On Writing : Self Publishing and Marketing by Jan Walters

Self Publishing and Marketing

I was asked about my experience self publishing and the amount of time spent on marketing. I have used iUniverse to self publish three books. I've been very happy with the services and quality of editorial staff and marketing services. I think self-published authors had a bad rap in the beginning, as many did not utilize professional editors. That is one thing I stress for those self publishing - hire a professional editor!! I have improved my marketing plan with each book. Some things work; some don't. My books fall into the thriller/supernatural suspense/mystery genre. So, depending on what you write, there may be some variations. Lessons learned: develop a marketing plan prior to the release of your book; if you self publish and set aside a good budget for marketing activities. At a minimum, I spend 2-3 hours a day on marketing activities. The basics of my marketing plan include: 1. Knowing your target audience/reader 2. Creating a marketing campaign overview 3. Knowing what makes me an expert in what I am writing about. (I write A Ghost & A Cop Series ) I have four generations of men serving on the Des Moines Police Dept., including my son and husband. I have access to lots of real cases/stories. 4. Identify potential endorsers of my book 5. What awards or contests could I enter? 6. Goals for my website? Is it to sell books, share info, etc. 7. Develop a comprehensive book signing campaign 8. How will publicity be handled? I usually hire a publicist through iUniverse 9. What advertising will you utilize? Make sure you have a good budget for this 10. Network and utilize technology and local talent for promotion activities - For example, I hired a local film company to create a movie/book trailer of the second book. Many book trailers are static; meaning they do not utilize live actors. Personally, I wanted a book trailer that looked more like a movie trailer. As with many things in life, it is a constant learning process. I always welcome new ideas.

David E. Gates

Marketing is by far and away the hardest part of selling a book. If you have no budget, then you're not going to be able to hire publicists and run adverts. Also, you need to understand exactly when/where to advertise - it's not simply about running ads in every medium. I ran an ad twice (I was lucky (well, maybe not so lucky) to get the second run free due to their mistake) in a newspaper that's available for free on the trains here in the south of the UK and has a readership of 2.5 million people. I sold two books. The people at the paper couldn't advise why I had so little response. I try and get a paper to run a feature before I invest in advertising to see what kind of response that garners. My best response was from a free magazine that published my press release pretty much as is. If you make it easy for them, they'll likely use it. Hope this helps.

Richard "RB" Botto

Jan, I truly appreciate this post. As someone who is having a book published this year (through Focal Press), I've done a ton of reading on self-publishing as an alternative for another idea I have in the pipeline. I have zero misconceptions that self-publishing requires almost a full time attention to crowdsourcing and marketing. Your outline confirmed many of my suspicions. Simply a great share. Very grateful.

Richard "RB" Botto

David...Appreciate you sharing your experience as well. Extremely interesting.

Jan Walters

@jeff e. Gregory, yes there is a cost to publish at iUniverse. checkout their website. Various plans to pick from. Marketing and editing is ala carte. So, you can spend as much as your budget allows.

Jan Walters

Sales improve with each book, which should be expected (better marketing, more name recognition, etc.) I've sold more than the average self-published author, but not a best seller yet. Still working on it.

Serafin Soto

I appreciate you sharing this wealth of knowledge with us. Awesome!

Leonard D. Hilley II

You can self-publish via Amazon Kindle (KDP) and CreateSpace for FREE. Draft2Digital allows you to publish digital copies of your books to Tolino, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and several others. You can share royalties with narrators for Audio books at ACX. I agree with Jan about getting a professional editor if you choose to self-publish. Your reputation is on the line otherwise. Also, for book covers, I use selfpubbookcovers . com for great covers at reasonable prices. They do digital and PB covers together when you buy. The beauty of the site is that you can place the title and author name on the book cover yourself. Beware of Print on Demand publishers who are charging outrageous amounts of money for things you can do for FREE on your own. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

Jan Walters

Hey Leonard, I'm going to check out ACX. Interested in audio books.

David E. Gates

Leonard is right - with the exception of my first book, which I got Lulu.com to help me publish (self-publish, but they helped - though they make it damned hard to update the interior) because I didn't know the mechanics of self-publishing, I self-published for FREE. I still had to do ALL the formatting etc., for my first book which beggars the question of what I paid Lulu for - but it got me started. For ALL of my remaining books, I've self-published and ALL for free. The ONLY thing I paid for was licensing for the covers on two of them as they feature artwork that was not my own.

Leonard D. Hilley II

@Jan. ACX is good. Some great narrators. One thing I failed to mention is Babbelcube. You can connect with foreign translators and split royalties. Research who you choose though. Also understand, translations take a LOT of time. My epic fantasy novels are LONG. Six months or longer to translate one of them. German and Spanish are two big outlets for readers, so translations in those languages are helpful. Indie publishing has changed a lot over the years. Technology has increased authors' chances of being discovered, but it's also a two-edged sword. What used to be an agent or publisher's slush pile is sadly being uploaded, making readers sift through the books to find the good ones. Again, why professional editing is essential.

Stephen Foster

there is great power in self-publishing. walt whitman, julia cameron, louise hay, all self-published!

Anne Devina Reeve

Too right Stephen:Jane Austen, A.A Milne, Stephen King, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, G.B Shaw, Beatrix Potter, Lord Byron just to name a few and umm me


Great post, Anne! As a future self-published author this info is much appreciated.

Other topics in Authoring & Playwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In