Keys to the Self-Publishing/Marketing Madness

The time had come. I have two books published and I am part of a niche group that is not really interested at all in reading romance novels, let alone share my posts about it, or about anything else I write. It is an extremely tough crowd. As a result, I have only had a few sales. So here I was, I slayed the dragon that was writing a book, I beat up the demon that was learning how to self-publish and I achieved success by having two self-published books on Amazon. Now what do I do?

I willfully admit I was at a loss as to what I needed to do to promote me and my books. So what’s the next best thing for a girl to do? She goes to Facebook and looks around for groups of people that are wondering the same thing. The best thing that I learned first: I am not alone! There are so many new authors out there struggling with the same problems as me. Not that I like to capitalize on anyone else’s misfortune, but I was grateful to find them! I found a few Facebook groups and the members there have been immensely helpful in giving out advice and sharing many other blogs about how to market and promote yourself and your book. The biggest factor, and I should have known this from all my experiences in my niche group, I needed to brand myself. Honestly, I figured after all the years I spent branding myself in my niche group and promoting my website and my blog for this group, I would not have to do anything more. Why? It was because I already wrote a book in this niche group. I was already an established published author, so why would I have to go out and do that again just because they were romance novels? Well silly me! I found that I needed to go out there and brand myself as an author for romance novels and get to work on promoting myself and my books.

So, I did it. I went on Amazon and created an author profile at Amazon Author Central. I then went to Goodreads, and updated my profile and added my new books to it. The next stop was BookBub, and I created an author profile and added my books there too. I created a Facebook author page that was separate from my personal page and that niche group. I already had a website in my niche group, so I used one of the pages there for an Author page that has links to all my profiles, all my books, and a resume of all the work I have done prior to writing books. The last step I took and why you are reading this now is I started my own author blog. I am sharing my journey in becoming an author and this blog is dedicated to that point where I am at now, learning all I need to do to promote myself and my work. In the meantime, before I get back to writing my third novel, I have entered two writing contests and I am going to submit a short story through one of the groups that actually publishes collections of short stories from the group members, which I thought was a pretty cool idea. I am excited for this challenge, and hoping I can have a little success to help get my name out there and noticed.

Here are my pages so far: Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Profile, GoodReads Author Profile, BookBub Author Profile, my website Author Page/resume, and my Author Blog

Now I am going to share with you the groups that I joined on Facebook and some of the links to blogs that have some great information about promoting yourself and your books.  I did receive permission from all the blog owners to post links to their pages, and I thank them once again for agreeing to let me share their information here.  I hope you gain some valuable insight to the process with my blog here today and it helps you on your path to becoming a successful published author. Please note that you have to join the groups before you can view anything. There will also be some questions for you to answer prior to your approval being completed, so be patient once you submit.

This was the first group I joined and now it has over 33k members. It has a lot of advice to share for new and not so new authors. It is also a great forum for everyone to ask questions, ask for advice or to have people read your work and offer critique or help if you want it.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/611602735649133/

This group is the one where I have received the most advice from and it is where a lot of the information in this blog comes from. The members of this group are very willing to help in all aspects of writing, editing, publishing, reviewing your writing if you ask, help you choose a book cover, and generally provide answers to any questions posted. It currently has over 37k members and the posts are very frequent.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/mikegeffnerpresentswritershelpingwriters/?ref=bookmarks

This last group is for anyone to share their work, whether it is a link to your new book, a link to your blog, or just to post the link to your author page to share and to have others connect with you. It currently has just short of 8k members, but there are a lot of posts from authors sharing their work.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersauthorspromo/?ref=bookmarks

The first site that I saw with information on how to promote my book was called: 30 Things You Can Do Right Now to Promote Your Book, by Amrita Chowdhury. The first two steps she mentioned were to start up an author website and to start a blog, which I went and did. It wasn’t as hard as I initially thought it was going to be. Oddly enough, I have had a blog for two years now in a niche group, so I don’t know why this part intimidated me, but it did.  Here is a link to her list of advice for new authors to promote their books:

https://tinyletter.com/amritac/letters/30-things-you-can-do-right-now-to-promote-your-book

This blog was another one that I came across that had a lot of insightful advice on how to promote yourself and your work. It is by Cathy Presland at AuthorUnlimited.com and it asks: If there’s one question that is eternal and ongoing in our author community, then it’s how to sell more books. It is crisp and concise with lots of great and sometimes very imaginative ideas. Here is the link to her blog:

http://authorunlimited.com/50-ways-to-promote-your-book/

May Dawney has put together a no nonsense blog about marketing yourself and your book. She starts it off by saying: Marketing. Within the author community, it’s a dirty word. Within the reading community too, by the way. Marketing doesn’t have to be a dirty word, and here’s why.  It is a great read not only about marketing your book, but creating a brand of yourself as an author. Here is the link to her blog:

http://maydawney.com/talk/blog-marketing-is-not-a-dirty-word-and-heres-why/

Joanna Penn at TheCreativePenn.com also has a great list of advice that she shares with her readers about: Sell More Books And Reach More Readers. How To Market Your Book. She even has written a book about it if you are interested in reading more, along with a bunch of other books dedicated to the writing, publishing and marketing subjects that we all struggle with. Here is the link to her blog full of great advice:

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/marketing/

Author Rick Brown recently published a book entitled:  Kiss my baggage fees! How to be a savvy travel hacker: Travel like you have a fortune without spending one. 

Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-baggage-savvy-travel-hacker/dp/1979599785/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511054339&sr=8-1&keywords=kiss%20my%20baggage&dpID=51RZs3Yw8YL&preST=_SY344_BO1%2C204%2C203%2C200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

The book itself offers the reader information on how to master the art of travel hacking and travel like you have a fortune without spending one. More importantly, I wanted to share the list of ideas that Rick has created to market and promote his book for sales. Obviously his book is related to the travel industry, so he has thought out some pretty interesting ideas on working in that industry to tap into some hidden sales potential. I am sharing the list because there are plenty of other writers out there who may be interested in trying out a few of his ideas. It reminds us to think outside the box when it comes to promotion. There are many avenues out there that a writer can travel to ensure successful marketing of themselves and their book.

The list goes as follows:

Look into retail locations like AAA, luggage and travel stores, travel agencies, airline book stores and independent book stores, UPS stores, hotels/motels, Costco, local cafes, Vegas vendors, trade shows, local events, weekend markets, and flea markets. On your website, use Paypal Integration and videos. Promote your Etsy page on Pinterest, and also promote on YouTube. Utilize coupon sites such as Groupon, Living Social and entertainment books. Use affiliate networks such as Clickbank and JVZoo. Utilize online retailers such as Amazon and Ebook websites. Also consider using classified sites such as Craigslist, eBay and Gumtree. One could also do interviews for local magazines. The Mobile Apps feature in Facebook Marketplace can help, along with creating a Facebook page. Other sites to consider for more advertising would be LinkedIn and Instagram. He also suggested using Rangeme.com, which helps sellers find buyers in big name stores like Walmart and Target.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. I appreciate it very much. Any and all comments are welcomed. Don’t forget to click the “follow” button so you can keep up with my latest blog posts.

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Want to see my writing resume? Please visit my Author BIO page.

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How My Writing Journey Began

All my life, I never dreamed of becoming a writer. I spent a lot of time reading and generally was known as a nerd in school, or typically called, a brainiac. It wasn’t that I was super smart, I was just old for my age and at a socially higher level than other kids my age because I was the youngest of eight kids and most of them were adults or close to being adults while I was growing up. I also had excellent comprehension skills that helped me remember details that most people would quickly forget after reading something.

Most people that know me personally know that I have been a competitive dart player for over thirty years. I met my husband at a dart tournament and we have now been together for over thirty years as well. At one point, he was one of the top players in the country and traveled to different parts of the world to compete in international events. I shared in many of those experiences. With the birth of the internet and the rise of many online websites devoted to darts, I discovered a lot of people like talking about the history of the game and I felt I had a lot to share. Eventually, writing out those long posts turned into writing different articles and doing a few player interviews. It was then that my writing career was born.

Oddly enough during those first few years, I also had a job that involved writing. I work for a major insurance carrier and at the time I was an associate in their grievance department and my job was to respond to complaints via letter. I was lucky enough to have a great boss, who herself was an avid reader her whole life, was extremely intelligent, and was the harshest editor I had ever met. It never failed that no matter how many times I edited my letters prior to sending them to her for review, they always came back with some sort of changes made. It infuriated me. I was a competitor deep down and always had to do my best at whatever I did, so when my best ended up never being quite good enough, it frustrated me to no end. But do you know what else it did? It taught me a lot about writing and I didn’t even realize it.

In 2012, I had long since relocated and left the writing job behind, but I had still continued doing guest blogs for different websites and some player interviews for a print magazine, but my level of writing had slowed down considerably. One day at work, on my break, I decided to check my email. I also have had a website for years devoted to darts and I have an email account for this too. Generally, I do not get many emails in this account, so even when something goes to the spam folder, I will still read it just to make sure it is spam. I will never forget that one day in September that I did this and saw an email with the subject title: Book Offer. Naturally, I had to click on it so see what it was about. As it turned out, there was an Editorial Director for a publishing company based in New York that was a casual dart player. They were looking at the options of having someone do a type of “how to play darts” book for them, he had found my guest blogs and website information and was contacting me to see if I would be interested in the project. I was stunned. I had never written anything more than a blog in my life and now someone was giving me a huge opportunity to write a book, and the book was about something that I loved to do. How could I say no?

One year later, The Ultimate Book of Darts was released and I was a published author. It was the greatest time of my life. When my first copies of the book arrived, I rushed home from work, opened the box and just cried. It was such an amazing moment in my life.

Eventually I progressed in my writing and created my own personal blog for darts and have been having fun with that part of it all. It gives me the chance to still be creative in my writing and continue to promote the game I love so much.

One day, an old friend started telling me about how he was writing books and asked if I would be interested in helping him out with the editing process. I had already edited a screenplay for him in prior years, so it was something I was used to. That night I sat in front of my computer and began editing, and after a short time, my thought was “I can do this” and that is how I finally decided to write books of my own. His genre is military sci-fi, which was not quite my thing, so I decided to give the romance world a try. I had been an avid reader of romances since I was in my twenties, which was a lot of years ago. My friend explained all about self-publishing by then and I was sold. I could write my own book and self-publish and it wouldn’t cost me a dime. What he neglected to tell me was that it would cost me “time”, but we will leave that story for another blog. I ended up writing two stories in less than a month and it was the greatest fun.

As of today, I am now a published author for two romance novels. One is in the time travel sub-genre and one is a contemporary romance. My third one is a work in progress and is more like a Fantasy/Viking/Valkyrie type of story with royalty, castles, fairies and a creature I created called a Derigon.

All of my books are available on Amazon via eBook or Paperback and are easiest to find by accessing my author page:  Amazon Author Page-Anne Kramer

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Want to see my writing resume? Please visit my Author BIO page