Being an independent author, I find it very difficult to get my name out there. When people read my books, they generally respond well. But how do they read my works if they don’t know I exist?
With the explosion of digital publishing, I was able to step out and get published on my own. That provided me with a huge opportunity. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it did so for millions of other people, too, burying my novels under a mountain of new releases every day.
And the fact is, even with the most avid, voracious reader, there is only so much money in the book-reading budget. They can’t buy every book that catches their eye.
So how do I rise above the rest and get my name out there?
1) Quality, quality, quality. Some authors are a proponent of Quantity, but I don’t believe that just writing more is a good thing. In fact, I think it is the worst thing you can do for yourself, in the long run. If I want to make a career out of writing, I can’t do that.
When I clicked “PUBLISH” in 2010, I had no real clue about the world I was venturing into. As such, I hadn’t gone through the rigors of editing the way I should, and my quality suffered. I’ve since edited and re-edited to “get the words right”. I have to say, that is one of the beauties of digital publishing: the ability to edit.
But I can’t lean on that as a crutch for poor work. Bad marks on DHAN in the beginning have really impacted me today as a “brand”, even though I have since cleaned up those typographical mistakes. I have to be very purposeful in putting out QUALITY work every time.
2) I have to be honest in every encounter I make. Whether it’s on social media, or in person, I have to let people see the real me, flaws and all. Why? Because people want to connect to me, not just “buy my wares.”
3) I have to be available. Just posting my books on Amazon, and relying on the “also bought” system (or alsobots, as they are known) isn’t going to fuel my dream. There are too many other people out there doing this exact same thing. I need to reach out locally (book fairs, events, signings, etc.) as well as globally (social media, Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, etc.) to make myself as visible as possible.
4) I have to be my best spokesperson. Before, when someone would ask me what it was like to be an author, or what I enjoyed, I would get flustered and downplay myself; usually with self-depricating humor to lighten my angst. “It’s okay, I suppose. I only make a few dollars a month.”
The reality is, I am EXCITED to be an author. It’s fun, challenging and rewarding. I’m just not always comfortable expressing that excitement. What would people think of me if I sing my praises of how good I think I am, and then they are let down?? I have to silence those kinds of doubts and just truly be excited to be who I am. When other people around me see that enthusiasm, they are more inclined to hear what I have to say.
5) I have to be more aggressive. Not painfully so. But when it comes to looking for an event or book fair to host my book, if I don’t find one, why not create my own and help others in the community along with me? What better way to promote yourself than to help others to promote themselves as well? There really is strength in numbers.
So, that’s my plan for 2015. That’s another leg to accomplishing “this writing thing” for me.
If you’re an independent author, how do YOU promote yourself? I’m always open to ideas and insights.
Image by solarisgirl