From Writer to Marketer
by Robert Germaux
When I first created the character of Jeremy Barnes, my Pittsburgh private detective, I never imagined the wild ride we’d take together. I knew Jeremy was an interesting character, and I was pretty sure other people would think so too. So when it came time to send Jeremy out into the world, I was forced to consider my publishing choices.
Since you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume there’s a good chance that, like me, you’ve already gone through the Catch-22 of publishers who won’t accept unagented manuscripts and agents who won’t represent unpublished authors. Or perhaps, like many people today, you simply decided to skip traditional publishing and go the online route right away (if so, good for you).
After I completed my first full-length novel, I figured the hard part was over, and I’d soon be finding my way to fame and fortune. Silly me. Since I’d made the decision to self-publish, the hard part was just beginning. I had absolutely no idea that I would need to promote my book, much less how to go about doing that. In my naïveté, I thought I’d just put my book out there and wait for the royalties to roll in. You’re probably nowhere near as clueless as I was, but just in case, here are some things I’ve learned about selling your book as an Indie author.
First, you must have an online presence. I didn’t have a website or a Facebook page or any other internet-related identity at all. And I had zero idea of how to go about getting those things. Fortunately, I found someone to help me, and that person, who eventually became a trusted advisor and good friend, also introduced me to the world of cover reveals, virtual book tours, book blogs, online reviewers, etc.
If you’re not familiar with any of the above, just Google them or, better yet, find a trusted advisor of your own. Find an online mentor who’s willing to take you under his or her wing. There are many writers who are willing to help newbies. Start by joining online writer’s groups. LinkedIn is a great place to find these groups. Be sure to visit your chosen groups frequently and contribute often. Ask for advice on a variety of topics. This can result in several new and lasting networking contacts.
Another thing I’ve learned is that it’s not enough to just market your book. You also have to market yourself, and not just online. I’m not a particularly shy person, but I’m not really what you’d call a go-getter either, so this aspect of the whole promotion program is definitely not easy for me. Be prepared to shamelessly plug your book anywhere, at any time and at a moment’s notice. Have your elevator speech prepared well ahead of time.
Basically, I’ve adopted a sort of carpe diem approach to it. I don’t force myself on people, but if I see someone with an e-reader in, say, the line at Starbucks, I might mention that I have a couple books in the Amazon Kindle Store. After that, I’ll just go wherever the conversation leads. Sometimes it goes nowhere, but occasionally it’ll go somewhere. I’ve had people in those situations ask me about my books and then download them right on the spot.
So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Meanwhile, good luck with your own journey into the land of indie writing. Jeremy and I will be waiting for you!
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
About the Author
Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that at an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places.
Although I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia’s idea was a good one.
Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes. I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write Small Talk and The Backup Husband. Now I’m back and will be releasing my first Jeremy Barnes novel, Hard Court, on April 11.
In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), going to live theater productions, watching reruns of favorite TV shows such as “Sports Night” and “Gilmore Girls,” and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and share a romantic dinner in Paris. I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my characters and stories. Please feel free to contact me via my website.