Four Strange Indie Author Book Marketing Strategies that Work

I made a paid sale today using two popular but often useless indie author book marketing strategies – posting Raven’s Flock in a Shameless Self Promo hashtag and sharing an article via social media asking others to join my mailing list. You can view the article here.

And I made the sale – which is fantastic considering it’s mainly sellers and not buyers promoting the work. No one buys in a Shameless Self Promo post. You share and hope that another author sees the work and DM’s you for a cross-promo. Something like, “Hey, we write in the same genre and theme. I love the sales copy and the cover. I think my audience of 700+ subscribers will fall in love with your work. Why not schedule a cross-promotion?”

I don’t expect sales via Indie April or Shameless Self Promo hashtags – maybe if you have readers in the thread but again, it’s just authors looking to make a quick buck. Which rarely if ever works. No, the wise author shares as I do, and waits as I do – let’s cross-promo our deeply discounted works. Or better yet. “Join me and nine other authors in creating a box set of series starters that we’ll sell for 99 cents and make a bestseller list.”

Those are smart marketing methods I’ll cover in later works.

But as of now, if you’re on a budget, you need to get creative and think of some strange marketing methods.

 

#1: Shameless Self Promo

I basically described it in my opening – share and hope that other authors comment on your work. Either wait for a DM or if you’re the proactive type as I’ve become – DM them or suggest it in the comments. Worst that’ll happen is you’ll get a ‘no, not interested.’

If you get a reply at all.

But it only takes one other author to open the door to connections to dozens. Even if you get 9 ‘no’s’ and 1 ‘yes,’ that single ‘yes’ is all you need.

Related: Get Thousands of Readers Without Breaking the Bank

So, give it a shot but don’t try to sell your work to readers because again, readers aren’t participating in self-promo threads. They’re on Amazon.

Or, they’re opening emails to cross-promos and joint-promos. I’ve gathered over 440 mailing addresses via promotions on StoryOrigin. While most of these readers will only touch free, they do give you an audience that will allow you to join promotions with authors who have larger mailing lists.

So, promote your work to other authors and if they like it, get in contact with them.

 

#2: Create a Box Set of Series Starters with Other Authors

Preferably, do this with between five and nine other authors, all of whom should have an identical mailing list. I have 706 at the time of this writing, so I’d be looking for authors with between 600 and 800, unless an author with more reaches out to me.

This method will NOT make you rich, however if you build this and each of the six to ten authors pay for book promotion via places like BargainBooksy and others – chances are you’re going to make several lists on Amazon. Either via ‘Hot New Releases,’ ‘Bestsellers,’ etc.

And it’ll put your work on the map.

Related: Use Reader Magnets to Drive Sales

It’s something that very few authors understand and it’s something I didn’t come across until recently, so you know how I’m spending my free time these days – reading and reviewing other works and reaching out to other authors. You can do this via email or social media – I’d recommend social media because if I see an unfamiliar email asking me to do something, I automatically muck it into the spam.

However, when you reach out, DO NOT copy and paste the same messages.

First, refer to the author BY NAME. Secondly, read their freaking book. Most of these authors are going to have a free or deeply discounted series starter. If you don’t know where to begin, sign up for Freebooksy and let them know your genre. They’ll send you daily emails of free books in your genre.

These people are trying to sell their books and make a living, so read their books and make sure they’re good fits for your idea. If not, toss them – but don’t leave a negative review unless it’s by some faceless author who’s publishing their 35th book in 2020 and asking you to flip to the back matter of the book – then it’s likely they’re a scam artist.

 

#3: Start a Book Blog

You can do this for next to nothing on the Wealthy Affiliate platform – click here for more details.

But here’s the advantage of starting a book blog – especially if you spend a few hours a day reading. You will drive traffic to your site AND in turn, promote other authors on your blog. If you’re reviewing books, then this is huge.

Why?

Because other authors take notice of this and many will reach out and thank you for the promotion – and by the way, is there anything I can do for you to return the favor?

I know that any time I see a new review from another author – a good review – then it’s a sign that one, they like my work and will probably like my backlist and two, their readers will probably like my work and backlist, too.

And so will your readers.

Related: The Best Author Websites Contain a Blog

Not only can you engage in a cross-promo with this individual – you can also promote their work on your site by reading and reviewing one of their books as well. Reviews mean everything in the indie author community because it tells Amazon – which favors its own publications and larger traditional publishing companies – that there’s a diamond in the indie rough.

And Amazon also favors books that it thinks will make it money – regardless of publisher. Word has it that once you reach 20 reviews, Amazon will likely start recommending the work in its ‘similar products’ or ‘customers also viewed’ categories. When you reach 50+ reviews, Amazon will place your book in the ‘also bought’ category.

How does this benefit you?

I’m sure most of us read books similar to ours – meaning that you can even state something like, “If you also found this work enjoyable, then check out my series starter, Northern Knights.”

And bam, you have customers.

 

#4: Start a Make Money Online (MMO) Blog

This is an example of an MMO blog. Notice that I have tailored it toward the indie author community – meaning I niched the site: MMO, then down-niched it: MMO for Indie Authors. The domain name, Ditch Corporate America, refers to every American indie author’s ultimate dream of, well, working and writing from home while ditching the likes of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center.

But, what does MMO have to do with selling books?

