Originally published February 5, 2019
I’ve been asked by several people lately what my marketing plan is for Bits & Pieces. So, I thought — why not do a blog post on it? I think it’s something many writers struggle with so I wanted to share a bit of my experience.
Let me start by saying that I am not an expert in marketing by any means! I only hope to share my experience and what’s worked/not worked for me so far in my journey.
Bits & Pieces released in paperback on November 18th and in eBook on November 30th. Part of my strategy was to stagger my release dates so that I had good reason to post updates on social media about my book. One thing I’ve learned from immersing myself in the Writing Community on Twitter is that nobody likes to see constant tweets about your work unless there’s a reason for it. By staggering my release dates, I had a reason to share! I don’t know if this worked or not but I will probably do the same with my next book.
Prior to my release I worked extremely hard at building a community on Twitter. By this, I don’t mean following writers and trying to get followers in return. I mean building friendships, interacting, supporting other indie authors by buying/reading their books, beta reading, etc. I think too many people on social media want the benefits of it, in this example being sales, without putting anything into it or giving back in any way. Building community on social media is just like it is in real life. You will ONLY get out of it what you put into it. How can I expect other writers to read and review my book if I never read and review theirs? How can I expect people to follow me on social media if I never interact with them? I see many people talk about building a writing platform. For me, that platform is being a real, genuine person and treating others with the respect and kindness with which I want to be treated.
I am working to build a community on Instagram but it’s not coming as easy to me as I find the platform a bit more difficult to navigate. I created a separate Author Profile and Page on Facebook but I find that I rarely check it and tend to do more interaction and community building on my private Facebook account.
Since my release, I have scheduled at least one book signing or event each month and plan to do so through the spring if I can. Depending on the venue, these are not necessarily money-making ventures. For example, I held a book signing at the largest Indie bookstore in the area which was a dream come true. I only made about $1.00 per book sold when all was said and done because the bookstore took a percentage of the sales. But, some of these events are for the publicity. To get my name, face and book out into the world. So, while I may not make a lot of money from them, it is worth it to me. Other venues, allow me to keep all of my profits from sales.
Using the website indiebound.org, I made a list of all of the Indie Bookstores within my state. I then created a spreadsheet and started making phone calls asking them how they partner with local authors. Every single store I have called so far has responded positively. Some have allowed me to schedule events. Others have taken some books on consignment. A few have bought books for their shelves straight from the distributor. Everyone has been kind and helpful thus far. I still have many more calls to make but once I realized how positive the reception would be, it makes the rest of the list much easier to tackle. Eventually my plan is to reach out to stores around the country. But, for now, baby steps.
I have donated a few copies to different library systems and will be reaching out to libraries as well about potential author events or signings. My hometown library purchased copies directly from the distributor for their shelves after I was featured in an article in the newspaper there.
I’ve participated in every opportunity that has come my way to talk about my book. So far, this includes interviews for blogs, podcasts, and the interview with the reporter mentioned above (as well as some other secret ventures that I can’t yet announce). I’ve found out about these opportunities from social media. If someone says they are looking for people to interview for their blogs or podcasts, I respond with interest. I’ve discovered that no one is going to come knocking on my door, I have to seek out the opportunities. And, when they arise, I have to say yes. Something I’m determined to do throughout 2019, even if it’s out of my comfort zone.
Along the same lines, often times fellow writers on Twitter will ask for links to Indie Authors books because they are looking for their next read. I share my link whenever I see someone ask. Many times, this results in someone picking up a copy of my book.
I also wanted to expand my reach so I recently released Bits & Pieces on Audible which taps into an entirely different audience of readers. And soon, it will be released in hardback which I’m extremely excited about!
My publisher has also run some ads on Amazon that have resulted in a few sales but not many. I tried to get a Bookbub ad campaign recently and was rejected. I plan to keep trying each month, hoping that eventually they’ll say yes. I also started this website and blog. I try not to over-share so as not to bog down my followers.
Also, when someone reads my book and reaches out to me about it, I thank them. This may seem simple but many people forget to express genuine gratitude for people taking the time to read their work.
So, I guess in a nutshell my marketing plan is this.
~ Plug my book on social media when it’s relevant. Don’t spam!
~ Build a community on as many social media outlets as I can
~ Engage with others (writers and readers) OFTEN!
~ Seek out opportunities to get my book into the public even if I won’t make money
~ Say yes to opportunities that come my way
~ Make my book available on as many platforms as possible
~ Say thank you; show gratitude
~ Support other Indie Authors through reading and reviewing their work
So far my sales have been consistent which makes me happy. My goal from writing was never to get rich, although money is always helpful. I want to give enjoyment and escape to as many readers as possible because getting lost in a book is my happy place!
I must acknowledge that not all writers have the time to spend on Marketing that I do. Because I am no longer able to work as a result of my chronic illness, I have more time than many to devote to this venture. That is a privilege that many don’t have and for this I am grateful.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions on additional ways I can add to my marketing plan so feel free to share!
Thanks so much for being a part of my journey!