: use social media to promote your books. Thus directed, indie authors excitedly create flashy websites, engaging Facebook pages, Instagramaccounts, etcetera, and are then faced with the dilemma of how to ask their friends, family and anybody else who happens to land on one to buy their books.
For something that should be a pretty straightforward proposition, this can be embarrassingly awkward. The direct approach can come off as begging or, worse, like you’re trying to sell something. You are trying to sell something, but you’re desperate not to sound like it. So, rather than come out and ask folks to buy your books, you, as an indie author, post book announcements, updates and cute graphics, which get lots of “likes” but no “buys”.
Indie authors typically then seek the advice of other indie authors who, if they’ve hit on a system that works, are rarely in a hurry to give the most helpful stuff away; and end up pitching their books to a bunch of fellow authors who are all trying to do the exact same thing. Everyoneexchanges words of support, none of which results in a single copy ever changing hands.
The world, they say, is full of unrewarded genius. The world of writing is no exception. There are many fantastic writers out there who, through either lack of resources, knowledge or both, find themselves either self-publishing or going through small, independent presses. This is no reflection on the quality of the books they produce. Some are nothing short of brilliant. They’re just harder to find than books published through larger, mainstream houses.
For readers who like finding hidden literary treasures and supporting the authors who producethem, the best way to do that is to buy the books. Think about it: if everybody bought, say, two indie books a year, posted reviews and told others about the best ones, little-known authors might not be doomed to stay that way. Significant book contracts have come to authors whose independently-published books gained enough sales to get editors’ attention. And a single purchase is worth more than hitting all the “like” buttons in cyberspace.
Finally – and this may come as a shock – you will be doing indie authors a bigger favor by buying their books from someplace other than Amazon. Surprised? Don’t be. The competition for position on Amazon is mind-boggling, and works aggressively against indie authors. Amazon, like most places, also makes money from advertising, and since indie authors generally don’t have a lot to spend on Amazon ads, they don’t get nearly enough exposure to be helpful. Other online booksellers, after selling a few copies of an indie book, are more likely to take notice of it, and position the book so that more readers are likely to see it. The more places a book is sold, the more exposure both book and author are likely to get. Those authors and indie publishers will thank you for it.
Joel Bresler is the author of the forthcoming Bottomless Cups.
Joel Bresler is the author of Letters to be Read in a Heavily British Accent, Sunderwynde Revisited,Sunderwynde Revisited Againand The Moskowitz Code. His latest humorous novel Bottomless Cups is scheduled for release February 27, 2020.