Related: Earn Money with a Blog Quickly

It’s a little trick I learned from Nick Stephenson, who founded YourFirst10kReaders – he often posts a ‘Like Fiction’ tab on his sites where readers and authors coming across his site can download Book I in the Leopold Blake Series. You can check out one of Stephenson’s videos here and see what I mean. When you open up the info section, you can see that he places a few buy links for his works.

So, even though marketing my own books won’t be a niche in my book review or MMO blog, they’re still visible and they will get you a lot of clicks as you build your traffic over the course of six months to a year, which is roughly how long it takes for a website to mature and start earning you some money.

And again, for a fast-track, visit Wealthy Affiliate. But first, read all about how Wealthy Affiliate can and will work for authors.

14 comments

  1. Yes sometimes reaching out to our mentors or larger audience base authors =more exposure and i couldn’t agree with you more. This is a slick but effective strategy that seems to work for you and therefore should work for me.

    Although i might get a no several times, at least i;m closer to a yes and that’s all i need

    1. I’d say to find a mentor regardless, even if it’s on an online platform. For writing, I used the Jerry Jenkins Guild. I did so for editing as well. For marketing I turned to Nick Stephenson and still do to this day. 

  2. I do love the title of your blog. I had thought about writing for Amazon, but the time involved would take me away from my other endeavors. Still, the post offers quite a strategy for beginning writers and I will share the post on my Facebook page with others. I write posts quite a bit for the different websites I have, how do you focus and find the time to do it to write a book?

    1. Yes, this is a post that authors who have no idea where to begin marketing their books want to start their journey. It is hard at first to talk to other authors, especially when new authors have no mailing list. However, by building a list of rag tags from StoryOrigin and Prolific Works, the odds can and will shift in your favor. 

      I freelance write, as well as own four blogs. I find time to write by carving out a special time in my schedule to do so – usually two hours a day or more. 

  3. from reading your article it sounds extremely difficult to get noticed when you first start writing. The ideas to address this make perfect sense. I enjoyed the whole article it is very well thought out. It gives great insight and contains links for verification.

    This is the way most things to do with online marketing work, the examples you have given can also work for other niches with is a brilliant marketing strategy.

    1. It’s very difficult. Remember, there are over 6 million paid titles on Amazon, if not more than that, so it’s easy to get buried. The best way to market is to meet and interact with other authors who write in similar genres as your own. 

  4. Hi. I’m considering starting a book blog but it will interest me to know if it is better to promote other Authors books or to simply write reviews on books. Your suggestions will be welcomed and it will be helpful anytime I start a book blog.

    I will be waiting for your reply.

    1. Writing reviews is, in a way, promoting other authors, so they go hand in hand. I would just write reviews on the work, state why you liked the work, and go from there. I’m more kindhearted when it comes to book reviews, so I’ll never post a negative review of a work. Heck, if I get past the first few pages (which doesn’t often happen) I’m leaving a 3-star rating at the worst. 

  5. I found your site very informative. I like all the different ways to monetize writing. While I’m not an author your page brought out a fascination in the Indie Author niche. It was interesting to see how you’re using other authors to help promote your work while promoting theirs. 

    Looking around your site I love how much information you have on getting started with Wealthy Affiliates and how to work it being an author. I’m sure a lot of that information crosses over to other niches also. 

    Very well laid out site. Good work.

    Rob   

    1. Thanks! And while this site’s mainly for authors it IS part of the MMO family, so anyone looking to make money online can definitely learn from my articles – just put them into terms of your niche and have at it! Things such as building and maintaining a mailing list can go across many, many niches. 

  6. Great strategies.  I learnt a lot from them.  My number 1 thing I love to do is read.  Creating a blog niche around reading, giving reviews and driving traffic to your site. And helping them go up the ranks in Amazon as well.  It sounds amazing.  I couldn’t do cross promotion though, as I don’t have anything to promote.  However, I’m going to seriously consider this.  By the way, I just joined your mailing list ;).  And I’ve bookmarked your site.  You’ve got loads of writing tips and stuff, thank you for this.  I love reading ALL sorts but I’m really into fantasy and science fiction.  Currently reading Robin Hobb.  You’re right about excuses….writing and editing is like anything else, you’ve got to get disciplined and committed. TTFN.

    1. Definite! And thanks, Louise! Happy you joined and you’ll definitely love where this site’s headed. I have a lot of content and ideas yet to create, complete with product reviews and cool techniques that I’ve used over the past year to drive traffic to my first blog – and of course, to my books. As someone who’s starting his own review blog, I’ll definitely have to check out Robin Hobb – my goal’s to read and review one book a week once things settle a bit on the blogging front! 

      1. Hi Todd, I’m taking a break from writing and thought I’d pop in to say hi and let you know I received your email, cheers. Plus, I wanted to see your reply. 😉.

        BTW..Robin Hobb has created The Realm of the Elderlings books (there are 6 trilogies). I’m on my third trilogy. However, you’re getting your blog up and running, so no time for all that right now. I’m actually reading less now that I’m writing. But it’s all good. Sleep is for other people, LOL.

        1. I definitely agree with you when you say that sleep is for others! I’m lucky to get five hours, with all that I have going on. I’m definitely looking into Robin Hobb – interesting series title and six trilogies? That’s amazing and the dedication it takes is unlike any other. I am looking to start a book review blog to do on the side, so Hobb might be on my to-do list. I’d also like to recommend Maria Herring’s Age of Academicians series – I’m reading the first work right now and it’s setting the stage for interesting epic fantasy. Lots of action, adventure, and highly interesting characters.

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