Book marketing: it’s a many-headed hydra that prompts endless questions and dilemmas. And while the major traditional publishing houses may have plenty of time and money to throw into marketing their A-List titles—in comparison to the average indie author, at least—the first question you’re likely to ask is why? Why, exactly, should you invest your time or money into a book marketing campaign? A good book speaks for itself, after all. This question is immediately followed by another: how? How and where should you even get started marketing a book once it has been published?
As self-publishing authors, the way we approach the dilemmas created by marketing matters. Because book marketing is not optional. Many authors don’t realize that there is still vital work to be done after publication. We won’t sell books, and we won’t make room in our lives for the next book, either, if we don’t give some of our time over to making sure our books end up in the right hands. How much time and energy did it take to write your book? Then, how much time, energy, or resources did it take to publish it? For your book to have a fair chance in today’s competitive marketplace, it deserves an equal investment into marketing it as it received in writing and publishing it.
But marketing is not something you have to face without help. Nobody wants to face the hydra alone—and while you may think that you have to, we’re here to tell you that help is most definitely at hand.
Self-publishing does not mean going solo. It means publishing the way you want to publish. And then marketing the way you want to market. And, in either case (or both cases, actually), you have us.
You do have one enormous advantage over the traditional publishing houses with their big budgets and their paid professionals: You can make it personal. You can lend the marketing process a human touch, and you can take advantage of the most effective means of self-promotion known to humankind. Never underestimate the power of your existing social network. You can also pick the things you do well, like graphic design or blogging, and reach out for professional help only when you really need it.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help! Knowing when you need it is, however, a difficult leap to make. We all have felt it, that little itch at the back of our mind, that inner protest along the lines of “But—you were supposed to be doing this yourself!” pushing us into a frenzy of self-doubt. And so we repeat: There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. One of the greatest appeals to going indie is that self-publishing is a haven for the fierce individualist, exactly the sort of author to incur the wrath of Traditional Publishing for wanting too much artistic control while keeping all your rights and royalties.
The truth of the matter is that self-publishing really can serve everyone, including first-time writers as well as veteran authors disillusioned with the “traditional” way of doing things. Self publishing can include technologically-challenged authors, risk-averse authors, and authors who simply find themselves in need of artistic, editorial, or computer-related assistance. Sometimes, what you really need is targeted, professional advice, from experts who have been helping thousands of authors publish thousands of books for more than a decade. If you have been posting promotional material to a blog or social media platform for a long time with very little response, or if you’ve been burning the midnight oil obsessing over marketing only to sell very few books, it’s time to ask for help.
Where to begin, though? Even just a quick Google search for “Consultant for self-publishing a book” turns up roughly seven million results, which says a lot about the growth in this sector of the publishing industry. There are a lot of marketing consultation websites out there geared toward you, the self-publishing author, ranging from freelance consultants (including many who’ve transitioned from being publishing consultants within Traditional Publishing) to personal marketing assistants with hybrid/self-publishing companies. No illusions here: when it comes to seeking professional advice on marketing your book, you’ll have to spend some money. Experts cost money, whether you’re getting your car fixed, your house built, or your book marketed.
Consider your payment for the expertise of a Personal Marketing Assistant (PMA) as a sound investment with a high rate of return. In most cases, your decision to exchange money in order to save yourself the time, energy, and frustration of sorting out all the details on your own is what we might call “fair market value.” It’s worth it, in other words, to put your book’s future sales on a solid foundation and to spend your time writing your next book.
A Personal Marketing Assistant comes in handy, you might have guessed, once you already have your book put together and ready to go. They are the sort of people you want on your team when you’re setting up a marketing plan or booking a library reading, developing your author platform on social media, or following up on marketing campaign leads. And good PMAs—no matter which company you elect to self-publish with—are more than just talk. Good PMAs get their hands dirty with your project, and do some of the heavy lifting for you– calling bookstores, pitching your book to radio shows, finding book reviewers, guest blogging opportunities, trade shows, author events, etc., etc.
So, when do you call for this kind of help?
Whenever you need to. Whenever you want to. Want, after all, is as critical a component of self-publishing as need, and I think we forget that sometimes. Do a little research. Does your self-publishing company offer the chance to work with a personal marketing assistant after your book is published? If you’ve already decided to publish with Outskirts Press, the answer is an unequivocal “Yes!” Now, do you want or need a little advice on what to do next? We’re just a phone call, an email, or a live chat away. You can contact us for more information about marketing or for inspiration from our newsletters, email communications, and social media posting.
And if you’re ready to take the marketing of your book seriously, you can reserve a 5-hour block of time with your own Personal Marketing Assistant here: