So, your beloved novel, your fifth limb so to speak, is suddenly no more; its out there in the real world in front of the general junta, to be read & hopefully liked? But hang on! How do you actually change overnight from being an Author Avatar to pimping your book? I have with me, well-known Indie author David Biddle to help steer you towards finding your inner marketer and feeling good about it! Over to you David:
Being an Indie Writer is quite a lot of work. You need to come up with a manuscript first. Then you need to make it perfect (no typos, grammatical mistakes, or formatting problems, etc.). And then you need to publish the manuscript — which means it becomes a book and is “out there.”
Once your work is “out there,” of course, the fun begins. So many Indie writers utterly hate marketing and sales. All the online support websites for Indies talk about the need to establish a platform. They tell you, in essence, that you need to create a fan base. You need a hub website, a blog, some sort of sales link page, sample chapters, maybe giveaways, a calendar for personal appearances, guest blogs, etc., etc. “Oh, my!”
Writers sit in rooms by themselves or shut out the world with ear-buds and music at the coffee shop in order to create their books and stories. Making a big deal out of oneself is not supposed to be part of the job. (If it is, more power to you).
There’s the other side of the equation, though. You’ve published a book. It’s easy to think of it as your baby. You bore that cute little thing into the world. You want folks to read it…well, you want them at least to buy it. Hopefully they’ll read it. If you don’t get serious about marketing and sales, what’s going to happen to that piece of yourself that you put out there?
This is a painful reality for most of us. We don’t really understand it until we have our first book in the marketplace. We’re so busy writing then producing and publishing that we don’t realize what’s coming until it hits us right square in the gut. “Oh, crap, I gotta make a big deal out of myself!”
This is where you need to ask yourself a question. If your name is on the cover, are you now dangling in the wind hoping people will pay attention to you? Did you really put yourself out there?
I have writer friends who disagree strongly with me here, but the way I look at it is that I didn’t put myself out there. All I did was put a book out there. I busted my butt to make it the best product I could, from conception to finished product. I totally love that book (I also hate it). But somewhere between when I hit enter to log it into the Kindle Store and when I wake up the next morning to see my book has a page of it’s own, that book loses its intimate connection to me. It’s not a part of me. It’s now a part of the world.
If you have told your story with love and compassion for the reader; if you truly think the world wants to know this story you have concocted out of nothing; if you slaved away for an ungodly amount of time to make the reading experience as good as you could, then how can you think what you wrote still belongs to you? It is a gift. Yes, you charge money for it, but you don’t own that story anymore. It is owned by the person who buys it and reads it. If you can understand that, then, and only then, are you ready to be an Independent Author. And then, and only then, will the idea of marketing and sales make sense. It won’t be easy, but it will be logical and obvious.
It’s a good book, right? You want people to buy it. You’ve put it out for them to own. So get to work. Build that platform, start blogging and tweeting like a crazy fool. Give the darn thing away. Raise the price. Lower the price. Talk about yourself. Get a makeover so you look fabulous for the video trailer you’re going to do. Pay a professional photographer for the perfect headshot.
If you believe that your book is out there and you want people to make it part of their lives – welcome it into the family – then all that primping and posturing, all the sales and marketing work will be worthwhile. Because, after all, none of this was ever about you, was it? It’s about the story. It’s about that idea you had one day long ago. And now it’s out there. You’ve given it to the world. Your job now is to get people to pay attention…and then to start all over again with your next idea and your next draft. And so it goes. Being an Indie couldn’t be any easier.