Dawn of Humanity / Laws of Nature / marketing

Crowd-sourced Indie Marketing Tips

During the promo for my latest prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature. a wonderful host posted this article I wrote about a few of my essential marketing tips. In case missed it, here’s a revisit:

***

Laws of Nature is my seventh Indie novel. I’m a lot smarter now than when I put out my first book, To Hunt a Sub, but I admit, I haven’t found the secret that will turn my novel into a best seller. As close as I can figure, it’s about hard work, tenacity, and lots of word of mouth.

Here are my current ideas on Indie marketing:

  • A few books ago, I decided to own the idea of being an Indie author. We don’t have a legion of agents and publishing arms behind us to spread the word of our books. With great examples like Sally Cronin and Diana Peach, I embraced the concept of ‘paying forward’, using my social media presence to promote Indie authors in general and my writing community specifically. I host as many authors as possible and engage with their communities in the give-and-take of comments. I did what I could to promote their writing so when it came time to ask for help (boy is it difficult to ask for help!), they came through for me. Turns out, we’re a family, sharing the same passion, respecting each other which means doing the extras to help each other. To return this kindness of others, I used my book launch platform to share their good news beside mine.
  • I made an effort to read the books of blog hosts, review them, and add my thoughts to Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub.
  • Marketing fiction is a lot different from non-fiction. I know because I sell both. In my non-fiction education-oriented books, I rely on my background, my expertise in the subject, and my network of professional friends to spread the word and sell my books. Fiction–not so much.
  • I have tried selling through a variety of online digital sellers–including B&N.com, Kobi, Google Play, IBooks, and more. Nothing works as well for me as a dedicated presence on KDP (Kindle for print and digital). The preparation is tedious but not complicated.

  • About the time the pandemic shut the world down, I reached out to my local library to see if there’s appetite for a book signing or chat. Well, I could do that again, now, with things opening up!

What tips do you have for marketing a new novel? What’s worked best for you? Here’s a link of what others have added to a crowd-sourcing document on book marketing:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GLOj04FF6OPkgzGInGFK78vExz_Yjto_ECLCfq9EBRg/edit?usp=sharing

If you have suggestions, please add them!


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Spring 2022.

80 thoughts on “Crowd-sourced Indie Marketing Tips

  1. Bookmarked your tips, with thanks. Marketing is…hard. I love my blog and the community of Indies and Readers who visit and chat, but I’ve given up on the big social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Mostly I rely on word-of-mouth, and every now and then I’ll do a promotion where I give books away in the hope that I’ll get some more reviews.
    I’m still searching for my ideal ‘audience’. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d think Reddit would be great for you. They are chatty techies.I read somewhere that their reach is massive–which surprised me. I tried them (because I too am a geek) but they had too much politics for my taste (which is pretty much any).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I actually do have a Reddit account. I joined when I was doing a lot on Inkarnate, but I haven’t really explored it at all. To be honest, I’ve heard that Reddit can be pretty toxic. Maybe that’s the political side of things. I may just sneak in and lurk a bit. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Marketing my books is not only difficult and usually not very profitable but also something I don’t like doing. I have tried a few FB ads and also some webinars on “marketing your book” but have found them to be nothing more than the host wanting you to hire them to help you market your book. And all at incredibly expensive prices.
    You hear about people making tons of money being self published and wouldn’t that be nice? But to continue down this path you just have to love writing.
    Publishing and marketing one’s book is a lot of work and costly. I’d love to have an agent to find a publisher who can take care of that business side but reading Jill’s comments on traditional publishing was not very encouraging.
    Networking works best along with luck. Thanks for your tips, Jacqui and I look forward to Natural Selection coming out in the spring. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jacqui, you make some excellent points about book promotion and it’s good to know how the contact here, the reviews, sharing about others books and all about authors has such a positive effect! How true that ‘we’re a family, sharing the same passion, respecting each other which means doing the extras to help each other.’

    I look forward to returning to doing events in person and found sales at these kinds of venues very good as well as being a fantastic opportunity to meet people in person, discuss books, writing and often give pointers for other promotion possibilities!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are great tips, Jacqui, and I agree with you that it feels like we’re one big family. This is one of the reasons why I keep on writing . . . and it’s just as rewarding (or more) to give support than get support.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You got excellent points, Jacqui! I agree with you about Sally and Diana! I appreciate Diana spending a lot of time on her comments. I remember one post she talked about getting comments. Shen someone comments on her post, she returns the comment by visiting that blogger right away. I think it’s an excellent practice. What a wonderful way to stay in touch with the community and build friendship also. It’s the best marketing, I think.
    I also don’t think in-person marketing is effective. I took part in a book signing event a couple of times but people don’t just browse the tables and pick up the books at each table.
    I’ve heard so much about BookBub but haven’t looked into it yet. I just got an email from BookBub about how to use BookBub with a limited budget. It sounds interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooh, that email from BookBub sounds good. I’m a member, but haven’t used their advertising yet. Thanks for your feedback. I don’t do many in-person events and I’m glad to know that maybe, I’m not missing too many sales!

