Marketing? I Don't Know Anything About Marketing!
One of the biggest challenges that I’ve had as an indie author has been making my name known among readers. I imagine that most indie authors face the same issue. I’ve written four books and the reviews have been generally good. Sales, on the other hand, have been discouraging.
When I first began writing, I thought the publisher would handle all of the marketing details. I soon learned that assumption was so very wrong. Marketing was as much my responsibility then as it is now.
I followed the advice of others. I built a Web Site and started social media accounts. I advertised multiple times and posted frequently on all formats. These attempts resulted in few, if any, results. Sales at book signings were good but not frequent enough to compensate for sporadic online sales. Eventually, my funds were depleted and I considered giving up my writing career.
But, I wasn’t ready to give up yet. Expenses were cut to the bone. All of my marketing time and expenses went toward promoting my latest book release. Sales still weren’t close to the needed level. Nothing was working and I didn’t know what to do differently.
One day, I received an email at school with links to two free online marketing classes through Amarillo College. I don’t know if it was pure chance or divine intervention, but I signed up for those classes.
I was a bit overwhelmed at first by all the information. There was so much that I didn’t know.
Both courses were geared toward traditional businesses. I took note of the areas that could be adapted to my book business and have begun implementation.
I already had some of the tools in place. My Web site, social media accounts, and newsletters needed to be fine-tuned. Some, I had tried but didn’t fully understand. I had attempted a business plan and a marketing plan. They weren’t realistic or particularly useful. Still, others were brand new to me.
What were the most important things I learned? Following a realistic, attainable, and well-thought-out plan would serve as the roadmap for my business destination. The plan needed to contain marketing techniques that are within budget and targeted to a particular audience.
That sounds like common sense doesn’t it? My goals could have been considered realistic, but they weren’t attainable with my marketing practices. The marketing portion of my plan wasn’t thought out well enough. I didn’t have a specified budget for marketing. I had a dollar amount that I was willing to spend but no plan as to how or when to use that money. I kept throwing money down the same holes hoping this time I’d see results.
I’ve already been putting some of what I’ve learned into practice and fine-tuning the beneficial tools of my business. Plans to try other techniques have been scheduled for implementation in stages so that the results of each may be tracked and analyzed. I’ll continue those that show the best results.
Taking two classes hasn’t made me a marketing expert. They have given me a place to start. I’ve looked into training opportunities that are specifically for the book market. Only time will tell if the things I’ve learned and will learn in future courses will improve my current situation.