Lately I’ve found myself on the horns of a dilemma. The question? How to market my new novel through my social media contacts without offending my friends. I suspect that I hesitate more than most to offend people and I will admit readily that I make a very poor salesperson.
But today’s authors must be prepared to engage in marketing their product. Particularly Indie authors. In fact, marketing takes twice as much of my time as editing, which in turn takes twice the time of writing. And writing is the part that I truly enjoy. And so the dilemma.
There are authors who have large sales platforms ready to go…people with famous names, infamous people, people who have a following from a column, or a series of articles, people who lead public lives. Known names sell books. The quest for someone like me without that platform is to become well-known enough to sell my books by convincing enough people to read my books and talk about them. A lot.
Many of my friends have read my books and most have promised to write a review, and most have not. Not because they are disinclined or not excited about the books (or so I’d like to believe) but simply because there are too many things they have to do to further their own lives leaving little time to spend on furthering mine. Its a low priority, and soon forgotten. I understand. I really do.
But the dilemma remains. It is necessary to issue reminders, quite frequent reminders, in fact, to my friends and colleagues and acquaintances to read, buy, talk about, review, and otherwise advertise my work. But I face great risk in doing so. I will be seen as a nag, or self-serving, or brutally commercial, none of which accurately describes me. But the alternative is to admit defeat and not even try to sell my work.
Many authors use professionals – editors, professional reviewers, marketing experts, people who will take the book on as a project. That sound delightful. Simply hand it over and go back to what you really want to do; write. But the cost of this tactic can amount to thousands of dollars. And if the book is not one of the very few to take flight, there can be no profit margin and your writing will not support itself.
My solution? I have none. I will market my work as best I can. I will try not to alienate my friends too much and I will split my time among writing and editing and marketing and hope for the best. And I will keep searching for that magic answer, the solution to my dilemma. Because I know that all those readers out there will love my work. They just need the chance to read it.