Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Insecure Writer and Marketing



Today is August's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.


Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Marketing.

Since I’m still working on my first book, I have yet to enter the world of marketing. But I’ve read (and bookmarked) so many articles on the subject, I’m becoming a little intimidated by the whole process. So intimidated, in fact, I almost want to leave my book unfinished, just so I don’t have to face the marketing bit.

 Some authors claim Twitter and Facebook are great ways to market your books. Others say it hasn’t helped them at all. Goodreads is supposedly a good place to begin, but who knows if that will change in a week or two. Giving books away for free on Amazon to jump start purchases doesn’t sound like it works all that well anymore, at least according to some recent articles. What does seem to work (at least so far) is offering your first book for free so that happy readers can buy more of your other books.

And that tactic is what leaves me with an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Because the advice I’ve come across most often is that there's no point in marketing your books until you’ve got several of them available for purchase. You’ll get the most bang for your buck if the reader who enjoys one of your books can buy more of your books immediately. Otherwise, they may forget about you by the time your next book comes out.

And for a slow writer like me, that’s a daunting hurdle. I mean, how many years will it be before I get to that point? It already feels as though it’s taking a lifetime to finish my first book. How many times will I have to be reincarnated before I have three books available for purchase? Books may not even exist by that point in time!

Okay, maybe I'm overreacting a little.

So I ask you, fellow insecure writers, how do you plan on marketing your books?

28 comments:

  1. Hey, Ken. Hi from ISWG. I don't think you are over-reacting. It is intimidating and daunting to think about all of that. But I tell myself that I just need to get my story down on paper first and worry about all that yucky stuff later. Good luck!

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    1. That's how I'm trying to approach it, but deep down I know the marketing is coming. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Ummm, is it fair to say that I have NO IDEA how I'll market my books once I'm selling them? I also don't plan to go it alone, but you never know, I could change my mind.... maybe.


    Okay, marketing scares the Qs off my keyboard.

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    1. We'll have to compare notes once we both have books ready to sell.

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  3. Hi Ken. I hate the marketing side of publishing but nowadays that's what we have to do. I honestly don't know if FB sells books - I don't honestly think it does, but publishers want us to have social network platforms and blogs so we can "interact" with our readers (except all my followers seem to be writers LOL). Giving your book away free will work if you have a lot of novels out there, it's true. But also I believe cheaper books (i.e. under 5 euros, for example) sell much better than overpriced ones. Good luck!!!

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    1. I'm on both Facebook and Twitter, but I don't really do too much with either of them right now, mostly due to a lack of time.

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  4. I'm a slow writer too. That's why after I finished my last novel and started getting some positive reaction from agents I got a little worried. I actually stopped querying and decided to get a second novel written before I query again, just so I'll have another project ready to go. Is that insane? Maybe. But I needed to buy myself the time to later write the third novel. If I end up self-publishing, I'll have a trilogy available, and that might be easier to market. Yes, I'm a crazy writer. :P

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    1. I'm not sure that qualifies as insane, although some might say all writers are insane by definition. I wouldn't wait too long before querying again, however. Even after an agent picks you up, it will still be quite some time before you book gets published.

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  5. Oh, good luck to you! My recommendation? Try out about a half dozen and pick the two or three that seem to 'make you friends' and help you be comfortable fastest and stick to THOSE. You'll want to be the other places, but you can't be expert in all of them. Best to master just a couple. (I like blogging and facebook, but it is NOT a once size fits all thing)

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. Now I just have to figure out which mehtods I'm most comfortable with. Glad you stopped by.

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  6. It is definitely daunting and there are a lot of different perceptions out there about the best ways to market a book. I really don't have a plan in place, other than my twitter, fb page, and the blog.

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    1. As long as you're already comfortable with those avenues, you're probably well on your way to being able to promote your book. thans for stopping by.

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  7. First let me say: I love your picture at the top!!!

    As far as marketing goes, I want to pull my hair out at times. Sometimes Facebook and Twitter will yield a sale or two and sometimes they won't. They say the best way is to keep pumping out the great books. Because the more you have, the more people will notice and want to try out previous books if they haven't read them. I'm in the same boat :)

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    1. Glad you liked the picture. As soon as I found it I knew I had to use it.

      I think you hit upon the real answer. Keep pumping out great books!

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  8. I'm right there with you on this one! I have NO idea what works best. Maybe it's different for everyone? I've also bookmarked lots of posts on the subject, even though I don't have a book out (yet!) We'll figure it all out!

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    1. You, Rena, and I are going to have to get together after we finish our stories and compare notes. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Pick your platforms and stick with them. I'm a blogger and Twitter dude. Google+ and Goodreads when I can.
    As for giving away that first book, everything I've read says that you shouldn't give one away unless you have others for sale. Then when they like the free one, there will be more to read - and purchase.
    One author friend released a couple short stories for free, building her audience, before launching her full length novels. And it worked, because she sells well.

