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For me, the truly hardest part of being a modern author is the marketing.

How do you cover your bases as an Indie with limited time and budget?

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For a start, you must do every job you can do, yourself. You hear seasoned authors warn debut novelists, ‘the effort is only just beginning.’ For good reason. Be prepared to dig deep.

On September 20th of this year, I self published, The Sasori Empire. I’ve poured hours into the marketing. Yet, there’s a seemingly endless list of more to be done. I feel the constant pressure like hot breath on my neck, the inner voice reminding me of the countless avenues of marketing which I have yet to employ. There are the latest marketing books to read, and videos to watch on YouTube, social media sites to join, bloggers to visit and palms to grease.

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Paul Rand, president of a major marketing firm in Chicago, said, “Word of mouth is the fastest growing sector in all of advertising.”

How does the stay-at-home mum and Indie author harness the power of “word of mouth” advertising?

There is no sure-fire way of generating “word of mouth” advertising other than doing your part to create a large enough digital footprint and amp up your EP (or digital Extended Presence).

Build a website. Start a blog. Create profiles in the usual places: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Slideshare.

Do the usual rounds of guest blog posts, school visits, author talks, YouTube videos, book reviews, tweets, and book trailers. Additionally, marketing can involve speaking at conferences, book tours and running workshops. You can start a critique group, join a book club, write a newspaper or magazine column, contribute to community blogs or groups (like those over on Wanatribe), join writers organisations, or participate in interviews.

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Some Indie writers have found fame by tapping into the market for short fiction, and releasing their work in serial form, drip feeding a chapter at a time on their blog or website. This week, a local Kiwi writer sold the movie rights to her debut novel, after gaining popularity through the serial fiction platform Wattpad.

It’s necessary to build a community of friends online, email lists, and connections. It can be worthwhile networking by haunting the chat forums on LinkedIn and Google circles.

Primarily it’s vital to tinker with the SEO of your book, check and double check the marketing copy that goes with your book. Make sure it’s doing the job. Test and tweak how everything is performing by monitoring your status as some experts do, by keeping tabs on your conversion rates on Amazon.chrismcmullen

How does the Indie author do it all?

An Indie author wears all the hats, and the stress of promoting your work is white noise in the background which never fully goes away.

While life goes on: the next book needs to be written, the children raised, the work done, the garden/property maintained and at least a little reading is necessary.

What I do is compromise. I set aside time to write, time to promote, and I also let myself have time to play on Pinterest or Facebook. Everyone needs to goof off now and again in order to keep working. Also, if you can, delegate jobs where possible.

It’s a balancing act every day.

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How does the Indie stay sane?

This week, my critique partner, Maria Cisneros-Toth said adding her YouTube videos to her website had attracted more traffic. I thought, I’ll add videos to mine. Another friend said he was adding a “Facebook shop” to his author page. I thought, I’d better set up an author page too. There is always more graft to be done when feeding the maw of book marketing.

But, you know what, it’s doable. I’ve learned I can live with watching less television during the week in order to tick more jobs off my list. I make more meals at home. I can do at least one thing a day to promote my book.

The other day, friend, author and artist, Teresa Robeson, sagely said, ‘Just rest assured that no matter what you decide, it’s okay. It’s not a matter of life and death. It will all work out either way.’

True. Sometimes you need a reminder from a friend to chill.

Equilibrium is the right attitude to cultivate. A calm mindset is paramount. It’s vital to get the work done while also remembering to savour the in-between! Work is work. Yet, it’s the lulls between the waves, the quiet moments, the soft silence in the sun of an afternoon, these are what make the business of life worth living.

How do you handle marketing your work? Any tips?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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But, you are marketing by word of mouth every time someone reads your post. You’ve got about 5 seconds (or 140 characters) to capture attention. Make sure each message you send builds your credibility. ~ Gina Burgess, Author’s Community

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When you’re a writer, people always recommend you join a critique group. I remember, senior writers used to suggest I join one when I started out, and now, many years down the track, I recommend the same thing to others. But, why?

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1: It’s that right-minded support that lifts us onwards.

One time, at a writing conference, a new author got up for her acceptance speech. Upon receiving a prestigious award, she said, “I wouldn’t be standing there without my critique group.” I remember thinking, does a critique group make that much of a difference? The year was 2011.

At that stage, I still hadn’t found the right group that felt like a fit, so the benefits of the critique group had failed to impact on me. Critique groups were an enigma I didn’t properly understand for the first few years of my attempts to participate. But then, I held a lot of my work back, and only submitted short pieces I was experimenting with rather than committed to. I didn’t trust the process enough at that stage to release into full immersion.

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I started the networking group, “Writing for Children,” through Kristen Lamb’s, Wanatribe site, in 2012, and started to make friends with other writers. We were an instant mutual support system. They felt like family. Through the connections I made there, I met amazing author, Maria Cisneros-Toth. We both wrote for the same genre (Middle-Grade to Tween) and because trust was established, I shared with her my actual primary work-in-progress, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ That was the first time I surrendered fully to the critique process.

Right away Maria embraced my world and my story. Maria told me in no uncertain terms that I could write and she believed in me. Boy, that was just the injection of faith in myself I needed. I set to work with gusto. My confidence blossomed. And later, our critique group of two grew.

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2: It’s working together side-by-side on our stories that builds relationships.

Having a functioning critique group is about having a live support mechanism. A member of my mailing list asked me how I managed to get a supportive network around me. I said you can’t sit back and expect people to come to you; you’ve got to go out and meet them. It’s just like when you go to a party. If you stand in the corner and don’t talk to anyone, you’ll be miserable. The onus is on you to make the first move. Go to social media hubs, like LinkedIn, and Goodreads, and Google+, and participate in conversations on message boards. You soon meet people. You start give-and-take relationships. You treat people the way you want to be treated and friendships naturally grow.

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3: The critique group’s variety of viewpoints and opinions act like a small test group representing the viewing public.

With my story, I had done a lot of “world building,” yet I had lived with the story for such a long time, that a lot of facets of this world were familiar to me and made perfect sense. Showing this unique imaginary realm to my critique group was the first real litmus test. That was when the questions began. Why this? How that? I realized very quickly that in a number of areas, more explanation was needed, more clarity, and in some cases, new solutions.

This slice of the reading community giving you feedback, can be the difference between an idea working in the real world of the reading public, and not. You soon find out what works and what fails, and you get precious feedback on everything.

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4: Giving critique to others hones our own writing skills.

Of course, at the same time, you’re giving critique too. When I did my first course in critiquing children’s fiction with Kate de Goldi, in 2007, Kate told all of us, in no uncertain terms, that learning to critique was as important as the writing. It was a skill we needed to practice, she told us. Learning to pull apart other people’s fiction editorially would hone our own fiction.

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I have come to feel a truly vast appreciation for the benefits of critique. I know what the new author meant when she said in 2011, that she wouldn’t have been standing on that podium if it weren’t for her critique group. I can say my book, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta’ would not be sitting on my bookshelf if it wasn’t for mine.

Do you have similar stories to share of your amazing friends, or your supportive critique groups?

 

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“Revision is a personal thing, and it’s easy to become confused with too much input. You have to decide who to trust, but never just blindly do what you are told. Ultimately, you have to be your own North Star, while trying to understand and internalize the things that your readers might be responding to.” ~ James Preller