The book marketing game is not a race: Here’s some fresh perspective

This is a guest post by A. Yamina Collins

I know, I know. Many of you would rather get bitten by a rattlesnake than face the marketing journey behind your book. I know with the release of my short story collection, “The Blueberry Miller Files,” that marketing is already proving to be a daunting task.

For the indie writer especially, marketing probably holds the same catatonic fears that others have of public speaking: You're putting yourself out there in the world, and you can’t know if you'll make an utter fool of yourself or not.

But be assured that for all of your fears and confusions about how to market your book, time is definitely on your side in the digital age. In the past, we thought of publicity as it applied to physical books in a bookstore somewhere; where new releases were coming in all the time to replace the old ones clogging up the shelves.

But in this new millennium of publishing, your book now has the opportunity to “live on” forever. No one is going to remove it from Amazon or Smashwords or from your blog, or any other viable site where digital books, PDFs, etc., are available; not even from a publishing on-demand site like Createspace where people can order a physical copy of your book anytime they want to.

So what does this extended “shelf” time mean for you, the author in 2012? It means two things: First, marketing is going to take some time to master in this era of media and publishing; secondly, you now have the time to master it. Thank God.

Are you still shy about stepping into the marketing waters?

Consider this past predicament: In prior times, if you’d been traditionally published it might’ve taken upwards of two years before the public saw your book. Two years of waiting around on your part! (A book these days can be uploaded to Amazon and available for public consumption in less than 48 hours).

So why should it be so daunting to take the same amount of time to build platforms for your book, even after the book is out?

I know why it’s daunting. It’s daunting because it’s confusing, scary and yes, it’s going to take a lot of work.

No worries. Just consider the days and weeks and years after your book is completed as your full-time market training course.

Yes, there will be lots of confusion as to what’s the best way to market, but remember that you’re no longer subjected to a limited time-span to figure it all out. You’re also no longer limited by sales numbers either—well, if you’re self-published you’re not.

Don’t get me wrong. I know authors want to make a living just as much as the next person. And if you’re an indie author who is being published by a small press other than the one you yourself created, well, yes, slow sales could prove to be a an issue to your publisher.

But, for the indie or self-published author who is truly their own boss, you’re no longer in danger of being “dropped” just because your groovy little story collection only sold 50 copies. I’ll say it again: Since you don’t have a publishing company breathing down your back to produce numbers, numbers, and more numbers, forget about sales for a moment; forget about trying to get everything right fresh out of the gate.

Just take the time to write the best book you can, and know that mastering social media will come in due time. It must be done if you want your book to be successful.

But go ahead and take a long breather because time is exactly what you now have plenty of.

 

About this post’s author:

Author A. Yamina Collins runs the popular literary blog Yaminatoday.com. She has been featured on About.com for women in business. The Blueberry Miller Files, a collection of tales about the humor, awkwardness, and tragedy of the human condition, is her first published book. You can read parts of her book on Scribd, or buy it on Amazon.

Yamina Collins

Thanks for hosting me here, Em. I hope lots of authors are inspired by the notion that time is indeed on their side when it comes to mastering publicity and marketing.

Best to all,

Yamina

Louisa Engebretson

A good piece of advice for aspiring authors and writers and you definitely hit the right note on this post that I believe I should consider book editing for novels before deciding on publishing it. Thanks.

    Yamina Collins

    Editing is key. I am firm believer in this. Not only that, but when your book is properly edited you feel so much better about showing it off to any and everyone. My book, while not brilliant, would not have been what it is without the insight and help of my editor, Jessie Leaman. I was really grateful for all of her input – and for her catching numerous mistakes I would have never seen.

    Best,
    A. Yamina Collins

Book Marketing Domination

Certainly the times have changed. The need for traditional publishing houses has diminished. Thanks to Amazon publishing is easy.

However, it is true as you mentioned that “For the indie writer especially, marketing probably holds the same catatonic fears that others have of public speaking.”

Marketing in age of Internet doesn’t require much money. But, it requires know-how.

CM Keller

Great article!! Thanks for the encouragement. I’m going to head over and check out her blog.

    Yamina Collins

    Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you are encouraged about your own publicity journey.

    Yamina

Maria Catalina Vergara Egan

Great Post!

bridgetstraub.com

I hear what you are saying and agree 100% but it’s hard to be patient when the bills are threatening to bury you and you can’t afford to advertise. Still, slow and steady can and does sometimes win the race.

    Yamina Collins

    Yes, it is hard to be patient when bills are piling up. But other choice do we have since we can’t force the public to buy our book? Wish we could, ha ha. I know my book just came out in July, and only NOW am I really starting to get the help I need in terms of publicity, including starting a Google Ad Words campaign and hiring a business coach. I’m just thankful my book isn’t in danger of being yanked off the internet “shelves” anytime soon. I see myself talking about my new book for years to come, even while I release newer books.

    So don’t give up!

    Best to all,
    A. Yamina Collins

C. Hope Clark

Yamina,

Excellent point. So many writers rush, thinking the faster pace will reap faster rewards, but this is a long-tail business model. We no longer account to big publishers to be a success in six weeks after release. That’s such a relief! I’m lucky to be with a mid-size press (Bell Bridge Books) and they warn their new authors that this is a slow process and tell them not to worry about making big splashes. Old habits die hard, though. I still worry and watch the numbers. LOL

C. Hope Clark
Lowcountry Bribe
Bell Bridge Books, Feb 2012
http://www.chopeclark.com
http://www.fundsforwriters.com

Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog

This is a very inspiring post.
Some good advice Yamina
😉

Yamina Collins

Hi, C. Hope,

It sounds like your publishing company is giving you some great advice. This way you don’t panic when your book doesn’t sell a million copies the first week. Ha!

Best,
A. Yamina Collins
http://yaminatoday.com/
http://www.amazon.com/The-Blueberry-Miller-Files-ebook/dp/B008KAI3KG

SuzanneG

Hi Yamina,

Isn’t it funny how we think just because we have a book on Amazon’s list that every eye in the world immediately spies it and will make a purchase? Your advice is excellent: it’s an ongoing, slow process. And it’s not going to sell more books to skip those important steps of editing and taking responsibility for promoting your new book.

Thanks for sharing with us.

    Yamina Collins

    So true, Suzanne,

    I think I was a little guilty of this type of thinking, too. Thank goodness reality taught me otherwise!

    Yes, it’s a slow process, and I hope we learn to be grateful for it. We all need to be more patient through perseverance anyway.

    Best,
    Yamina

Jasmine

Great post! There are so many tools to help authors with book promotion, too. For example, Freebooksy offers a free Facebook marketing app specifically for authors! http://www.freebooksy.com/freebooksy-author-marketing-ap/

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