Tag Archives: Marketing

How to Help Promote an Indie Writer

I am an indie writer. What that means is I am published through an independent press that specializes in a particular genre. At Marcher Lord Press, we seek to fill a niche that many larger publishing companies are not targeting: Christian speculative fiction. This includes science fiction, fantasy, steam punk, dystopia, you name it.

However, as a small specialty press, it also means we don’t have the big marketing budgets that larger publishing houses have. We find ways market ourselves. Not easy, I assure you :). Some of the things we do are: seek out places to be interviewed or reviewed, do book giveaways, and guest blog on different sites. But many times these efforts are only tiny pebbles tossed into the vast ocean of books.

You see, my biggest hurdle an indie author is being found by readers. How do people find my story with so many books out there? And if they do find my book, how do they know it is worth reading?

This is where you, the reader, come in. You are my greatest supporter and ally.

I can hear what you are thinking: I love your book, but I don’t like doing book reviews! I totally understand. It takes a lot of guts for me to write a review. So let me introduce you to other ways you can help an indie author like me get the word out.

Amazon Like: Every book on Amazon has a “like” button attached to it. It’s just like “liking” a post on Facebook. Press the button and tada, there is another “like”. But when a book accumulates enough “likes”, then Amazon begins to promote that book more. Easy, takes 10 seconds, and helps out authors like me. So if you enjoyed Daughter of Light, would you consider “liking” it on Amazon?

Daughter of Light Kindle

Daughter of Light Paperback

Amazon Author Page: I have an author page on Amazon. Just like the “like” system for books, by “liking” my author page, people will be able to find me more on Amazon. Would you consider “liking” my page?

Morgan L. Busse

Kobo: Easy peezy. Once again, all you have to do is click and “like”, only this time it’s through Facebook.

Daughter of Light Kobo

And lastly, “liking” it on the Marcher Lord Press website:

Daughter of Light

No scary reviews, no tacking stars onto my book. Only a couple quick clicks that take less than a minute. And yet by doing this, you will be doing more for me as an author than anything I could do. You, my readers, make a huge difference.

So would you consider taking a moment and helping an indie author out? I would so appreciate that! Thank you.

 

Marketing for an Audience of One

Many of us Christian writers have heard the term “write for an audience of One.” Our first audience is God. When God is our audience, we seek only to please Him, and to let Him do what He wants with our writing.

Recently, it occurred to me that the same idea applies to book marketing. I am not marketing myself. I am not marketing my book.

I am marketing God.

When I interact with a reviewer, I am connecting with someone who may or may not know God. Through my emails, phone calls, or letters with reviewers, I am displaying God to them, even if I never mention His name.

When I do an interview, the words I write or say go out to a group of people I will probably never meet. But through an interview I have an opportunity to share my life, my passions, and my writing. And through that, whether overtly or covertly, I share God.

And when I am invited to do a blog post, I am sharing God, even if the topic I write about is writing. This is because people are not just reading about how to write a scene, or how the theme of forgiveness is woven into my story. They are also reading me. And when they read me, they are reading God.

When I realized this, marketing took on a whole new perspective. If I am marketing myself or my book to drive up sales, that will only last temporarily. Sure, I might reap the benefit of more money or a higher rating on Amazon. But it will disappear, whether the next day, week, month, or year.

But when I view each thing I do as a chance to share God with this world, then marketing takes on an eternal value. Imagine that. Marketing as a way to be a light in the world :).

This is the passion and goal behind my marketing: to reach as many people as I can. I hope that by my words and actions, the people I interact with will see someone who is different. And that will point them to God, the one I really want people to embrace.

 

Marketing for Writers on a Dime

First, my philosophy in marketing is how effective is whatever I’m doing compared to the time/money I have to put in? As a mother of four kids and the wife of a pastor, I have limited time to use toward my writing and marketing. So unless it guarantees a big return, I am reluctant to do something that requires a lot of time.

Same with money. My family just came off of being unemployed for a year and we are currently recovering from that. And as a small indie publisher, I have very limited resources from my publisher. Not that I’m complaining, I absolutely love Marcher Lord Press and there are some benefits you get with going with an indie publisher vs a traditional publisher (that will be a topic for another time ;)). Lastly, I see marketing as a small, step by step, reader by reader process. If I gain even one more reader through my endeavors, then I see that as a win.

So here is what I have done that has required little time and money:
-I started a blog 2 years ago (and here it is :)). I love blogging and so it’s not a hard thing for me to do. I blog about anything and everything on my heart and am not afraid to bring up sticky issues like what does a person do when they have lost their faith or how to deal with bitterness. Through my blog I have found a small readership who isn’t just writers. They appreciate my candid approach to faith and that readership has transferred over to my book.

-Build a relationship with the people you interact with on Facebook, don’t just talk about your writing life. Most of the people in your life do not understand the writer’s life nor do they really care. But when you are a real person with kids who do funny things or issues you are passionate about, you build ties with readers.

-Send arcs 3-4 months in advance to some big review places like Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, even Locus magazine. I sent to about 10-12 places and only heard from 2. But that was 2 more than I had the day before :).

-I chose not to do endorsements. At the time I was getting ready for my book release, I was also getting a house ready for the market and moving across states. Since endorsements have never influenced my choice in books, it wasn’t high on my priority list. And I didn’t really know anyone personally to ask, except one friend. She had just signed a contract for 2 books (hurrah!) and was honest and said she didn’t have the time, which was fine by me.

-Reviewers: I’m still learning this aspect of marketing. I do a lot of research into a reviewer before I ask them to review. I see what their site is like, do they like my kind of book, do they post their reviews in other places besides their blog? I know traditional publishers can send out a lot, but since every review book I send out comes out of my own pocket, I am selective on who I give one to.

-How to find reviewers: I just spent yesterday looking up quite a few of them. I looked over amazon’s top 150 reviewers, saw who reviewed my kind of book and sent them a nice, polite email with a request for a review. I also see who is reviewing my peers’ books and see if they would review mine. I have already received responses, all positive, and half of them said they would review.

-Always be respectful and polite. For one thing, you are an example of Christ to whoever you interact with (for the Christian writer). Secondly, it might win you a review. I had someone respond yesterday that they were so impressed that I actually took the time to look at their blog and read their posts that even though she was bogged down, she was going to make a spot and do a review for me.

-Be a part of Goodreads. I had never heard of this site before, but it is a great place to interact with your readers. Also check out Shelfari.

-Do a book giveaway with Goodreads. I am finding that a giveaway gives your book great exposure and it’s free advertisement! And it’s going on right now, so if you’re interested, here is the link: Goodreads book giveaway

-Book trailers. Not everyone likes them, but some people do. And it might bring them one step closer to purchasing your book. If you have a mac, it comes with iMovie. That is how I made mine: Daughter of Light Book Trailer

-I have not done a blog tour, but thinking about it.

-Remember, you can’t do everything or you’ll go crazy (not to mention not have time to write!). Do what you are good at. I don’t twitter or do pininterest because I don’t know how or have the time to keep either updated. I’m good at FB and so that is what I do for now.

– And lastly, remember God might have different plans for your book than you do. Keep your priorities straight: God, spouse, family, then writing. Sure, there are seasons when writing needs to take a front seat (like that dash to the release date), but it shouldn’t stay there. Be who you are suppose to be, have eyes open and ready for opportunities, and give your writing and marketing to God.

When you think you did it all yourself, you take the glory away from God. But when you give your marketing to God’s control, He might surprise you and in the end, all you can say is “God did it, not me!”