      Like

      • There’s a monthly meet ups for authors with keynote speaker in Anaheim. I thought of going a few times. But, I handed out so many business cards before and didn’t see any results. So I don’t think the meetups would help. I have a better use for my Saturday morning. 😊

        I’ve looked into the cost for advertising with BookBub and their projection of returns. There are two packages. One is to distribute in the US alone and the other is worldwide.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish I had a magic wand or a crystal ball to reveal how best to market my books. I’ve yet to find anything that is a sure fire hit. It’s seems most things work a bit here, a bit there, but the only thing that has brought consistent results for me is BookBub. And that, I couldn’t afford on my own. My publisher paid for my ads.
    Next time up, I’ll be on my own as an indie author, so I’m going to be re-examining all those other avenues that deliver results, just on a smaller scope.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you’re doing all the right things. Newsletters and blogs seem to be the best way to reach people who are interested in your work. Book promotion sites help me to some degree, but it’s a financial gamble that doesn’t always pay off. Still, they’ve helped me gain more readers, which is the main goal. I’ve considered Amazon and FB ads, but they seem a little too complicated and somewhat of a gamble right now. Have you tried ads? Any success with them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I placed ads on Google–monthly for over a year. Didn’t help. I advertised at a writer’s conference once–online–no joy. I placed an ad in Kirkus’ magazine–expensive!–half page I think, but no discernable results. I haven’t tried since.

      I’m always interested in reading how those paid promos work. No one is over the moon about them so I’m still holding off. Plus, it seems they are a lot of work!

      Liked by 1 person

      • They are a lot of work from what I’ve seen. When they’re offering courses and writing books on how to do ads, I shake my head, and think no. Not right now, anyway. I’ve never found print ads helpful either, so stopped doing that years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you have the right strategy, Jacqui. Paying it forward, supporting fellow writers, and a little advertising goes a long way to finding a readership base. Other than that, it’s wash and repeat. You need a good backlist to become known.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You are everywhere, Jacqui! Thank you for being one of the most supportive bloggers/indie authors I know. I’m convinced your days are longer than 24 hours, as otherwise I have no clue how you manage to fit so many things in your schedule. I know, I’ve said that before.

    When it comes to non-fiction/memoir, I have found that “promoting” your book in an attractive way (with an anecdote and relevant photo instead of blatantly sharing a link or a photo of the book cover) on a theme-specific Facebook group that allows weekly promo posts (#merchantmonday for example) can potentially give your sales a boost.

    There is a Facebook group called “Women Reading Great Books” that allows anyone to promote their book – once in a thread started by the admin and once in a separate post – every Saturday. This group has an enormous amount of dedicated members/readers, so your post has to stand out to get traction. Otherwise, it falls through the cracks. By liking each other’s posts – or leaving a comment – we can keep posts of our fellow indie authors a bit more “active.” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I certainly think the concept of paying it forward is the best approach in most areas of life. How can we not respect those who are looking out for others? It isn’t a competition. When I see someone having success in any profession, that provides hope and not jealousy.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Thanks so much for the shout out, Jacqui. That was kind of you, though Sally beats all by a mile! I agree that paying it forward works. It’s time consuming, but as a result we sell books and, even better, become part of this marvelous community. I’m also looking forward to in person events! It’s been a long long time. Great post, my friend.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. You’ve gotten a lot of great comments, Jacqui, so I don’t have much to add. It definitely takes a village to launch a book and like many have said, I hate asking for help. But, once you are established in the blogging community, one post asking for help usually brings more help than you can handle and I absolutely love that!! We become part of a family. Thank you for posting this. Another thing I have done that I feel is worthwhile is to participate in BookSweeps sweepstakes and enter contests!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Jacqui, I do all the same things you do except for the last. I used to do a lot of author events but it is not worth it locally from a sales point of view. It is nice to see other local authors and those connections have helped me, but the events themselves are not usually well attended.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I failed at selling my book so I don’t really have anything to add. I do know a few authors who’ve been able to tap into the book club market where you get a group to select you as one of their books to read. For poets, going to open mic readings and being the featured read can sell a few copies.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Personal connections mostly – basic networking. You know someone in a book club, you contact them. Same with poetry readings. It’s a lot of leg work and I’m not sure how much it adds to sales, but it is okay marketing and if you have the connections might be worth it.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Once again, we’re in violent agreement, Jacqui! One marketing effort that worked for children’s books was presenting at a school. I was fortunate to have a teacher who had flyers sent home, creating pre-sales that eliminated having to ask. Fun, too! The way the kids treated me, I felt like they had nominated me for an academy award.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I think your list of marketing tips can apply to both Indie and traditionally published authors. Yes, authors who have a publisher backing them may get an extra boost, but trust me, said authors are still facing the same battles to find new readers. The competition is tight no matter your publishing path. I’ve stopped wasting my money on FB and IG ads…I just didn’t see my ROI. Thanks for sharing, Jacqui!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Pingback: Crowd-sourced Indie Marketing Tips — – uwerolandgross

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