Friday, September 13, 2013

Writing vs. Marketing-the Indie Author’s Dilemma

When I published my debut novel, Fall Eagle One (FEO), I immediately faced the reality that Indie authors only sell books if they market the works themselves. This is a really big deal, especially if one has no background in either publishing or marketing.  Naively, I at first assumed that all I needed to do was advertise the book on all the World War II forums to which I belonged to get instant sales. This proved to be a fallacious idea, so I joined all the Kindle Community forums and posted FEO there. This achieved only modest success.

I became very frustrated. Like any serious author, I wanted to pursue my art, not immerse myself in the mundane details of commerce. I was face-to-face with every Indie author’s dilemma—how to balance time spent writing against time spent marketing. Then it finally got through my thick head that writing was sort of futile if I attracted no readers. With a lot of help from the younger members of my family, I gave myself a crash course in marketing e-books.

Those who read my last post on starting a new career in your mid-seventies might question whether an older person could possibly master the new paradigm.  I have news for you—some old dogs can learn new tricks. My daughter, Karen Williams, showed me how to use Facebook and Twitter, and I plowed in. After studying the activities of other authors on Twitter, I realized what a marvelous tool this site is. Getting others to re-tweet (RT) your advertising is as easy as re-tweeting their posts. I have followers who have send my tweets to as many as 50,000 of their own followers. 

My daughter also got me into writing this blog, and this proved to be another gold mine.  As many as half the hits on my Amazon catalog post now come directly from my blog.  Another effective marketing tool she built for me is my Author’s Webpage. Alone, I could never have put together such a sophisticated effort, with links to Pinterest pages with photo essays about the historical characters, events, and equipment portrayed in my novels.

I began to have success in selling my work. Sales of Fall Eagle One climbed into the upper one percent of Kindle sales and have hovered there for several months. The Kindle version of my second novel, Hold Back the Sun (HBTS), soon rocketed into the upper one percent also. FEO has an Amazon review rating of 4.6 stars (30 reviews) and HBTS has a rating of 4.5 stars (2 reviews). Social media marketing has really paid off for me.

So, how much time does all this marketing take. I spend about three hours per day on marketing. That leaves several hours a day for writing and editing. This is a balance I can live with. My next novel, Asphalt and Blood—U.S. Navy Seabees in the Battle for Hue City, is already in the works.

No comments:

Post a Comment