We field a lot of questions here at Draft2Digital headquarters, but if we were to group them all by category, most would fall under the heading of indie author marketing. Or, put more simply, “How should I market my books as an indie author?”
If writing a book can be compared to having a baby—and it has, so we’ll pursue the analogy—new indie authors are a lot like new parents. We’re suddenly thrown into a whole new world, with little to no idea what we’re doing. And while you can do all the research you like (and we’ll get to that), you ultimately learn by doing. By getting your hands dirty, making some mistakes, and learning through trial and error what works for you . . . and what doesn’t.
Whether you’re a fledgling author in search of an intro to the basics or an experienced pro looking for new tips, we’ve got something in this blog post roundup just for you. Consider it your mini undergraduate degree in indie author marketing. The only way to get a more advanced education is to get out there and do it.
Indie author marketing: a necessary evil?
Before we start, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. As authors, we got into this game to write, not to sell.
If just the word “marketing” makes you cringe, allow us to suggest a reframe. Marketing is about increasing the chances that interested readers will find you and your work. No gimmicks. No trickery. Just the act of connecting readers with books.
The challenge for indie authors is that no one else will pound the pavement on your behalf. And in today’s market, even traditionally published authors often bear the brunt of the legwork. It’s hard to become a full-time author if readers can’t find you, so yes—in many ways, writing and marketing are two sides of the same coin.
Indie author marketing 101
For the author who likes orderly learning, we wrote a three-part marketing series that starts with the fundamentals and works up to more advanced techniques and best practices. If you’re a linear thinker who likes to cover their bases before moving on, this series is for you.
1. The Basics: Learn how to create a mailing list, build a platform, and network with the indie author community.
2. Advanced Approaches: Social media, book reviews, building a team, and more.
3. Marketing Best Practices: Consistency, promotions, and how to know whether your marketing efforts are successful.
Free marketing strategies
You don’t always have to spend money to make money—you can invest time instead. Here are some free options to market your books that cost nothing but a little extra effort. If that sounds daunting, remember that you wrote an entire book, so these techniques are well within your reach.
3 free marketing strategies: How and why to build relationships, write a lead magnet, and generate an indie author network.
Content marketing: This might sound like a corporate buzzword, but it’s actually a very effective strategy for getting your work out into the world—if you do it right.
Get into the right headspace
Marketing isn’t just about the activities that help you sell more books. It’s also about how you think about selling more books. If marketing is (as Kevin Tumlinson likes to say) “any activity that increases the odds of discoverability,” there’s a lot of room to get creative about how you position your author brand and your work, as well as how you think about what marketing can mean.
Get in the right headspace: Marketing isn’t selling—it’s finding new opportunities.
Now that we’ve talked theory and mindset, let’s explore the opposite end of the spectrum. We’ve also written some very tactical posts on the best approach to indie author marketing and which actions increase your odds of success. Find those here:
How to get a BookBub Featured Deal: Getting a Featured Deal might feel like winning the lottery, but there are clear steps you can take to increase your odds of success.
Choosing a title: You only have one chance at a good first impression, and in most cases, your title and cover are everything a potential reader will see when deciding whether they’re interested enough to read on.
Ask Us Anything (Marketing Edition): The experienced authors on our team weigh in about how, where, and when to market.
That wraps up our roundup
As always, we’re committed to writing more of the content you want to read. So tell us: what do you want to know about marketing? Where do YOU need the most help when working to help readers find your books?
Comment below or give us a shout on social media to let us know!