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    1. I'm considering releasing some stuff on Wattpad at some point. Sounds like a fair number of writers get their start over there.

      You definitely have the blogging part of it down!

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  10. I haven't gotten to the marketing point myself, I'm still that hopeful writer with dreams. However, like most of the other commenters, marketing scares me a bit. I'm sure I could do it, but I just don't know how. For now, like others, I'm focusing on writing the best book I can, and hoping that the marketing will fall into place later when/if I find an agent/publisher.

    What does work on me in regards to being marketed to, are: free ebook promotions (that's how I get a lot of my Kindle books, and I will remember if I truly enjoyed an author and keep them in mind for later); hearing or reading good reviews on Twitter or Amazon--thoughtful, honest reviews, not all reviews are 5 stars and clearly from friends and family or undiscerning readers; and the quality of writing. I'm a sucker for a well-written book, so that's the biggest thing to me. I don't fall for the heavily marketed books out there, I search a little bit harder for something much more worth my time. So I'd encourage you to make your book the best you can before putting it out there, because if I read a book that isn't good quality, I'll pass on another from that same author, regardless of price or marketing. Quality first, and the rest will fall into place, I think. :-) Best of luck to you.

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    1. You're right about making the best book you can, but the next step is finding a way of getting that first book out there in front of the reader's eyes so that they can enjoy it and remember your name the next time they wish to purchase a book.

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  11. Interesting breakdown. I plan to market various ways, some on Twitter (but not overdoing it, of course), book blog tours, Goodreads, via my contacts in the writing world who are willing to host my cover reveal and book release news, etc.

    One thing I do when I find an author I like on Amazon (I read mostly Kindle ebooks) is click the little thing in the upper right corner of their author page that says, 'Email me when there are new releases from this author.' That way, I don't have to remember to go back.

    I've also done this with author websites - signed up for their newsletter or put their blog into a special folder in my blog reader. My point is, you could put a newsletter option to notify them of new releases and other important news.

    Don't get ahead of yourself. *shrugs* Some planning ahead is smart, but some things just have to work themselves out as you go.

    Great post. :)
    August co-host and IWSG #110

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    1. Yeah, but getting ahead of yourself is one of those things that make us writers so insecure. :)

      Thanks for co-hosting this months IWSG entries.

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  12. Hey, Ken!

    I just popped over to your other blog and can't believe what a genius you are! As somebody who struggled with chemistry, I'm totally coveting your brain right now!

    As for the writing, something tells me you keep going because your story won't let you quit. Marketing is a pain in the butt, but I keep thinking all my efforts are beginning to make a difference. So far, I've had the best luck on Goodreads. The moderators in my groups have been super helpful in gathering reviewers for my book. :)

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    1. I may be good at chemistry, but I'm still a babe in the woods as far as writing goes. So I can use all the help I can get.

      I haven't done much with Goodreads yet, but I plan to in the future. Thansk for stopping by and reading both my blogs.

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  13. Don't go there Ken! My panic ramblings always end with the inevitably destruction of our planet and extinction of mankind forever. Then I have to hide under my doona until I feel safe again ;)

    Marketing is a huge part of being a writer, but the good news is you'll be coming in at the right time - after everyone else has blundered through and made mistakes, so you don't have to. I think the key is be everywhere, but specialise in one platform, choose the one you enjoy and be yourself. Just talk to people - they like that :)

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  14. Ken,

    So good to see you. I'm a slow writer, too, and am working on several novels that require a lot more time and effort than pumping out an ebook. I'm meticulous and deliberate.

    However, that being said, I realize that part of marketing is putting yourself out there NOW, even before the books. Promote self, so that people will know who you are when the time comes. I don't mean OVERpromote...just make yourself known. I tweet very little, but I still tweet. I'm on FB. I go to websites and comment. My face is starting to be remembered. Creating my "platform" has begun. All without a published book.

    But I have to get a book out there! And I will. But I'm not going to compromise my novels for the sake of getting something published. What I've read and what I plan to do is write a series of simple novellas and epub them and give them away. If there's high demand, then I'll charge a nominal fee. The novellas will probably be three long fictional shorts in one book. Get a start that way. Then market via the internet, blog tours, word of mouth, etc.

    Anyway...that's what I'm going to do. And thanks for a well-written article. Pat on the back for the correct usage of "supposedly."

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  15. Oh gosh... this is something I'm so glad I don't have to deal with yet. Marketing scares me. But it's a necessary part of the process. I wish we didn't have to worry about it and all we had to focus on was writing... but not in today's industry. I share these insecurities with you, Ken!!!

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  16. Yep, I know exactly what you mean. I've got to be honest, I have 1800 followers on Twitter and I honestly don't think it's led to one sale (of my one novel, which I published in October last year). I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

    There seem to be a lot of writers on Twitter marketing to each other and not having any time left to read. I know I was like that for a little while. I'm now trying to shift that balance and spend more time reading and writing and less time tweeting. I'll probably lose a few Twitter followers but I'm not too concerned about that any more. ;-)

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