Take Risks & Be Disruptive!
It is a new year and I cannot think of a better time in which we can all shake things up a little, especially when it comes to our dreams and goals.
Since I first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) and published my first novel, I have been working hard to find ways to get my work out to readers. It turns out that writing a story, getting everything edited, designing and modifying cover artwork, determining a selling price and platform was the easy part. The hardest part is the marketing.
There are all sorts of different blog posts and advertisements to be found on the internet, each one claiming to have discovered the "secret" for successfully selling books. Each book marketer assures you that they are the best platform in which to market and sell your novel, and some even come with a satisfaction guarantee (make sure you read the fine print!). The one commonality with each of these advertising sites is that they are only too happy to take your money regardless of whether or not they produce tangible sales results.
We are living in an era of disruption, where success comes to those that shake things up. Think of Jeff Bezos and how he has turned the retail world upside-down with Amazon. Think of Elon Musk and Tesla. Think about how eBay, Apple, Uber and Netflix have changed the way consumers shop, travel and find entertainment. Each of these companies have become successful because they disrupted the norm and created a buzz in their respective industries.
Amazon opened the door for the indie author by providing a platform for authors to self publish their works. In turn, this has provided the reading public with an unprecedented number of choices. No longer do readers have to go to their local bookstore or library to search for new books to read, they can now find anything and everything online and instantly download an electronic copy. It is instant gratification at its best!
Amazon opened the floodgates with this disruptive business model and in the process has allowed many very talented writers to reach previously unreachable readers. However, in doing so, they have also made it very difficult for a new and unknown author to be discovered. There are now literally millions of books available through Amazon which makes getting noticed quite challenging.
For most indie authors it is simply not economically feasible to spend hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on an professional marketing campaign for our books. This is a significant disadvantage that an indie author has when compared to authors who are traditionally published, although even traditionally published authors do not have an unlimited marketing budget (unless you are a superstar like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling!).
The lack of a 6 or 7 figure marketing budget doesn't mean that we are doomed to fail, it simply means that we have to be more creative in our marketing approach. In short, we need to be disruptive!
How do we do this? If you know your target reader audience, and you should, then start thinking about where these people would gather in larger groups. Do you write historical non-fiction? Then visit your local historical society and offer to do a reading of your book. Do you write stories filled with dragons and wizards? Why not consider visiting a medieval fair and set up a table with your books?
Indie authors are a creative group. We create people, places and adventures using only our imagination. Coming up with new and disruptive ideas for marketing our books should be second nature to such creative geniuses ;o)