Another Wednesday, another series!  For the last eleven weeks, we have been examining the missteps that can land a self-publishing author in hot water.  And hot water can be dangerous!


You’re an indie author who’s recently published a new book, and you’re committed to marketing in the most serious way–doing what you can to ensure your book sales reflect the same hard work that you put into the crafting of your book itself.  What next?  Getting started is often the hardest part, in the same way that staring at a blank page is enough to give me writer’s block on the spot.  We’ve spent time examining the benefits and risks to a couple of false starts, and we’ve discussed the relief that comes with knowing you have permission to make mistakes … and in knowing that every writer, whether midlist or a blockbuster success, has made them.


Mistakes aren’t the end of the story!  This fact is an unassailable truth.  At the same time, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between an honest mistake or a misstep … and deliberately ignoring the reality of a situation.  Remember how I mentioned that hot water can be dangerous?  I’m writing this episode just hours after a man fell into a Yellowstone hot spring in the Norris Geyser Basin–neither the first nor the last fatality to take place in our National Parks this year.  Every year, several people slip over the edge of the Grand Canyon and fall from cliffs in Glacier National Park, despite clearly posted signs stating the dangers these areas have to offer.  What’s the connection to self-publishing?

Paying attention to the signs can save you from disaster.  

You’ll be able to spot the difference between a misstep and regular self-delusion by paying attention to your decision-making process.  Is there a pattern being established?

Today I begin a new series, a mirror image of our last: we’ve looked at ten of the most important marketing missteps to avoid in order to avoid disaster–working with the negative things in life–and now we will examine positive steps–master strokes–that can ensure your success.

The first master stroke?

Be all ears.

baby foxes

By which I mean: Cultivate an attitude of respect towards and listen with sincere interest to the stories of other authors, marketers, and industry professionals.  And most importantly, keep your mind open to what they have to say.  There’s a very real difference between appearing to listen, and actually allowing your own opinions to be modified by the shared experiences of others–and I promise you, your marketing will be MUCH more effective if you internalize the successes and failures that you haven’t encountered yet … but others have.

I think a lot of self-publishing authors are incredibly humble.  I have certainly met dozens upon hundreds upon thousands of authors throughout my decades working with them who are willing and eager to mentor new or struggling authors, and I know for a fact that you can access still more wisdom born from experience just by throwing a couple of keywords into a Google search engine or browsing the archives of any number of self-publishing-centered blogs.  There’s uncountable gigabytes of wisdom at your fingertips, and the first marker of master marketers is the metaphorical size of  their ears.

Get listening!

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, 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, 10:00 AM

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