Self-published authors (and traditional authors, lately) are constantly being faced with a conundrum: how much time (and money!) should be spent on marketing, and how much time should be spent on writing that next book? It’s an understandable struggle, especially in this current time of technology and the ever-present ability and desire of your readers to find out what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and essentially hoping you’ll be an interesting figure they can engage with and be entertained by.
Authors aren’t expected to “perform” and post like other artists in creative industries (actors, models, musicians), but having a strong social media platform and compelling presence is one of the best ways to find new readers—especially for an indie author who might be lacking a publisher’s media connection and marketing budget.
Midnight Publishing has been assisting local and international authors for nearly a decade with their books and author platforms (contact us for a free sample edit of your manuscript!), and we wanted to examine some of the pros and cons to making the decision to market your current books.
Pros to Marketing Current Books
For an indie author who might just be starting out in the industry, you need to tell people about your book. The e-book market is oversaturated, so the odds of a vast amount of readers finding your title are close to none without maintaining an active website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook page, and even Snapchat nowadays.
Typically, you want to begin building your author platform at least six months before your first book even comes out—start your blog, comment on others’ blogs, set up a newsletter, and grow your presence online and in readers’ circles like Wattpad by posting excerpts of your work. You’re probably saying “How do I do all of this social media while also writing an entire book?!” Yes, it’s difficult to achieve an active presence on all social media platforms, complete a book, and maintain the semblance of a normal life (showering, eating, etc.) all at once. Thankfully, there are ways to manage your social media where you can schedule posts out using programs like Hootsuite, Facebook’s own post scheduler, or Buffer (they are a lot more, most with free options—find a list here on LifeHack). Another rule of thumb is to pick one or two social media platforms (your website in non-negotiable, and if you blog and update regularly, your website will climb Google’s ranking system), and focus on those. Being spread too thin will only hinder the process, so be realistic about where to market.
And keep in mind—when Midnight Publishing says “marketing,” we mean having an active presence online and providing useful content to your readers and fans, not repetitive links to your book over and over. Have a fun, exciting, entertaining presence that will automatically draw others closer to you naturally, with a few mentions of your books sprinkled throughout.
Cons to Marketing Current Books
When it comes to paying for marketing, budding self-published authors (those with only one or two titles out) should be frugal and mindful of their options.
The truth of the matter is this: If you don’t have many thousands of dollars to spend on a large marketing campaign and you don’t have a huge reader following already with five-plus books on the market, you’re wasting your money (and time).
You’d do better to manage your social media platforms, try smaller options like Facebook advertising, and get a street team together who will spread the word about your book(s) for free!
It’s always better to write the next book over spending a majority of your time marketing in the beginning. People have short attention spans, so if they read your first one and love it, they’re going to want to buy the second, and the third, and the fourth…but if you’ve only got one or two, you might lose them in the amount of time it takes to write the next book. Allow your readers to be your marketers as you build your backlist, and once you have five or more titles to sell, then it’s time to focus on some serious marketing options.
Midnight Publishing is a Phoenix-based company of editors, writers, and marketers trusted with over five million words since we opened our doors. We live to see authors’ dreams come true and help them put forth the best books they can so that their careers flourish. Contact us today to see how we can help you break into the publishing industry!