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.