Indie Author Do’s & Don’ts — my Collection #1

I knew the day would come, when I’d be an Indie author who had amassed a collection of Indie Author Do’s & Don’ts. Now I’m sharing my collection of Indie Author Do’s & Don’ts. How to promote your book but not leave your Muse behind in the process. Put your new work first!

I’ve spent four months reading like I was taking a degree in book marketing, and testing, testing, testing. I came up with some big, fat DO’S & DON’TS. Also, some important things TO ALWAYS REMEMBER TO DO.

INDIE AUTHOR DO’S AND DON’TS

Always believe in your creativity. That’s the foundation for the confidence to market your books. The readers who love your writing are out there. Refresh your memory sometimes by re-reading good reviews, notes from readers, stars they gave your book. Believe!

Always keep a marketing journal. I keep mine freeform in Word. I can’t hassle with spreadsheets when making notes about what works, what ads and parameters I used. Just a journal style document helps me track it all.

Don’t chase sales. It’s not all about how many units you’ve moved. If you’re on Kindle Unlimited, you can track pages read. It’s also very much about people reading your stories — isn’t it? Isn’t that why we write them and publish them? So people can read. Amazon has done a very nice thing, creating a lending library where you can attract readers. Hopefully many of these will follow you and want to read or even buy your future books.

Remember to love your creative space and keep it sacred. I made this mistake early on, in the excitement of becoming my own publisher and having full control over the marketing, including looking at your book’s performance hourly. Trouble is, if I do that first thing, I miss the inspiration I’ve trained my Muse to provide early in the morning. Don’t steal from the Muse! Honor your creative space, whenever, and wherever, you routinely find it. Show up to do the work, and marketing will fall into place later.

Don’t spend your best writing time creating ad copy. Yes, it requires creativity. But no, it should not slip into your time marked for creeating new work. The bliss of writing (yes, I know it’s also painful) is why we do it. At least that’s true for me. And remember that the best thing you can do to sell your current book is to write another.

Don’t obsessively check your stats on Amazon. Seriously, I had to put myself on a schedule. Three times a day when I have an active campaign or ad. Otherwise, once a day at most, once a week is better for my creativity and sanity.

Don’t try to hack Amazon and Facebook advertising. This is me speaking to me: You’re a writer, not a marketer. Those people get paid big bucks to learn a complex field. Your complex field is poetry and fiction. Stick to learning about that and get the hell out of complicated advertising platforms with a negative Return-On-Investment because of your not being an ad executive.

Do advertise periodically in the few places that have a large reader base. Of course, as everyone knows, the top dog is BookBub. Those ads reach a huge base of readers worldwide. But it’s also top cost. For me,Written Word Media’s BargainBooksy gave me a net profit on my first ad.

Here’s a good way to find the reliable platforms. It’s a list of places to advertise that really work. I have spent too much money on those that gave no positive results.

BOOK MARKETING PLATFORMS I MAY NOT USE AGAIN

With a disclaimer: every book is different, and there are many factors that go into a successful book ad. But these are (for my own reference) book marketing platforms I will never use again.

Books Go Social. They advertise a money-back guarantee, and they stand by it, with a prompt refund if your promotion doesn’t yield results. I purchased a basic promo for $49. I had not one  sale during my first month of promotion, which seemed to consist exclusively of Tweets. I worried that it was too frequent and therefore annoying. I don’t believe Twitter is a good way for me to sell books. I use the platform more to engage with people who may be potential readers.

Books & the Bear. A one-day promotion at $65 got my book exactly no sales, no pages read. A complete waste of money. No refunds offered.

Pinterest ads. Unless you’re promoting a picture book, why would this make sense? No sales, no pages read. I stopped my ad.