Often times authors feel like they are in competition with other authors, but this isn’t the case. Many people are able to read a lot more than just one book, so this competition is false. In this guest post, author Jane Cable describes how working with other authors makes marketing so much easier.
It’s often said that being a writer is a lonely business – all that slaving away at your laptop in a chilly attic room, detached from the real world… Rubbish! But what is really lonely is when you start trying to market your book, especially for the first time.
Now excellent online resources exist and some, like Book Marketing Tools, (well of course) are full of great ideas. But what about when you’re stuck, miserable and just fed up with pushing at closed doors and not actually selling any books – what about when you need more than a few writers you met through Twitter to talk to? Nine months after the launch of my debut novel, this was me.
Enter Chindi, or Chichester Independent Authors. Local, not global. Real, not virtual. Market focussed, not navel-gazers. ‘The power of fourteen’ co-founder and children’s author Christopher Joyce called it. Or fifteen, or sixteen, or seventeen as we grew.
So how can a local group of authors be even remotely relevant in a global market? Well, here’s how…
Selling local gives you a head start – readers are naturally interested in a book that’s set where they live or written by someone in their neighbourhood. But we all know that getting booksellers to stock a book is hard. At Chindi we’ve sold books at evening events, rented a stall at the Christmas market and are close to reaching agreement with a book shop to showcase our work during the summer arts festival. For an author working alone all that would have been practically impossible.
Build a database
It’s the first rule of marketing – build your database. But how much easier to reach people when you can dip into a shared resource. Everywhere we go, and through our website, Chindi collects the contact details of people who are actively interested in independently published books. Sometimes people trust an organisation more than they do an individual author to take proper care of their data.
Share best practices
Whatever the question, someone in the group almost always has the answer. Lulu or Createspace? Facebook or Twitter advertising? How do I fill in that tax form for Amazon? Our growing knowledge comes from real experiences… good and bad. What’s more we are now helping to fund Chindi’s activities by running expert-led workshops and other events about independent publishing aimed at those who are thinking about taking the plunge themselves.
Read and review
Oh so many ways to get those valuable reviews on Goodreads, Kobo and especially Amazon. Just pay someone with six Twitter followers $25 and the world will be yours. Or just review each other’s books. And like the good reviews. And share those reviews on social media. Costs nothing but time, but get to critical mass and watch those mystical Amazon algorythms jerk into life.
Like, share, retweet and follow
So much better than the meaningless ‘follow you follow me’ dance on Twitter to have followers who actually care if you sell your book or know they’ll have to look you in the eye and tell you why they haven’t retweeted your link. This doesn’t mean you can’t build valuable relationships with people you meet in the virtual world, but when you can share the whole group’s followers, friends and likers you put your work in front of thousands of additional potential buyers.
Widen the web
At Chindi we have a website, a YouTube channel and of course Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not every author has the knowledge or resource for YouTube or to keep a website properly up to date but even for those who can it’s much more interesting for readers to follow groups of writers all in one place.
Stretch your resources
This is about money – and time. The Christmas market cost about £500 ($750) and lasted for five days – the commitment would have been too much for one author but together it was affordable and achievable. And we sold literally hundreds of books. All the author members have roles – so one person knocks on the doors of bookshops while someone else forges strong media links and another looks after market research. Everyone plays to their strengths.
Vent and whinge
There’s no-one who understands an indie author quite like another indie author. So when someone’s posted a review of your book that’s so factually incorrect they can’t have read it and you want to scream – you can. Without damaging your reputation in the process.
Bringing Authors Together
Whether you do a few or all of these things, working together with other authors magnifies what you are able to get done, the number of people you can reach, and ultimately the success of your work.
Try finding authors, whether locally or online, that you can begin to partner with to reach more and more readers and have more successful book promotions.
Jane Cable is an indie women’s fiction author who loves working with and helping other authors. She is a part of a local group called Chindi Authors, who are happy to advise other writers on setting up their own groups. Visit www.chindi-authors.co.uk and use the contact form.