Dear indie author. The new year is freshly upon us along with our book marketing efforts. Let me take this time to let you in on things NOT to do in 2019.
Mistake #1: Stealing ideas from other authors
Okay, this isn’t as nefarious as it sounds but hopefully it caught your attention.
Not only is every indie author experience different because of their platform and time in their industry, but every book is different because of the genre and competition at the time of release.
So asking an author in another genre for insight – almost useless – but even asking an author you feel is your direct competition, is still sketchy at best.
Yes, I do say success leaves clues and some authors are successful for a reason (check out these 14 habits of successful authors). So if they’re in your genre look at their platform as a whole to try and pinpoint all the pieces that are likely coming together, but don’t try to replicate it.
Maybe they’re a rock star on social media and the idea of managing 3 accounts gives you hives (see my tips on marketing a book on social media in 2019 here). Or maybe they have a mailing list of 5,000 people. You rarely know all the details required to try and follow the same path.
Use someone else’s success as inspiration that it’s possible, that there’s a market out there for you, there are readers buying and enjoying books like yours – so when one strategy doesn’t work out, you have even more fuel to keep going and push through.
Mistake #2: Relying on shortcuts to meet a publication deadline
Shortcuts rarely work out in your favor, and this couldn’t be truer than it is for the development and production phase, and planning of your indie author book promotion.
Yes, we all get excited to get that book out there, but without the right planning we could be setting ourselves up for disaster – and you’re also missing one of the best reasons to go indie – full control over your author journey!
Your content should be stellar. Stick to elements you know your market gravitates towards, but be sure you’re putting a unique spin on it that sets you apart.
Invest in quality editing. Just do it, no exceptions. And be sure you’re working with people who have experience in your genre if you can, their insight is like gold. You need a copy editor and a content editor if you really want to build a strong brand.
Invest in a quality book cover designer. Just do it, no exceptions. This is another time you can get a serious leg up by working with someone who has a history in your genre because they should know what works. You also want to refer to the bestseller list on Amazon for the genres you want to compete it. Why? Because indie author book promotion needs to be strategic, and there’s no better insight into what works with buyers than the bestseller list itself.
Invest in a book marketing plan. This doesn’t mean you have to go into debt to hire a firm for all your book promotion needs, but if you’re not developing something relatively multi-faceted and bold on your own to support your release through the first three months, with a maintenance promotion plan ongoing, you need to figure out if you can invest in some support from the outside. (Learn more about when and how to invest in a book marketing company here.)
Be willing to learn, because indie author book promotion requires ongoing education. But don’t be scared! This can be as simple as following a blog that gives you free tips and recommendations, and then committing to following through and utilizing the strategies.
Either way, success in publishing today isn’t free. Let that sink in and if you’re still game, you’re miles ahead of the thousands of authors just waiting for success to knock on their door.
Mistake #3: Wasting your time by not getting focused
Seems like a no-brainer right? But frantically (or not so frantically) trying random book marketing strategies hoping to get lucky is a terrible book marketing strategy!
I’ll say it again, indie author book promotion is very strategic because the options are nearly endless, and unless you literally have nothing better to do, and don’t really want to make any money at this, you need to pay attention.
Track your successes AND your failures.
If something kind of works, figure out how to take it up a level, or consider putting more time into it.
And want a next level tip?
Once you find something that kind of works for you, find ways to support that strategy with other strategies. If discount book promotions seem to work with your reader market, support those even more by promoting them on social, doing some ad stacking, or running Bookbub ads at the same time.
If something bombs, don’t give up right away, tweak it a bit, give it another shot, try supporting it a bit more before you write it off as useless to you because if you found the recommendation on a reputable book marketing blog or you know it’s working for other authors, you may just not have all the details ironed out.
Yes, your book marketing needs to be consistent, but it doesn’t have to be a second or third job if you’re being smart about it. Quality and consistency over quantity really rings true in this case.
Mistake #4: Taking the wait and see approach
One of the most cringe-worthy sentiments I hear when talking to potential clients is, “I’m going to wait and see how this one does before I put too much time into another book.”
Bad idea. Terrible. Naïve. I could go on but I want to keep this positive!
Successful indie author book promotion includes an aggressive publishing schedule.
I could count on one hand how many indie authors became an overnight success with a single book. Tack that stat onto the fact that there are over 4500+ books published every day and I hope I’ve made myself clear.
If you’re writing fiction, you need to release a full book once a year at minimum. If you can work in a novella or two, do it. If you’re like me, you have more ideas running through your head than you can fit into one title, so channel that inspiration into smaller books you can use as loss leaders and sell for $.99 and offer for free on regular promotions.
If you’re writing non-fiction don’t forget about the revise and re-release strategy. I literally wrote a book on this but you can start with this blog post. If you’re an expert or thought leader on a topic that’s constantly evolving then be sure you’re taking advantage of being able to make updates to your books and re-releasing them to acquire new publication dates. This shows you’re dedicated to what you know and solving problems for your target market.
At the end of the day there are sadly a lot of mistakes authors can make, but honestly these are the big ones that tend to really make a dramatic impact on the bigger picture.
If you’re an indie author I’d love for you to share in the comments one important thing you learned in 2018 that you’ll be correcting in 2019!
Help your fellow authors with a successful 2019 and share this post with them! You can even use these ready-made tweets!
Click to Tweet: Kick start your success in 2019 instead of just kicking yourself with these do’s and don’ts from @bookgal #bookmarketing #authortips https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6RX
Click to Tweet: Next level book marketing in 2019 – here’s what NOT to do if you want to sell more books. via @bookgal #bookmarketing #amwriting https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6RX