Your book isn’t just a product, as neat and simple as that might seem to make things when it comes to marketing; it’s much, much more. It is, in every way and shape and form, an investment.
- you have already invested valuable time, energy, and other resources in writing it; and
- you will continue to invest valuable time, energy, and other resources in marketing it.
More importantly, however, you should constantly monitor how you are spending these resources in respect to spreading the word and promoting it to fans and followers and readers alike. In a impossibly cool and detached financial sense, you need to know when you’re spending more on your book than you should be––and then be prepared to take action. (Though, let’s face it, who of us is ever cool and detached about our precious offspring of the imagination? Not I.) The Return on Investment (ROI) of your book should always reflect a balanced approach and a sustainable increase of returns.
Welcome back to my series on marketing B.A.S.I.C.S.! This is the fifth in a series of blog posts where I tackle the fundamentals of marketing in hopes of making things a little more manageable for you, the self-publishing author. Four weeks ago I launched the series with this introductory post, followed by:
- B. “Building an Online Presence,”
- A. “Ascertaining Your Ideal Reader,” and
- S. “Selling readers ON your book––and not just selling your book TO readers.”
This week, as you might have guessed, we’re taking a look at:
- I. “Investing in a Little Advice.”
So, what happens when your investment isn’t paying off?
First off, I’d like to remind you that no matter what profit you make off of your book in financial terms, it’s an absolutely fantastic thing that you’ve done! You’ve written a book! You’ve published it! You’ve sent it out into the world for others to be changed by!
Secondly, I’d like to clear up a myth about self-publishing: you don’t have to go through it alone. Let me phrase it a little differently:
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
I wish I had known this sooner––I wish I’d felt convicted of the truth of this sooner. I’ll be the first to admit that one of the greatest appeals to me of self-publishing is that it provides a platform to and a haven for the fierce individualist, exactly the sort of person to incur the wrath of Traditional Publishing for wanting too much artistic control, among other things. But the truth of the matter is that self-publishing is for everyone, including the insecure first-time author, including the burnt-out and disillusioned veteran author, including the technologically-challenged author, including the risk-averse author, including authors who find themselves at the end of the rope and in desperate need of assistance.
The indie community isn’t just a community of self-assured and confident entrepreneurs; we’re far more diverse than that. And the indie community is a remarkably non-judgmental, unsnobby collection of people, in possession of vast and varied resources and an overwhelmingly supportive, generous spirit. I promise you, if you hop on to a forum or listserv or social media group dedicated to indie authors and pose a question, you will be inundated with advice and shared resources.
Of course, sometimes what you really need is targeted advice. If you have been posting promotional material to a blog or social media platform for a long time with very little engagement, or if you’ve been spending hours upon hours obsessing over marketing only to sell very few books, it’s time you sought professional advice. But where to begin? Even just a quick Google search for “Consultant for self-publishing a book” turns up “About 7,330,000 results,” which says a lot about the growth in this sector of the publishing industry––even once Google’s many duplicates, oblique references, outdated listings, and other “wrong” search results are set aside. Seven million results!
There are a lot of marketing consultation websites out there geared toward you, the self-publishing author, ranging from freelance consultants (including many who’ve transitioned from being publishing consultants within Traditional Publishing) to personal marketing assistants with hybrid/self-publishing companies. Freelance consultants can be excellent, but it’s difficult to know which ones have the know-how you need. The benefit of going through a hybrid/self-publishing company is that every consultant has been vetted for expertise, experience, and the quality of their insight. That’s a pedigree worth exploring.
No illusions here: when it comes to seeking professional advices on marketing your book, you’ll have to spend some money. Remember how I spoke about your book as an investment? So too any money you spend on marketing is the same. The only difference is, exchanging money to save yourself the time and energy and frustration of sorting out all the details on your own is what we might call a “fair market value.” It’s worth it, in other words, to see your book’s future set on a solid foundation and to use your time far more effectively in writing the next book.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠
|ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.|