That’s right. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Congratulations btw on finishing the book or on self-publishing one or many books.
It’s not easy.
I know, I’ve self-published 8 fiction novels and my 9th is just a few weeks from rolling out the door. We don’t call them our book babies for nothing. They’re a true labour of love.
If this is not your first rodeo, you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you are a newbie—strap in, this author gig bucks like a…!
Writing the book and throwing it up on Amazon and a few other platforms and hoping for the best is no longer enough—not even close.
To be a successful author today, I’m talking actually selling books, (I have no doubt that what you wrote was great), you have to be able to compete with the best of them in digital marketing. And make no mistake the competition in the eBook arena is FIERCE, with thousands of new books being added to Amazon each week.
It’s not for the faint hearted.
Today, being successful as an indie author depends on your ability to mix and apply the latest principles of digital marketing with the nuances of Amazon and the other sales platforms.
Amazon, and in fact, most of the other book platforms are challenging beasts. Why? Because as great as the experience is for the reader, it’s almost the reverse for the author/publisher.
With Amazon in particular, you essentially have only 2 areas that you control on your book’s product page. The book blurb/description and the cover. The rest is up to Amazon. This includes the placement of at least 20 other “sponsored” authors’ books being placed on your book’s page, plus the also boughts.
Nothing like a little distraction with competitors from the path you want your readers to take to the “buy” button!
You have to agree, this is a huge amount for a perspective reader to get distracted with. Oh, and did I mention Amazon makes an amount on every single one of those ads that entices a click? Yup.
So, you see the dilemma.
It’s a seriously tough gig and you’re only going to be making about $3 a book if you’re lucky. Which means getting ROI on advertising investment is tricky.
But before you go curl up in the corner or reach for the nearest bottle of choice, all is not lost—you can succeed, and you can win. You just have to understand the game and how you can attract and retain your readers. (Your tribe).
And because I’m a giver, I’m going to share with you the secret…
The key to this magical reader retention—digital marketing.
The more you know and understand a customer’s journey and why and how people buy, then the better equipped you will be as a digital marketer to succeed in the self-publishing world. And make no mistake, if you thought you were an author you’re wrong.
You’re so much more!
Any successful indie author, also has to be their own publishing company. To do this you need to be the full bottle on digital marketing or be prepared to hire someone that is. Knowledge and understanding is power.
This power works 2 ways.
Firstly, if you understand the principles behind digital marketing it will immediately help you see if the latest gimmick or scam being offered to you to sell more books is exactly that—a scam or gimmick. Believe me, you will be barraged with these 24×7 once your name gets out there. This new-found superpower will alone save you thousands of dollars and untold frustrations and disappointments.
Secondly, and very simply—you have to be better and smarter at how you position your author brand and your books. This means being very strategic with the following:
- Social media—presence, marketing and community initiatives
- Mailing list/Newsletter development— Pro Tip: It can’t just be a “buy my book” with a series of links each week—your open rate will suck, and you might as well not bother.
- Website—this is your internet home and one of the few places you own. Use it to your advantage.
- Advertising—Pro Tip: Facebook is your best friend, closely followed by Amazon Ads (AMS) and Book Bub Ads. Other advertising opportunities take on board with a lot of caution and be prepared for lack lustre results.
So now you’ve decided to hunker down and make self-publishing your jam, where do you start?
Natalie Nichols, is the founder of mediahoney.com.au, and a DigitalMarketer Certified Partner. Natalie has also personally achieved certification in all 11 DigitalMarketer disciplines. She writes romantic fiction with a difference under the pen name Natalie Gayle, more about her books can be found here http://www.nataliegayle.com. Her journey on the digital marketing path really took hold with a desire to improve her ability to market her books. Along the way she found more and more people seeking her help. This has now morphed into Natalie not only enhancing her own author brand but specialising in helping, fellow health, wellness and creatives realise their business dreams. Natalie loves working with people “who give back” and are also on the journey to brighten and improve someone else’s day.