Thursday, October 19, 2017

Marketing for the self-made

Hey-O! You’ve almost made it through the whole week. I’m proud of you. Really. I know some of you had incredibly rough weeks, and I’m glad that you made it through in one piece. Even if you don’t feel like you did. You’re alive. You’re here, reading this post. And I’m glad you’re here.

Tuesday, we talked about marketing for traditional publishers. Today then…

How Self-Published Authors Market Books

I’m not going to lie to you. I promised that I was going to be positive this month and tell you all the good things about either side of publishing, but I’m also not going to lie about how hard it is to do some of these things.

Marketing is harder, for self-published authors. It just is. Mostly because you’re working by yourself to market your book, sometimes without as much knowledge of how to market or where to market.

But you know what?

When you’re marketing your own book, you get to decide who you market to.

That’s something you don’t always get to do, when you go the traditional route. And being able to set your own target market means that you get to go out and reach those people yourself—which can be a lot of fun. You get to be the one to set up events, to run ads and hit the streets, and you get to decide what your campaigns are going to be like. You won’t have anyone dictating to you about what you need to do or where you need to do it.

The nice thing about this, is that if you’re going through a rough patch in life or your day job is just taking up too much time right now, there’s not going to be someone hounding you to do the events and ads you need to do.

The bad thing about this… is the same thing.

It is more difficult to get noticed by as many people, if you’re not signed with a well-known traditional publisher. But it’s also a really good learning experience. It’s a way to get yourself out there, to make yourself be more adventurous and outgoing—which is what a lot of us need to do. 

It's also a great way to get your platform started, which will make your work more appealing to traditional publishers (if that's the route you're hoping to eventually go). 

For me, marketing Telekinetic meant going to as many events as I could and hounding as many friends and family members as possible, but that wasn’t enough. See, I’m not lying. I could’ve done a lot better with Telekinetic, if I’d put my time into it. Which is what you have to do, if you’re going the self-published route. You have to put the time in, or you’re never going to get seen.

But when you put that time in, when you get to where you’ve got it down and you know what you’re doing when it comes to marketing, you’ll be able to use that same platform to springboard your next book—all without someone telling you what to do.

I’d say that’s pretty nice, in the long run.


{Rani Divine}

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Marketing, for the pros

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday. I don’t know if that’s a thing, but maybe it should be. Be happy, have a happy day. No matter what day it is.

Last week, we talked about the reality behind traditional publishing and self-publishing, while focusing only on the good parts of the deal. So, traditional is great if you’re looking for someone to back you, someone to really point you in the right direction. And if you’re not that great of a business person, then definitely traditional publishing is the way you want to go.

But what does marketing look like, in publishing houses?

That’s what we’re going to look at today.

How Traditional Publishers Market Books

Like we talked about last Tuesday, traditional houses usually have a lot more money to put toward marketing a book. They also usually have a whole team of people devoted to getting your book on as many shelves as possible. That’s a lot of what they’ll do for you, if you publish through them.

They take a lot of the hard work out of your hands.

They’ll run ads for your books, for you as an author, and even for future releases. They’ll contact bookstores and set up events wherever they can. They’ll get you into events that you wouldn’t regularly be able to get into on your own. And they’ll do all of this without batting an eye, because that’s what they do.

What I like with traditional publishers, is that if I have an idea for marketing my book, I can take it to them. They have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t, so they know whether my idea is pure genius or sheer idiocy (let’s face it, we all have our moments). If I have a certain event that I want to get into, I can ask my publisher to get me into it. Sure, I’ll have to give them a good reason why they should stick their neck out for me, but their presence holds a lot more weight than mine does. When my editor contacts an event to book me, people pay attention. When I’ve tried to do it on my own, people just wonder who I am.

See what I mean?

Publishers carry a lot more weight, simply by being a business. They know what they’re doing, they’ve been in it for a while, and they don’t shy away from asking big events for a seat for one of their authors.

If a first time author tried to reach out to a big event for their first book, without a publisher to back them… sometimes it’s just not as appealing to the event coordinators.

That’s what’s great about traditional publishers. They do all the legwork, while I sit back and do what they tell me to do. I go to events, I sign books, and I write more books—which is what I really want to be doing, to begin with.


{Rani Divine}

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So... How is self-publishing different (or better)?

Tuesday, we discussed exactly what traditional publishing is, how it works from submission to publication, so today it’s time for self/vanity publishing. For our purposes, I’m going to simplify it and call them both self-publishing (really, vanity publishing is just a more expensive version of self-publishing).

How it Works

Essentially, self-publishing is designed to make it easier for an author to get published. In the traditional realm, authors have to keep sending out their manuscripts to various publishers, hoping an editor somewhere out there will read it and like it enough to take it to the board. But in self-publishing, we get to completely skip that whole process.

(Usually, this is where I’d tell you how annoying it is to work with self-publishers, but remember, I’m not doing that in this series. This month is all about the good stuff.)

Self-publishing is great if you’re on a clock, or if you’ve tried it the traditional way and gotten nothing but an endless line of rejections. It’s also a great way to start developing a platform, if your intention is to work with a traditional publisher later on down the line.

But let’s look at the specifics on how it works.

It starts when a writer pays a publisher for the ability to publish the manuscript. Depending on what publisher you go with, those prices will vary. The author becomes the sole person responsible for editing, cover design, marketing, everything. There is no advance royalty, because there is no formal contract of that nature. If you’re working with a publisher like Amazon, sometimes there’s no formal contract at all.

Authors get to maintain all the rights to their work. The copyright goes in their name, once again, but now everything else is also creatively controlled by the author. There’s no reason to worry about not liking your cover design or getting stuck with edits that you don’t like, because you’re responsible for everything. After all, you’re the one paying for it.

Self-publishing allows authors to make their own decisions, to choose where they want to market and what readers they want to reach for in order to create and develop their platform. That’s something authors don’t get with traditional publishing.

I’m not going to lie though. Self-publishing is hard work—but that’s exactly what some authors need. 

If you’re looking to make your writing into a hardcore business, then yeah, maybe self-publishing is for you. If you have the money to throw into your projects, then yeah, self-publishing might be for you. There are some very good things about self-publishing, and it does fill a void in the system. Now there’s nothing to stop authors from getting published, no big business to tell writers they can’t be published.

And yeah, it means that the market is more saturated, but that really just means we all have to work harder to get our work seen—which is what we were already doing, from the start.

Next week, we’ll start getting into the nitty-gritty details.


{Rani Divine}