Of all the things associated with self-publishing and being an Indie author—reading, writing, and book marketing—marketing is the hardest—finding that balance between selling and being authentic.
“I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss—you can’t do it alone.” ― John Cheever
I’m an avid book reader. I read widely and don’t follow patterns or rules. I love to read thrillers, memoirs, and best sellers. I also like to read literary fiction, as long as it’s not too progressive. I read monthly newsletters to be inspired, entertained and to study style. I’m often a slave to reading how-to lists and numbered lists, like 28 (Better) Things No One Tells You About Publishing by Scott Berkun or 24 Things No One Tells You About Publishing by Curtis Sittenfeld.
I’m a proud new author. Our books are our babies. We want the world to think our books are as adorable, lovable, classic and unique as we do.
And mostly, they are.
On April 13, 2016, I released Salmon From Market To Plate to coincide with the 2016 opening Alaska salmon season (timely and effective).
About three weeks prior to the release date, (not soon enough), I wrote press releases, updated my website and scheduled a book launch party. Since the release I submitted my book to Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award contest (pending), Kentucky Book Fair #KBF16 (see you Nov. 5), The Book Designer’s monthly ebook cover design (won a Gold Star), and placed my book in two local retail outlets, 45-70, a bespoke men’s store and Bobbi’s Readmore Book-N-Card Hallmark Store. I’ve submitted my book to bookstores in Nashville, TN, Lexington, KY, to the 2017 SOKY Book Fest and to the 2017 IACP Cookbook Awards. I chip away online and network with friends to find my audience through niche retailers, then craft a query to see if I can get my book stocked.
But I’ve done plenty wrong.
I didn’t send out galleys because I didn’t allow enough time between the printing of the book and the release date. And so I didn’t get advance reviews. Lessons learned for the second title.
I’m not adverse to PR. It’s necessary. Crucial in fact. Yet, twenty-one weeks in I’m frustrated with the process. Sometimes I promote too much and too often. Other times, I don’t promote at all. I don’t want to be that author.
Because as many authors who I follow on social media (to support and learn from), sometimes I have to unfollow because I don’t want another selly-sell post in my feed. All. The. Time.
“Readers are not sheep, and not every pen tempts them.” ― Vladimir Nabokov
Many authors push too hard for book sales. Inundating every site with Buy My Book NOW! posts.
But I get it.
So how has my book marketing worked out so far?
My Kindle has had over 600 downloads (mostly promotional), and of the 140 soft cover copies printed, I have ten remaining in the trunk of my car—many shipped on promotion.
I’m brought back to two questions I always ask myself.
What are my first year publishing goals?
How do I define success?
These are not separate entities.
One of my first-year goals is to sell one thousand copies of Salmon From Market To Plate.
So far I’m on track. Does it matter that I didn’t make much money from most of those copies? No. Because I write to be read—to share a story, a recipe, and an idea for a more sustainable future. I’m also able to work on the second book in the series, Shrimp From Market To Plate. And I recently completed a freelance recipe development gig for Verlasso Salmon. I’m able to revise my WIP’s, learn more about photography and editing, and learn how to be a not so annoying book marketer.
Yes, I’m frustrated. That’s part of the process. I’m working on being less noisy and annoying to being savvy and authentic. Book marketing takes perseverance. Patience. A little luck. And much work.
Will you do me a favor?
If I annoy you with my posts or get pushy, please, let me know.
Lastly, I leave you with 15 DIY Book Promotion Tools You Need To Know by WritersStore.com. Check out numbers 14 and 15. That’s where I’m headed.
Thanks for reading,
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Are you an Indie author who struggles with how to market your book without being pushy? I’d love to hear how you manage your book marketing. Share your tips and frustrations, please!
Where I’m headed next: