Author seeks readers

CofusedAsk any indie author what their least favourite part of the job is and they are likely to say “marketing” or “getting people to read my bloody books”.

There seem to be an infinite number of tried and tested marketing strategies, which include (but are not limited to):

  • Joining social networking sites, acquiring a huge following of fellow authors and touting your wares at them on a daily basis.  This method seems to work best for the self-publishing how-to books that expound the virtues of it.
  • KDP Select Kindle promotion days when you give your work away for free. The disadvantages of this method are that you cannot sell your books in digital form anywhere other than Amazon for three months and, perhaps more frustrating, that the free promotion days themselves have to be promoted!
  • Having a large portfolio of work for sale and keeping one title permanently free so as to attract new readers who will, hopefully, like your writing so much that they will buy all your other work. It works particularly well with the first in a series of books and is a great way for talented writers to demonstrate their skill and build a fan base. Alas, even this is not without its problems. Firstly, there is the difficulty in getting the books free on Amazon (a significant player in the game whether we like it or not) as it can take weeks to get them to price match. The downside is that the author really does need a significant portfolio to make it worthwhile. Nevertheless, still probably the best option if you can do it.
  • Getting all your friends and family to write glowing reviews and generally doing all kinds of other things to skewer the ratings of your book. Do I even need to say that this is the least likely to succeed in the long term? Readers are becoming very good at spotting desperate marketing tactics and are likely to be put off no matter how good your writing is.

There are any number of articles that analyse the relative success of the various methods and so many of them conflict that I have come to the conclusion that doing nothing might be just as effective as anything. I wonder if I have the nerve to give it a try.