Building Buzz From Scratch

So without going into the whole megillah, I decided Blood Diva would be self-published, and I decided to publish under a pseudonym and not even tell my most ardent fans and admirers about the new book.

This means I’m starting from scratch, not only on this blog, but in all social networking. So far I’ve got 21 twitter followers. “They” say you “need” at least 6,000.

There are a zillion “books” put up on the Kindle every day. I believe that’s the official score. How will mine even be noticed?

The landscape of self-publishing and the other kind of publishing is constantly changing. I virtually know at least a few successful self-published authors, but most of them came in at a good time for SP – when Kindle was new and readers a bit less jaded and more open to cheap content. I know others who bravely blog about their success and act like experts but don’t have the sales numbers to back any of it up. Then there’s another group – really interesting writers like Dan Holloway who don’t care much about commercial success, but are after integrity, and gaining a loyal following.

For this book, I’d like to define success commercially. Does that sound crass? I wrote the thing for love, honest I did. Past experience made clear to me that the chance of payback is so tiny, there’s no point in writing unless you have to, but I also set out to entertain readers in a way I hadn’t before – to create a character they could route for even as she did some pretty horrible things. I didn’t dumb it down, but I tried to make it accessible.

So having put in all that effort to write a book people would actually want to read, how am I going to make sure readers know it exists?

Nowadays, a lot of people who aren’t authors are making a lot of money from self-publishing.

“Online publicists” send out “press releases.” Common sense says that any “publicists” who will send out 400,000 press releases to anyone who can pay a $159 fee, is not going to have a whole lot of credibility. There are once respectable review sites that now feature “sponsored” reviews – usually located far away from the real ones. Many readers are turned off by the idea of “paid” reviews, even when they are supposed to be objective. The ads for Publishers Weekly, Clarion and Kirkus all imply that somehow your “indie” may be “discovered” by them, but the odds of this happening are less than those of hitting the lottery.

So what is my plan? Make sure the book is the best it can be when it’s published. This might mean spending small amounts amount of money on some of the things I can’t quite pull off on my own. My cover is good, but the folks over at Cover Critics (a FREE service) pointed out the ways in which it’s not quite up to snuff, so it may be time to pay someone to polish it up. I might get some formatting help on a POD as well. There’s a point at which you have to look at your own time as valuable. Even if I could get the formatting right, how long would that take me, and could I actually be earning the money to pay someone else to do it better?

I’m skeptical of blog tours, but I might check out this company which seems tailor-made for my book. That’s NOT an endorsement by the way. I still haven’t made any decisions, but their site is appealing, and I liked that they offered several inexpensive dip-your-toes-in options. It seems like the services they offer might be LESS expensive than going to individual blogs to buy advertising.

I’m also thinking it may be worth it to list my book on NetGalley. There are several writers’ cooperatives that make this economically viable. A lot of review blogs are now going to NetGalley. Many bloggers, due to bad experiences with self-published books and their often temperamental authors, have all but given up on reviewing indies, but NetGalley seems to offer a bit of cache. That an author would spend his or her own money to make a book available shows seriousness. Also it’s advertising. The cover and description will be seen by book reviewers even those with a hard rule about not reviewing indies.

Anybody else have any good marketing tips to add? I know I’m missing tons.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>