What’s an indie writer to do?


CERTAIN STEPS are crucial for Indie authors.

It’s a simple list, which I do not tout as being complete.

1. Have a product to sell.

I knows this seems self-evident, but I see posts and discussion threads all the time where people get stuck on the notion of writing a book, but never write one.

Apart from that, Step One also dictates that the product, i.e., the book, must be a good one.  To qualify as a good book, at a bare minimum, it must be well-written, edited, formatted and have an attractive cover.

Also part of Step One is that an author cannot stop writing after she completes Book One.  A one book writer has much less chance to develop a strong readership than an author with multiple titles to her credit.  Multiple titles not only demonstrate to readers that the author is the real thing, but also show she has the determination it takes to write professionally.

And, of course, the primary corollary to Step One is: keep writing.

2. Make the product available for sale in every possible venue.

To take advantage of every venue, an Indie author should have her books available as eBooks, print books and audiobooks. 

I am catching up on Step Two now because I have focused on eBooks most recently and not worked other facets of the market as well as I should have.

However, with Create Space and Audiobook Creation Exchange (“ACX”) available to authors now (at least in the United States) I can see no reason why writers would not take advantage of print and audiobook formats.

Step Two is really as basic as: “You must be present to win.”

book marketing

3. Engage in constant marketing and promotion.

I’m not an advertising guy, so I may use “promote” and “market” somewhat differently than they do in the business.  But as I use the terms “promote” is a subset of “market.”

Marketing has to do with an author’s brand. Indie authors must do whatever they can to get their names out.  In the current digital dispensation this means utilizing social media such as blogs, Twitter, FB, etc. It also goes with out saying that an author needs an attractive webpage to call home.

Promotion is more focused than marketing in general.  It has to do with targeted attempts to build readers’ awareness of a specific book.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that if a book isn’t promoted, it won’t sell. This is a thorny problem for Indie authors because effective promotions are as rare as hens’ teeth.  But the author must search them out, research what works to sell books and set aside a budget to apply to promotions.

Old school approaches such as book signings, interviews, appearances as speakers at local functions and writers’ conferences are all valuable parts of promotion and marketing.

In other words “word of mouth” as it now exists in the book business is both virtual through social media and flesh and blood through personal appearances.

And perhaps the most crucial component of marketing and promotion is generosity. An Indie author should help other authors every chance she gets.  It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s good business.

Finally, an Indie author should reach out to book bloggers and anyone else who may provide reviews of her books. She should nudge her fans to write customer reviews because those reviews are an Indie writer’s bread and butter.

I said it was a simple plan.

I didn’t say it was easy.


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