When I came out with my new book, End of Mae, I don’t know what I was more excited by; breaking into fiction or getting to try out my marketing plan. It’s my belief that there is excellence out there being overlooked due to less than excellent promotion. Lack of money, knowledge and time tend to be the main enemies of the indie.
I have a soft spot in my heart for the indie cause, be it author, artist or musician. We stand alone and face the crowd, putting our hearts on our sleeves with voluntary vulnerability. Over the past two months I have personally asked over a dozen published authors what their marketing plan was, and the response each time was minimal to none.
There are a lot of books out there, and it’s necessary for authors today to make use of every tool available to be noticed. With the new prevalence of multimedia applications, the modern indie author must be more of a performer than in past years. The days of the reclusive writer hiding away from society are gone, at least while you are trying to get your work known.
Understanding and utilizing social networking, virtual worlds, machinima and viral marketing methods are vital to our success. Being a staunch supporter of your own work and acting professionally are also key factors. As John Locke points out in his excellent book How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!; “How is it that self-publishing is the only business where self-funding is considered undignified?” If we can’t be enthusiastic about ourselves, who else will be?
The day that End of Mae was officially published I knew that the real work and creativity was about to begin. It had several strikes against it being a new fiction in a highly competitive market. Aside from my blog I had been largely away from professional writing for several years. I was just kind of popping on the scene abruptly, a fact that could work for me or against me.
Despite this, I managed to successfully introduce End of Mae to the literary world, garnering more press than I could have hoped for in its first month alone, and for less than $50.
I used Second Life as part of my promotional campaign, building a virtual version of the house from my book in that world so that I could have a visual center of operations. This was excellent for taking photos and hosting social opportunities. I called it my End of Mae Virtual Visitor Center, and it is closely linked with my blog. I can host readings there, film videos, pass out updates and visit with fans in a satisfying and friendly way. This has proved to be a very successful strategy.
Here’s some of the first month statistics;
• Nearly 500 bloggers, magazine editors and other media specialists were contacted with a virtual press release. The entire thing cost under $1 and took me a total of about two hours from start to finish. The press release included promo shirts for girls and guys that could be shared and a replica of the actual book that contained the first chapter among other things.
• Since the press release 30 to 50 new people have visited the End of Mae Virtual Visitor Center in Second Life daily. This doesn’t count revisits, the counter I use counts only unique visitors. As of this post I am nearing the 3,000 visitor mark.
• As a direct result of the virtual press release, my virtual location became an editor’s pick for Second Life’s Destination Guide, exposing the book information to 150,930 (and growing) Facebook fans alone.
• Nearly 50 positive reviews were also published in a variety of blogs, along with live Q&A sessions, spotlights and interviews.
Now that I’m in my second month of publication, I am continuing to explore effective and free methods that anyone can use to share their work. My most recent brainstorm was entering The Goodreads Slideshow Story Contest with my marketing story. The contest is a fun challenge, but by using my book and its promotion as my subject, I get massive free marketing for both my books.
As I’m writing this, I’m climbing towards 3,000 views for this slideshow. That is a lot of exposure in exchange for an afternoon of pleasant work.
This article barely scratched the surface of the many overlooked opportunities that we need to start using. To this end I’m preparing to publish my next book based on all the details and methods I’ve used so successfully. A weekly broadcast and column, called MarketShare, are also in the works. I hope that by sharing what I’ve been able to accomplish with End of Mae, I can help indie and traditional artists find the wings to send their creation out into the spotlight.