Self-publishing update: Now—marketing

Many of the self-publishing blog posts, articles, and books I’ve read make a comment that expresses the sentiment, “Authors struggle with promotion and marketing,” or “Marketing is where the real work begins.”  This is based on the general idea that many, if not most, writers are introverts.

Where I’m sitting right now, I couldn’t agree more. I feel completely out of my element. Where do I go? What do I do? Do I even want to peddle my work?

When I was in grade school, one of the clubs I was in, and it may have been Girl Scouts, had a fund raiser where we had to sell decorative glass candles door-to-door. I absolutely hated it. I remember thinking, I will never get a job where I have to sell things.

And look at me now.

In high school I was a cheer-leader. And every Friday during football or basketball season we had to sell a certain number of “tags,” for, I think it was,  25 or 50 cents. They were a football or basketball sticker attached to a ribbon of about 2 inches wide by 5 or 6 inches long printed with a very spirited message like “Blast the Bears” or “Cream the Cougars.” Students were encouraged to buy and then wear the tags to build interest in the upcoming game and rally team spirit. Quite pragmatically, it was a lucrative fund-raiser for the cheer-leaders.

I hated having to sell all my tags. I had to spend the morning, and sometimes the whole day, before and between classes trying to coerce or cajole fellow classmates into forking over 50 cents for a tag. I’ll never forget the two quiet guys who sat near me in my homeroom, my early targets. I think their names were Nick Simpson and Ned Steinke, or maybe Nick Steinke and Ned Simpson; it’s been a long time. I didn’t know them outside of school, or outside of my homeroom, really, but they were kind, and sweet, and rather quiet, and always willing to buy my tags.

Looking back on my fairly short self-publishing journey, I’ve faced a lot of challenges. But the book has been written, edited, rewritten, re-edited, formatted into print and ebooks, a cover designed, summary and blurbs generated, and an ISBN assigned with a bar code generated. My book is for sale in print at, (and surprisingly to me, at B&N online), and as an ebook on Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook (although there is something very funky going on with the title that I will have to get to the bottom of), and Smashwords in multiple formats. I discovered today that the ebook is even for sale in other countries, giving me a little chuckle. Check out these links:
Dancing in Heaven in the DE Kindle store and France Kindle store

I have so many Dancing-in-Heaven-for-sale pages out there that I am trying to figure out how to keep it all straight. You would think books would be flying off the shelves or ebooks would be shooting across the airwaves. You would think the books would just be selling themselves.

Not so.

I believe what I read; now is when the real work begins.

Today I’m going to re-read Chapters 10 and 11, on platforms and promotion, in April L. Hamilton’s The Indie Author GuideI’m familiar with the material, having read it before, but this time I’m taking, as my college professor Dr. Bobal used to say, copious notes.

All advice, suggestions and/or help welcome and appreciated.

16 thoughts on “Self-publishing update: Now—marketing”

  1. I imagine it is daunting. I am so not a salesperson either. Tried it and failed miserably at it. Best advice I can give is to be steadfast and persevere and hopefully the word will get out!!!

    1. A couple of friends from high school have bought and read Dancing in Heaven, and there is a little bit of chatter about it on my personal Facebook page, so that’s been kind of fun.

  2. Hi Christine .. it’s picking those jigsaw puzzle pieces up as you go along .. see what Talli Roland did (& her latest guest), KarenJonesGowen, and Joylene Butler’s just had an author giving advice about this I think ..

    Good luck – but I’ll be buying it – I prefer the paperback .. so I’ll go that route .. cheers for now .. Hilary

  3. This part is huge — and I never even sold tags or anything else in high school, so I imagine I’d REALLY have problems! Hang in there! (one question… I wondered when I was on Amazon buying a copy, why are there used copies for sale — have people bought and resold? Or are those sold by you? see how dense I am? 🙂

    1. I wish I knew about the used copies, Julia. I think it is some kind of racket, and not a very smart one at that. Who would want to buy a used copy for $13 when they can get a new one for $10? I have no idea what is going on; I’m just the author and publisher. 🙂

  4. Get business cards printed at Staples (or print them yourself) with a photo of the cover and the web address for purchases.

    Talk about the book and if someone seems interested, give them the business card.

    Ask your parent’s church to print a copy of the business card in the church bulletin so that people who KNEW Annie will learn of the book.

    Carry copies with you when you’re out and about in case someone wants one NOW!

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I know I need business cards. I was hoping Anna could design them for me, and I think she will be able if I give her a couple of weeks.

      The idea about the church is a good one. I’ve been thinking about approaching them, but wasn’t sure exactly what I should do. Thanks.

      I am going to keep a box of 5 or 10 books in the trunk of my car. I bought a delivery license to sell books in Ohio in case I needed to.

      You sound like you have some experience. Thanks for your suggestions.

    2. I don’t have direct experience marketing a book . . . but I know several authors who either handed out business cards for each publication or had book markers printed up.

      And I expect that many of the people who knew Annie and your family would love to read the book . . . once they know it’s available.

      Good luck!

  5. Wanna hear a secret? Shhhh, don’t tell anyone: But I have this little day dream exercise I practice from time to time about some of the marketing I would do in order to self promote my book.

    I just had a great idea…maybe I should make little spirit buttons to sell on the street corner of Barns ‘N Noble…nahhhh…I’d probably just end up getting a ticket for not having a license or something.

    *smile* I wish you all the best and as always, keep in touch!

  6. Well sis ~ I “feel” you. Resistance to Marketing can really be a “downfall” (you know I’ve got more experience than you in this area) ~ it takes a lot of conviction and commitment to what you believe in ~ to stick you neck out that far ~ but, I believe you have that level of commitment. And I believe in YOU ~ because when you decide to do something ~
    YOU DO IT. You’ve come this far ~ don’t stop now ~ Case Closed.

  7. Congratulations on all of the progress you have made, and thank you for sharing your journey. A book you might want to look into is Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson et al. Some of the ideas in there are not helpful to the timid and inexperienced marketer (example: me) but I found it a great help in letting me realize how many options there are and to think of marketing in creative ways, maybe it will do the same for you. Have you dealt with your local media at all? They love local stories. Do up a press release and send it to your local paper, tv, and radio stations. A local author with a new book out will almost certainly get you some kind of write up in your area at least. It never hurts to ask, good luck and keep us posted.

    1. Thanks, Erin, for the tips.
      I’ve printed your message out and will add it to my list of ideas to sort through when I start to get organized, which I hope will be soon.


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