Indie Author Marketing

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Part of being an author is marketing. Both traditionally and independently published authors have to deal with a lot of our marketing efforts. We have to maintain websites, keep our social media accounts updated, speak at events, and just generally sell our writing—our voices. By nature, a lot of writers are naturally introverts, which creates a bit of a dilemma when we’re required to promote ourselves.

Indie authors face the unique challenge of marketing with little-to-no budget. And unless you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, even some traditionally published authors face the same problem. We must handle a certain amount (or all) of our marketing on the budget set forth by our day jobs. That’s right—most indie authors have a day job to pay the bills and write during our limited free time. Some might be fortunate enough to have a spouse or significant other who can pay the household bills and allow the writer to pursue their craft full time, but this is rare.

So, what do I do to advertise? I maintain my website and try to publish blog posts regularly. I try to post regularly on my Twitter and Facebook pages. I review all the books I read on Amazon and Goodreads. (How can I ask for reviews if I don’t write them myself?) I’m still resistant to starting an author Instagram, but that might be something I do soon. I hold book signings at a local indie bookstore during some of the quarterly art walks (when there are more people downtown) and hold sales on the Kindle versions of my books periodically.

I rely on word-of-mouth and book reviews more than anything because that type of advertising is free. It’s one of the reasons I am often asking people to post reviews of my books on Goodreads and Amazon. Those reviews are extremely important for authors, especially indie authors like me. My advertising and expense budget is tiny. Less than $500 per year. Continue reading

Almost-winter writing update

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It’s almost winter, which is my second favorite season after autumn (fall). I enjoy snuggling under fuzzy blankets to read great books while drinking hot chocolate (But who am I kidding? I can do that in any season).

I held a book signing at Dog Ear Books last night. It’s an awesome independent bookstore in Russellville, Arkansas. Now, some new readers will discover my books. Book signings are fun and nerve-wracking at the same time. I enjoy talking to readers of my work, but I also am a natural introvert, so the public venue is difficult for me.

Dog Ear Books author signing event, December 6, 2019.

Trying to sell my work is the most difficult part of writing. I sit there and watch a person pick up one of my novels to read the back cover blurb. I don’t want to stare at the person during the reading, but I am silently chanting in my head the whole time: “Please like my blurb so much that you just have to buy this book!” Continue reading

For the love of travel (for work)

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One of the perks of my job at the university is the privilege to travel for professional development. During spring break (for the college students and my elementary school children), I attended the 2018 CASE Editors Forum in Seattle, Washington. Not only had I never attended this conference before, but I’d never been to Seattle.

Due to having to fly across two time zones (I live in Arkansas) and the start time of the conference on Wednesday, March 21, I had to travel the day before. It was interesting, to say the least. For the first time ever, I set off the metal detector at the Little Rock Airport. What parts of my body? My ankles and my right back pants pocket. Weird.

After a public frisking and bomb-residue test (firsts for me), I was on my way. It was also my first experience flying Southwest Airlines. It was odd not being assigned a seat but not unpleasant. The airline boards based on a boarding group number assigned at check-in. The earlier one checks in, the better the number. I was at the beginning, so I was able to choose a nice comfortable window seat near the back of the plane. I wasn’t in a hurry on the way over since I had a three-hour layover at Dallas-Love Field.

A delayed first flight cut into my layover time by 30 minutes, but it was no big deal. I had plenty of time to eat lunch and make a huge dent in the book I was reading on my Kindle app, Of Blood and Sorrow, by Christine Rains. A well-written vampire/demon urban fantasy story. By the time I boarded my second flight, which was much longer, I only had a couple of chapters left.

During the flight from to Dallas to Seattle, I read Broken Tomorrows, by KT Daxon, a book I’d been anticipating for a while. I actually won an autographed copy from the author through a contest on Twitter. I was thrilled to have it but didn’t want to risk losing the novel while traveling, so I bought the Kindle version to read during my trip. I read the entire thing while flying at 36,000 feet. The book was incredible. Check out my review on Goodreads. Luckily, I had brought along another book, The Bookseller, by Cynthia Swanson, which I started during the last leg of my flight and finished while flying home.

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