I feel guilty every time I log onto Facebook. Another author I know is constantly posting to pages – all sorts of pages – and I get notified every time it happens. It makes me feel inefficient. I might post a couple times a week – to a select few sites – and 90% of the time, I’m just commenting on something instead of posting about my books. It’s the same on Twitter. My blog posts are generally related to being an indie author because posting about my books usually doesn’t occur to me. Obviously, the other author and I have different goals.
As an indie, not only do I write books, I have to coordinate the cover design (or do it myself), editor, formatting, and promotion of my work. If that isn’t enough of a to-do list, I have to maintain my online presence on my blog(s), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon (including the international sites). I’m pulled in ninety directions just to launch my book. BOOK – as in singular product.
Yes, it would be great to launch one book and have it succeed beyond my wildest expectations – but how much better would it be to have three or four books which were earning money? What about nine or ten?
That’s my real issue as an indie author. Do I want to launch one book – investing all of my time and profits in that singular work (because I can advertise it all over the place for a fee), or do I keep my focus on writing my next book? I choose option B – because my goal is to write many books. I don’t even want to write just one series. I want to write and market in the most efficient way possible for me. It needs to be a way that meets my goals as an indie.
So what makes a marketing strategy effective for me?
It has to be quick. I’m not interested in posting to fifteen sites every day because on a good day, I only have an hour or two of solid writing time. If I’m marketing for five or ten hours a week, I have no time to write the next book. If I had more time to market, I might…but it’s equally possible that I would just devote that time to writing more.
It has to be fun. As an indie, I have a wonderful opportunity to create the career I want without having to conform to the conventions that make traditional work…well, work. Feeling like I have to do something sucks all of the joy out of it and then I just avoid the task.
It has to be low-cost or even free. At this point, I’m just not interested in spending all of my profit on marketing. I’d much rather spend it on cover design (which might be marketing in some people’s eyes) or another service that frees me up so I can write more. What brings in money is book sales – and I’ve noticed that the thing that boosts sales is running a promotion – free or 99 cents – and letting other people do the marketing for me. I’m amazed every time I do a free or 99 cent promotion and find out I have more mentions on Twitter…it’s free marketing!
Indie authors need to decide what their goal is. Mine is to spend as much time as possible writing books. I love the process. I love the quiet escape writing provides. I love being able to do it around the rest of my life. I also want to publish two books a year. If I don’t keep that goal in mind, then I start to feel the pressure to market, market, market – and if I’m doing that, then I’m not going to meet my real goal.
As to the frequent posting of books some other authors do, I’m sure it’s fun for them and they have the time to devote to it. The challenge for me has been to create what I want, in a way it works for me, and without comparing myself to other authors who have different objectives. By keeping my goals in mind, I’m maintaining focus so I can achieve my aim without feeling that I should be doing something that takes me away from the thing I love doing.