Chances are, you’ve probably already experienced the very real struggle that is the Marketing Blues––that nebulous cluster of miseries and disappointments that are unique to the self-publishing experience. Going through the publishing process alone––much less the marketing one that follows––is bound to feel isolating or solitary at times. After all, you’re doing a Big Thing indeed in self-publishing your book, and you’re investing a lot of elbow grease.
So how best to beat the blues? Here are six tips to get you started:
- FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE: Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? But it’s much, much harder than a simple phrase suggests: altering your perspective and slimming down your method to focus on the things you’re doing well–this is hard, hard stuff. When I use the word “focus,” I mean it in both an emotional and a practical sense; you can’t afford to waste time on marketing strategies that you have already tried repeatedly in several different ways. (This is, after all, the definition of “insanity.”)
- KEEP WRITING: We’ve said it before here on Self-Publishing Advisor, but we should say it again: your best advertisement and your best marketing strategy is to write the next book. Don’t lose what you love most in the midst of the marketing frenzy, and don’t allow the publication process and everything that goes along with it to lead you away from the person you want to be: an author. Keep doing what you love; readers are drawn to that authenticity … not to mention the probability that they’ll have more to read from you in the future!
- THINK LIKE A READER: Your readers aren’t agonizing over the gaps in your marketing strategy that they can’t see; and they’re definitely not looking for an author who isn’t listening to them and what they want. They’re simply eager to discover new and wonderful things, to fall in love with the brave new worlds they find between the covers of a book. And so, if you think like a reader, you’ll find new ways to put your book in front of fresh eyes day after day without fail. Engage with your readers and demonstrate you’re not just another author looking to push your own sales! How to do this? Reach out to them where they live––on social media, or elsewhere.
- TREAT YOURSELF: What’s fun for you? Do that thing. You can find ways to make your own passions intersect with your marketing strategy, sure, but if it’s not fun for you … it probably isn’t going to be fun for your readers, either–especially when we’re talking about what you put out through social media. Ultimately, anecdotal evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the most sustainable marketing strategies are the ones that authors enjoyed implementing. And sometimes, the only way to rescue a deadly dull one is to break the mold a little bit.
- DON’T FIXATE: I’m talking about reviews, folks. And other things, too. But this principle applies to authors who have mostly positive OR mostly negative OR even very mixed reviews (on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, and elsewhere). Here’s a fact you should hear repeated often: accumulating positive reviews isn’t worth sacrificing your own emotional health over. I’m not saying that reviews aren’t an important––an incredibly important––part of any decent marketing strategy. I’m saying that fixating on any single aspect of the process can be toxic, if it tarnishes your enjoyment of the self-publishing experience.
- FIND YOUR PEOPLE: Communities of like-minded individuals are our safe-havens, our ports in the storm. There are countless self-publishing-centered communities out there on the web and in the offline world, and most of them are so easy to join and so welcoming that it seems almost a crime not to join one right away! (It’s not a crime, I promise. Especially if you’re not yet ready for others to read your work.) If you’re feeling blue and struggling your way through the process of marketing your self-published book, having the emotional support of your fellow writers and drawing upon their infinite wisdom born from personal experience may be exactly what you need to kick your own experience back into gear!
Of course, I rather hope that you don’t ever experience the Marketing Blues. I know that escaping unscathed is rather unlikely, but having been there, I know what it’s like. It’s rough. It is also, however, temporary. It will pass … and we will still be here, you and I, doing what we love.
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.|