Today’s guest post comes from Action Figures author Michael Bailey who takes time out from preparing book 3 in the series (Pasts Imperfect, available 27th September) to share his top 3 tips for promoting your book as an indie author. I’ll let Michael take it from here:
I suppose an introduction is in order. My name is Michael Bailey. I’m a working writer who, about a year ago, left my day job of 15 years working as a reporter for my home town newspaper to focus on my real passion, which is storytelling. I released my first novel, the YA superhero adventure Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, in September 2013, and as I write this, I’m working on the publicity campaign for book three in the series.
It’s taken me the year since book one’s release to get a good handle on what I need to do to promote my work, and in retrospect, figuring out how to spread the word was a far more intimidating prospect than taking that big leap of faith and releasing my work to the public in the first place. Writing a story? I knew how to do that. Promoting my story? I think the phrase “flailing around like a clueless idiot” would not be inaccurate, but I knew I had to figure it out if I ever wanted to sell my book in appreciable numbers.
I want to say right now that I am not an expert of the art of self-promotion and I’m not about to present myself as a marketing genius. My nuggets of wisdom are more copper than gold, but I’d like to think I’ve learned some useful information, and in passing it along I might help you figure things out faster than I did.
Action Figures Tip 1: Network, Network, Network
In the interest of keeping this article as tight as possible so you don’t all say “Screw this, I’m going to go watch cat videos on YouTube” in a fit of crushing boredom, I’m going to lump a lot of what I do under the broad category of “Network, Network, Network.”
You see, independent authors have a major resource at their fingertips, and that resource is called “other independent authors.” The indie author community is amazingly supportive, cooperative, and generous with their knowledge, and you can’t go wrong tapping this rich living database.
I recommend two particular Facebook pages as great starting points for getting to meet other writers and picking up a wealth of useful tricks and tips: Marketing for Authors and Kindle Authors Helping Authors.
Action Figures Tip 2: Use low cost newsletters
There are also countless websites, blogs, and e-newsletters geared toward promoting independent authors, and there are services out there that will fit any budget, even if that budget is the lint in your pants pockets.
BookBub – though highly recommended as an effective use of one’s advertising dollars – costs more than most indie authors’ budgets allow, but there are many other sites that will promote your book for free, or for a small fee.
The Fussy Librarian, one of my go-to e-newsletters, will get your book out to several thousand subscribers for as little as $3.
Action Figures Tip 3: Use Kindle Select Giveaways
As you research your options, consider doing something that seems at first glance counter-intuitive: giving your book away.
Amazon’s Kindle Select program allows users to periodically sell their e-books for reduced prices or give them away for free, and if you’re a first-time author looking to increase exposure, a brief and well-publicized giveaway could work wonders – especially if you’re planning a series. As the saying goes: the first taste is free, but after that, it’s gonna cost ya.
One important caveat: there is one universal truism about book promotion, and that is: there are no universal truisms about book promotion. That’s a pretentiously Zen way of saying that not every approach works equally well for every writer; what didn’t work for me might work very well for you and vice-verse, so be prepared to experiment until you find your marketing sweet spot.
I could go on and on, but I’ll put the brakes on here in the name of brevity (or something vaguely resembling brevity). I always love talking shop with fellow writers, so feel free to look me up at my website (innsmouthlook.com) and get in touch.
Michael Bailey is a professional writer from Falmouth, Massachusetts who kind of hates writing bios.
Michael has been a working writer since 1998 when he simultaneously (and at the same time) sold his first freelance article to Renaissance Magazine and landed a job as a staff reporter for the Enterprise Newspapers.
During his 15 years with the Enterprise, Michael served as the region editor and senior political reporter, and was the paper’s first blogger. His political and current events blog, Snark-Infested Waters, delighted and annoyed readers until 2013, when Michael left the paper to pursue his fiction writing career.
Over the years Michael has contributed several more articles to Renaissance Magazine and other local publications, and has since 2004 been a staff writer for two New England-based renaissance faire production companies: Pastimes Entertainment and the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.
Michael is the author of the Action Figures young adult series, and is a founding member of the New England Self-Published Authors Group, which is dedicated to supporting and promoting independent authors.