The Harsh Facts About Marketing
Independently Published Novels
It doesn’t matter how good your novel is; if you don’t use the right marketing and promotion, it’s almost guaranteed to sink without trace.
That’s a fact.
Here’s what a few professional writers have to say on the subject:
“For the last 3-4 months I have spent every weekday contacting newspapers, magazines, book blogs, rock magazines and websites, in the US and the UK… trying to draw attention to the fact I have a new book out… Even Amazon passed on it. That was a big slap in the face…This has been the absolute low point of my writing career.”
Ted Heller, son of Catch 22 author Joseph Heller and author of 3 traditionally published novels
“As wonderful as self-publishing is, it does have its limits…sometimes the pressure can be overwhelming.
You also need to be on top of the latest developments and changes in the industry and to be able to think from a business as well as a creative perspective.”
Talli Roland, author of 2 traditionally published and 3 self-published novels
"Most self-published authors will agree that marketing is the biggest headache. Doing your own marketing is a stressful, never-ending task. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and more, are things you’ll have to get up to speed with as well as approaches to local newspapers, magazines and radio stations. I found that I was spending more time on this than I had done actually writing the book.”
John Pye, crime writer
"You need … proper mechanisms in place for driving customers to your website to buy your books … If you don’t … then you’re not really serious about the success of your book.”
Stephanie Hale, Oxford Literary Consultancy
So it doesn’t really matter what you’ve written, who you know or even what books you’ve published in the past; without online promotional support your book is unlikely to go far. I know, because I’ve tried it.
Here’s what a few successful authors and literary agents have said about my novel:
“Great fun, really fluent and fresh”
Bill Hamilton, Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel’s agent
“The sort of magic that most authors never really quite achieve”
Kate Lace, author of 20 novels and past chairman of the Romantic Novelists Association
“A wonderfully original and intriguing storyline. A historical novel with a real difference.”
Sarah Molloy, AM Heath Literary Agents 1993-2013
“It moves fast. The language is fabulous”
Carol McGrath, author of The Handfasted Wife
So as you can see, it’s not enough to have the support of established trade figures. If they can’t get you a mainstream publisher then their word alone isn’t likely to carry much weight in the global sandstorm of online publications.
After 3 years of rejections by some of the world’s biggest publishers and finally getting dropped by the agency I put my novel up for sale online as a print on demand hard copy and a PDF download; I sold one of each. 30 of my Facebook friends looked at it on the day of release, and nobody’s looked at it since.
What next, though? More submissions to agents? More years of waiting politely for rejection after rejection? Can I really face that again? I’m not getting any younger after all.
And there’s some truly awful advice out there too. According to wikiHow you should hire a market stall to sell your book from, and ask your friends and family for feedback. Anyone who has made the slightest attempt at getting into print the traditional way knows how utterly desperate these ideas are.
I asked myself, What if there was an effective site where people in my situation could advertise their audience-worthy novels, and readers who are sick of that same old formulaic airport trash could go to find the novels good enough to be recommended by agents and successful authors but which publishers are too scared to take a risk on?
Thankfully there is. It’s here at ascribeme.com.
One advert is all it takes to get you back where you belong: at the keyboard, writing your next book.