Publishers employ whole departments to market their writers’ books – though I hear they are not as proactive as in the ‘olden days’. As an indie author none of this is available; we are on our own to promote our work
Marketing is a skill learnt on degree courses. A science of psychology, knowing to whom, where and when to pitch the product. They send out review copies to other authors who might be favourably disposed to that kind of work. The best quotes are then featured in adverts. A huge boost. This is not being cynical; it is what has to be done. No one is going to search out a book they have no knowledge of; where would they find it amongst the myriad books on those shop shelves? It has to be put out there in the public’s eye, with enticement.
To promote my own work is something I balk at. I am a creative person whose skill is making stories with imagination, playing with words, going off into a make believe world, bringing characters to life out of thin air. Plugging goods is a different craft. Something more pushy, pressuring, blatant, in your face.
My completed work is precious; it has been my world for a long time, a great deal of myself, my skill and emotion has been invested in its coming to life. The characters are real, as if they are alive, they’ve become people I know. How can I risk other people’s disparagement of their story? But, and that is where I have to face up to marketing, is their story worth being told if no one reads it?
So with my publisher, Drew Westcott’s invaluable help, I must do better. We have created eye-catching covers, provided intriguing blurb. I have given review copies to people I know, many of whom have been kind enough to review on Amazon and Goodreads. And, even better, lent to friends with their recommendation. For that I am thankful – spreading the word. Goodreads Giveaways seem particularly successful. Not only do readers add the book to their shelf for possible future reading, if they don’t win there is the possibility they will buy at a later date. Those who win might review – I had an excellent one for The Angel Child – and also might lend on.
We know that 11.5% of authors are able to live on their earnings. Writers live for the love of what they do. Is that my continual excuse for not getting out there and shouting louder about my novels? Yes and no. but I could definitely do better.