I’ve never been very good at marketing. Anything. Even if it’s a product I love and can’t nearly live without. I do it in my reviews with the books that I absolutely love. I have a hard time forming coherent words to express my love for said book and why. It just comes out as fangirling gibberish. At least in my mind.
Marketing myself I find even harder. Job interviews always sucked for me as I have to talk about myself and why I’m awesome at something. I’m actually a pretty modest person. Even those things that I know I’m good at and have been validated by objective third parties, I don’t go around flaunting anything. I prefer to just hand over numbers and let those speak for themselves. Except now I’m trying to pimp a purely subjective item of mine that I love but will you love it too? I have no idea. I hope so.
And now I have to market it. This gawky, awkward person who stutters when nervous and can’t look anyone in the eye because she sees too much of a person, needs to sell a product. I was a telemarketer for two weeks. Granted, not my product, but do I really need to outline how that went?
Luckily I’m not hand selling face to face. Oh god, I nearly gag thinking about doing conventions (which I won’t do until I have a solid library behind me, like the whole of the Diamond Crier series done). That’s just not my personality. Actually, let me rephrase: if I have nothing to lose that very well can be my personality. But when I’m hawking a piece of my soul it becomes infinitely harder. But right now it’s all email. Cold emailing bloggers asking if they’d like to review my book. No surprise I’ve heard from a tiny fraction of those I’ve contacted, and I still have a huge list left to contact.
Luckily I’m in a position where I can buy myself some marketing. AKA pay someone else who’s a hell of a lot better at it than I am to do it for me. So that’s what I’m doing. I bought myself a blog tour next year for just after the release of CURSE OF STARS. I bought time in a co-op in order to get my book on NetGalley for three months prior to release. That will actually be happening on the 28th. Yay! I’m buying myself a book blitz because I’ll have a much better chance of reaching a bunch of people for my pre-order contest that way than I will knocking on internet doors. I’m doing boosted posts on Facebook for that same pre-order contest along with the giveaway I’m doing on Goodreads that ends on Tuesday. The Goodreads giveaway itself is free to list, but costs to promote and then supply the books to give away and then ship. I’m getting swag designed so I have little things to give away plus my pre-order contest plus the little giveaways I’m doing for the blog tour and then the big giveaway for that plus the little giveaway I’m doing for the book blitz. Plus there’s the BookLife Prize in Fiction I entered to try and get some exposure and feedback and I submitted to Kirkus (that one makes me want to throw up a little).
So far I’ve spent over $1,000 in marketing alone for CURSE OF STARS. Is there a lot of this I could do for free if I did it myself? Of course. But it would require a hell of a lot more of my time that I don’t really have. So I have to compromise.
That was one thing I knew going into self-publishing: that it wasn’t cheap. And I still think I’m doing it cheaper than some. And that marketing would be my largest budget. One thing I didn’t do going in was plan, mainly because I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or how I needed to do it until I started unfolding some of those layers. Thankfully I’ll be able to take this into subsequent books and I won’t have to back into so many things. Really the only thing that hasn’t quiet worked out in my favor is the blog tour. I wanted it pre-publication but I wasn’t early enough. Now I know I need to get in at least 6 months ahead of time, not four. It’s little things like that.
Still, it’s exhausting. Luckily not everything costs money. I got accepted for an author feature on a large book news aggregator that regularly gets picked up by Publisher’s Weekly. I also submitted my book for review to PW. And it doesn’t cost me anything to email book bloggers about my book. But unless you’re really good at the social thing and you can dedicate hours roaming through forums and developing a platform that way and working your reach there, you’re going to need to spend money advertising. Just telling your friends and family about the book won’t be enough. Not if you have goals to be read by a larger audience.
Here’s to being your own socially awkward marketer!