Indie Publishing is a journey. Every day I learn something new, often something I didn’t know that I didn’t know. Exactly a year ago I published a blog post “Indie Publishing: Part Five – The Belly of The Whale” (it’s still live on WordPress and you can read it here, as well as Indie Publishing Parts One through Four). That was the last time I discussed my author journey in a public forum on the internet. Last year readers told me they’d like to hear more about my adventures in Indie Publishing, so I think today is a good day to revive the subject.
This time last year The Kingston Chronicles had been available for over six months and I wasn’t sure where to go from there. It was a nerve-wracking time for me. As I wrote then, once your book is out in the world you lose a degree of control over it. You’re no longer dependent on yourself. You’re dependent on people reading your work, buying your work and reviewing your work. You’re dependent on readers (hopefully) liking your book enough to recommend it to other readers. I think it might be the hardest part of the journey.
Marketing is hard and I didn’t have a background education in the subject to help me know where to start. Let me say one thing right from the get-go: if you’re planning on being an Indie Author, invest time in learning marketing. You don’t necessarily have to get a degree in the subject, but it is an investment you’ll want to make. I’ve been learning on the fly, which hasn’t been ideal, but everything I’ve learned so far has helped me in one way or another.
I’m going to preface this next section with a disclaimer. I am not being paid or influenced to endorse any persons or products in this post. The below mentioned goods and services are people or resources that have personally helped me, and that I think may be able to help you. I am not making any money from this post, I am simply sharing my experiences.
So how have I been teaching myself marketing? I’ve been reading as many books as I can lay my hands on, listening to podcasts till my ears bleed and learning from people who are in my industry. I’ve not limited myself to books and podcasts solely focused on book marketing either (although those have top priority) because I think that every bit of knowledge will help me, plus I do the social media marketing for my husband’s business as well.
Maybe you’re thinking “Oh my god how do you have the time?”, or “That sounds awesome where can I go to learn these things too?” Let me say, I’m no expert but I’ve stumbled onto a few people who are, so I’ll share some links to those resources in a moment. In answer to the first question: You make the time. I used to hear that all the time from smarter people than me (authors like Stephen King have similar quotes being posted on social media almost daily) and I would think, “That’s all well and good but I work full time, I have a house to run, and I have people who need me.” And you know what? I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to be. I wasn’t happy with my “day job” and I wasn’t happy with the lack of forward momentum in my writing career. Then one day, I was listening to an interview with Sheri Fink. I can’t quote her verbatim, but she made a comment to the effect that if you have goals in life (no matter what they are) then every decision you make needs to get you at least one step closer to your end goal. It changed my life.
It was not new information, but Sheri presented in a way that it hit home. So, I make the time. I still work a part time day job, and I help my husband with his business, but I multi-task. I’m not great at it, for example I can’t listen to a podcast while I write and do either effectively, but I can listen to a marketing podcast while I’m driving, or doing the dishes, or folding the laundry. When I need a break from screen time, because my back hurts or I’m getting a headache, I lay down on the couch with a marketing book and I learn. Much of my Indie Publishing journey over the last year has been working on manuscripts and learning.
So where am I learning these things? Two of my favourite podcasts are the Author Like A Boss Podcast by Ella Barnard (you can visit her website here), and the Book Marketing Show Podcast with Dave Chesson (you can visit his website here). Both podcasts are available for free on iTunes. Now that I don’t have an iPhone, I had to download the app to my desktop and the only drawback is I must be sitting at my desk to listen to them but the information they provide more than makes up for it. I often listen to them while I work on my own marketing. I also listen to several podcasts that are available on both iTunes and Spotify including Socialette by Steph Taylor, The Creative Penn Podcast by Joanna Penn and The Marketing Book Podcast by Douglas Burdett (which focuses on books about marketing, not how to market books). I’m also keen to try the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Marketing Podcast because I’ve heard tons of good reviews of it (it’s available on iTunes).
Some extremely useful books I’ve read recently, and for an Indie Author I can’t recommend them highly enough, are Done in Three Months, Start Marketing Your Business and Build Your Author Website all by Ella Barnard. These are available through her website as well as Amazon. When I bought my copies, they were less than $5 AUD each for the Kindle editions. They are well worth the investment, and I’ve spent more on going out for a meal or buying a single cup of coffee. She markets them as “for less than the price of a cup of coffee” and she’s not lying. Another author whose work has helped me is Russell Nohelty (view his website here). His book Sell Your Soul Making Great Content is well worth a read.
I’ve also joined several Facebook groups directed at authors helping each other learn to market and better their writing. Both Russell and Ella have Facebook groups devoted to helping authors and they have been a valuable resource to me. If you’re following this blog looking for tips then I seriously recommend you check out the resources I’ve mentioned above. If you’re reading this blog because you’re interested in knowing more about the difference between Indie Publishing and Traditional Publishing, then I hope you’ve learnt something new today. Me, well I’m going to leave you here for today and dive head first back into editing Samhain Sorcery and working on my next manuscript. I hope you’ve enjoyed the post.