What do all independent authors and publishers want most? (Okay, other than an Oprah recommendation or a New York Times book review.) Book distribution to booksellers. But what if all of a sudden there are no bookstores and all publishers, indie and traditional, are vying for the same online sales? It’s time to step up and take advantage of a more equal selling landscape for indie authors.
The Advantage for Indies
Indies have had to come up with ingenious ways of marketing themselves online for years. While traditional marketing departments have certainly been utilizing digital marketing tactics, indie authors have developed their skills without the benefit of a big brand behind them. And, in most cases indies aren’t promoting dozens of books at one time. In an age where specificity, target audiences, and niche development are key, indies have the edge.
Also, from what I’ve been reading even after things “get back to normal” there may still be distribution problems such as supply chain issues, printing delays, and paper shortages while manufacturers and distributors try to stabilize their workforce and operations. If you haven’t considered that this could be the time to take advantage of a more equal selling landscape for indie authors, start now by optimizing all of the aspects of your publishing and marketing tactics.
Five Things for Your To-Do List
- Book Product Presentation: How does your book look? Is your jacket professionally designed? Is your interior designed? Do you have a standard copyright page? Did you have your book copyedited? Proofread? Make sure your product can stand up to a traditionally published book as far as the quality is concerned.
- Website/Social Platforms: If you don’t have the money or time to revamp your entire website. Or if your site already looks fabulous the way it is, make sure you have your new book on a page with all the requisite “buy” links and a synopsis. Also, check all of your site’s social links to make sure they are working. So many times I’ve gone to a website and tried an Instagram link and found it broken. Be ready for any traffic you’ve generated to have a good experience and these basic things will go along way toward making that happen.
- Content Marketing/Social Media: Go back to the basics of managing your shared media by posting at least two blogs per month and sharing on social media. Facebook/Instagram at least twice a week and Twitter at least once a day. Engage with followers and do a Google search every day on your topic/theme to see if there are any articles, quotes, or related content you can post in real-time. Everyone loves to have their content retweeted or commented on, so be a friendly social user and engage, engage, engage.
- Bloggers/Podcasts: Reviews and interviews are still happening on these venues, even during this national emergency. However, you should check the websites to make sure they are still accepting review copies the same way. Some places may need you to contact them first and then send an e-galley to minimize contact points.
- Traditional media: If you have a topic that relates to what is in the news, can support a current story, or offer something new and credible, then, by all means, ping some journalists and producers. But if you aren’t sure you should, don’t pitch people. Also, subscribe to HARO so you can get a list of different stories/sources the media are working on. You can respond directly to the HARO links to present yourself and your work.
To read more about the changing face of publishing today, check out these two articles:
Good luck and stay safe!