I’ve been wanting to share another tips list with you for a while so here are 11 things that have helped me on my journey as an Indie Author.
1 – Create An Engaging Newsletter – This will take time but is worth it. You want people to get excited when they hear your name, and you need a platform to direct market to readers that isn’t reliant on social media algorithms or companies.
2 – Create An Engaging Social Media Presence – This too takes time but is worth it. You want people to emotionally invest in you so they have an interest in continuing to follow your journey and to support you.
3 – Use Promotion Services – There are several services available to help you promote your books. The one I am most familiar with is BookFunnel but there are other options as well. Goodreads has their giveaway program. Some of these, like Goodreads Giveaways, you pay to use. Others like BookFunnel are a subscription service. I was certain I wrote about my experiences with Goodreads but I can’t find the article! I’ll add it to my list of blog topics for you. You can read about my experiences with BookFunnel here and here, if you want to learn more about it.
4 – Interact With People But Don’t Be Pushy – Whether in real life or online a decent chunk of my sales have come from simply talking to people. A lot of the time this has looked like being part of a discussion about books, finding out what kinds of books the person likes, then casually mentioning I’m a writer and that they might enjoy one of my books (especially if its on sale or free at the time). Remember, you’re extending an invitation to a party not expecting them to show up at a given time with a plate of food.
5 – Know When To Be Cheeky – Sometimes you just gotta be cheeky and take a chance. For example, a celebrity on twitter asked for book recommendations. One of my books was free at the time. I took the risk to be cheeky and let her know about the free book offer. Worst case scenario: she doesn’t like the look of it and doesn’t take it. Best case scenario: she loves it and raves about it on social media. I would say, don’t randomly just tell people about your book, but if they open a window you can definitely be the breeze that says, “Hey, you might be interested in this.”
6 – Never Stop Trying To Learn – I don’t care whether you’ve been writing for five months or fifty years. There is always something to learn. Indie Authors are running themselves as a business which means you need to constantly improve – technique, character development, marketing strategy, learning new book formats etc. Whether it’s the product itself or the business behind the product, there will always be something that can be improved or something new to learn.
7 – Find A Writer’s Group – Writer’s groups are great ways to learn, network, support each other, and keep motivated. Pick your group carefully and take the time to build those relationships. The best groups I’ve found have been a mix of people at different stages of their journey which has allowed an environment to teach and support each other. Building these relationships also increases your options for the future with more and more indie authors doing co-writing projects, book bundles, and more.
8 – Get A Good Editor – For Indie Authors especially it’s imperative to get a good editor. Even if you offer editing services yourself a second pair of eyes on the manuscript can pick up things you missed on your first 137 passes (okay a slight exaggeration) over the text. This is because as the author your brain knows what to expect to see and sees it. A fresh pair of eyes with no expectations can pick up on more and help bring your book to a more polished, professional product. It might take some time to find the right working relationship for you. I have paid for services from editors who were considerably not worth the money I invested in them. Ask your writer’s group friends for recommendations, especially from the published authors with well written books. Chances are they have someone great they can recommend.
9 – Market Research – Just like “never stop learning: continual market research is a must. You need to keep on top of trends in your genre(s) to know how to appeal to an audience and generate interest/sales. Compare book covers and find common factors/iconography. Read books in your genre to see what tropes are popular. Find what readers want and give it to them.
10 – Review And Refocus Frequently – Refine your approach. Release books with new covers if sales aren’t what you want. Not having any luck with Facebook marketing? Try Twitter or Amazon. Something that used to work isn’t? Change it up.
11- Be Kind To Yourself – Indie Authoring is hard. Pandemics are hard. Working day jobs and writing at night is hard. Most Indie Authors run their business solo and do the work of writer, editor, PR, advertising, merchandising, as well as write blogs and newsletters. That’s the work of at least five people, often in a few short hours outside of day jobs, family life, and other life pressures. Don’t beat yourself up too much if things slide due to life stuff like jobs, illness, divorce, kids, etc.