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.
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.
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.
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.