Selling yourself – Knowing your market

I really feel that I need to write this post after recent topics within groups and questions I am often asked. The main one being ‘How do you sell your books without huge advertising payouts?’

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⭐I wish I could say this was down to talent alone within my books, but I am not naive and I know talent only gets you so far. As an indie author you have to be savvy about your marketing, you have to understand how selling can work. Do not waste time on exhaustive and pointless marketing. Research your readership, your genre, your ‘nook’ . Target events that will only cater for your genre, or a successful mixed variety, where others in your specialist topics will most likely be; as the saying goes – ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’  This is hugely true.

⭐Look at how busy events have gotten in previous years and pick ones which have a proven success record. Smaller ones are cheaper and more intimate and get you more time to interact with other authors, so do not dismiss them. See them as a getaway or weekend break where sales are not the goal. Larger , heavy traffic ones will get you more sales, more reach if people take flyers and samples but they are not always great at taking time to peruse other authors tables. I tend to look for both types.

⭐Making connections and networking is all good and dandy, but if the people you’re connecting with are in another field, another readership, then it’s about as useful as warm ice. A fellow author in another genre is not going to share your links to their fans if it’s not something they want, add you to their networking circle, or make friends via groups and events. You will find yourself spending money and getting frustrated at the growing friends list of lovely people, yet have little comeback on it. Be savvy about it.

⭐Never underestimate the power of a fellow author and their willingness to help you out. And in turn, pay it back.

⭐If you are not willing for a two way pay off you will very soon fall off other writers radars.

⭐The writing community is welcoming and fun and there are huge groups of fellow writers who spend all day promoting one another. If you are willing to get involved and selflessly promote, it will pay you back tenfold. Find your niche as their insight, advice, and contacts, will have way more promise for you than being a ‘supernatural writer’ and getting in the ‘historical writer’ crowd. Find your community and become an active member. Make genuine friends and always take critic and advice when offered, as it is usually in your best interest to do so.

⭐I am not saying do not ever make cross genres contacts, please do… at the end of the day they are also readers and word of mouth is hugely effective. The more you surround yourself with peers, the more you can learn from them, but bear in mind, the most impact to help your book and your genres, comes from those in your field who know what it entails. The specific readership, styles that are common, what’s trending and even direct you to useful services. Popular cover makers, photographers, models, PA’s, bloggers…all of which tend to be Genre specific. They can help with marketing ideas and promo too. Most Indie authors tend to have trialled and error’d a lot and are as unwilling to pay out huge amounts either, so listen to them. Look to them for inspiration and chat about what actually works.

⭐Schmooze and appreciate bloggers – they are hugely important and should be valued with the role they play in an indie authors career. Bloggers have instant reach with their own followers and can be your biggest asset. Don’t be afraid to flirt a little and pull some into your circle of networking.

⭐Research your events. Look at what they mainly promote, what sort of foot traffic they get and which of the authors going are there to bring in crowds. Pick wisely as spending money for travel, accommodation and tables at events where you will flop are not good business. There are genre specific events, varied events and book con’s all over the UK every year. You can usually start finding them via other writers, so bear in mind this is another reason you want to find your niche of people. Do not go to an event for hardcore erotica if you sell ‘clean’ romance for eg.

⭐Social media is still your biggest tool, get on every form you can find, and link it all up. Create a presence, blog, open a Facebook page and direct every single thing you sign up to , back to the page or blog. The more followers you amass the more success of making a living with your writing and less likely to need to shell out a ton in ads. There are so many free ways to build a presence nowadays, google social media outlets and get signing up. Do not dismiss any tool at your hands – blogging, videos, events and take overs. Build a website to coral it all and give fans a place to touch base and keep up with your news easily. Start a mailing list, collect followers emails and do not spam them relentlessly.

⭐Branding is another tool, making your books instantly recognisable to fans or new readers, and maintaining the branding across all your promo and pages can help a  huge deal. It is more important than people realise. I know my readers often send me things in my colour scheme or instantly look like they are from my brand to query if it’s mine. It works. From a design background I can assure you, it’s sometimes as important as the contents themselves.

⭐ Produce polished and professional work. Hire people to help if it’s not in your skill set.

⭐Encourage interaction, from fans and friends. Games and online polls. Open a group and only add genuine readers of your work if you want it to have any form of success. Filling pages and groups with real life friends and family who have no interest in reading your work is pointless. It doesn’t get you sales and it will not make your group busy in the way you want it to be.

⭐Be your own horn blower – if you cannot be passionate and confident about what you write, then why should anyone bother? Have faith in your skill, fake your confidence if you have to but I was always told ‘dress for the job you want, not the one you have.’ The same goes for promoting your own books. Do not be someone who says ‘Oh it’s okay, I would appreciate if you would take a look.’ be the one who says ‘OMG, you have to read its, I promise you will not be able to put it down, I am so in love with my characters.’

⭐Sell your work!

⭐Reviews or criticism should be accepted graciously, whether you agree or not. Bear in mind that your public persona matters and if you get a bad name among reviewers it can kill sales. Be aware of how you portray yourself online. You are your biggest asset and if people like you, then you will sell.

⭐There are so many more topics on this that add up to marketing, but I feel this blog will go one forever.  So I am going to trail off here and in the future hope to add more to this topic, if you have any specific questions then feel free to drop them below xx

 

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4 thoughts on “Selling yourself – Knowing your market”

  1. Valuable advice, beautifully written.
    The branding point is so so true. I ‘know’ your books straight away .. a clever tool you must have given thought to long before publication of your first book.
    I shall print this blog for my cork board!!!! xx

    Like

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