Thursday, July 27, 2017

"I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy"

The post last week by Linda, Independent Writer? Team Player? Can you be Both? really resonated with me.
Photo by Maryann Miller
Since I was born on the Fourth of July there has been a strong independent streak down my back a mile wide, and it did take me a bit longer than some others to appreciate the benefits of joining a team. Whether that be a critique group, or even later joining with other authors in a group blog, such as this one, or banding together for marketing and promotions.

In some ways, marketing was a little simpler for the author before the advent of the Internet - thank you Al Gore, LOL - and all the social media outlets. If we were lucky enough to have a book accepted for publication, often the publishing house would do the marketing, and we were encouraged to make a few bookstore appearances, but that was all. Of course we all know how different that was for big name authors.

For us in the mid-list, we were encouraged to write the next book, respond to fan letters, and tell all our family and friends to keep buying our books.

When digital publishing and marketing came about, that turned that paradigm on its head. Now many of us have become Independent authors - back to that independent streak - and the resources online to help us abound. Some of my favorites are:

  • Author Marketing Experts - where you can find lists of the "best" such as this one 50 Best Resources for Indie Authors.
  • Digital Book World - that also has lists of sites to help authors, including 15 Free Resources for Every Stage in an Author's Journey
  • The Indie Guide to the Universe posted on the Venture Galleries blog.
  • Publishers Weekly, which hasn't overlooked the indie author. Six Great Blogs for Indie Authors - each of the blogs have more links to helpful information.
  • Ryan Zee, works with authors in joint ventures to build newsletter subscriptions, and I have had my subscriber number double in the past year and a half working with him. You do not have to do a monthly retainer for his services and can opt in or out of any of the special deals he runs. He does multi-author giveaways and the contest entrants have to sign up for your newsletter to enter the contest. One thing I really like about how he sets this up is that the unsubscribe rate after the contest is minimal. 
On Facebook there are a number of groups you can join for promoting your latest release or a terrific review of an older book. A quick search of groups will open up a lot. One of my favorites is Books Gone Viral, which was started by Morgan Mandel, who used to be a contributor here. 

One of the most important things when you are doing all the online promoting and marketing is to remember you are part of a team. Share the news from other indie authors when you are on Facebook and Twitter. Share resources you come across to help new indie authors get their bearings, and, above all, be professional and be kind. Avoid the rants over the icky one-star review, or the author who is slamming another professional. 

Maryann Miller is a novelist, editor, and sometimes an actress. She has written a number of mysteries, including the critically-acclaimed Season Mystery Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. And, yes, every Fourth of July, she sings "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." Sometimes she doesn't even wait for the Fourth.

10 comments :

  1. You've taken the team player advantage to the next level, Maryann. Without a publishing house backing our books and promoting sales, we "independents" find ourselves in the unenviable and too often unproductive position of marketing our own wares. Your list of potential team members that can help us reach our sales goals shows us why it's rarely in our best interests to go it alone. Bottom line: we can't wear all those hats and still have time to write. It pays to remember that being a team player in no way diminishes our individually; in fact, it often promotes the special voice we bring to our readers when others share the uniqueness of our works. You've provided a valuable resource here, Maryann, definitely a keeper. Thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, Linda. And it was your excellent post that made me realize how important a team is.

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  2. There have been some really great examples of team promotion over the last couple of years, whether two authors or ten. Shannon Baker and Jess Lourey did a double-booked tour last year online and in person when they discovered their new releases were coming out the same day. There's a group of romance writers and a group of thriller writers who formed their own blogs and cross-promote.

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    1. I've seen quite a few of those group blogs, Patricia. They are a good way of sharing the time put into promoting. Writer Unboxed is an excellent example of a group effort that helps everyone. As is this blog. :-)

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  3. Great post, Maryann. Interestingly, another thriller/suspense/RS writer and I recently talked about teaming up. There are lots of mystery groups, lots of cozy groups. I belong to eNovel Authors at Work, but I have to say that being unproductive the last year except for an anthology novella has put a dent in my desire to promote. I know I need to do something, and soon. Thanks for the ideas.

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    1. You're welcome. I do hope productivity picks up for you. I, too, have had almost two years of little writing done, and it is most frustrating.

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  4. Great links too! Thanks, Maryann.

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  5. I have found many new authors on social media. I rave about my finds and books and authors that I love. The best way to market your books is to be active in forums, especially those related to what you write. Not just advertise your books, but interact with people. Hanging out with other writers and paying it forward makes others more receptive to your book marketing efforts.

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    1. You are so right about paying it forward, Diana. I try to support other authors as much as I can, and actually find that easier than trying to promote my own work. :-) I love to host writers on my blog and have a regular feature, Wednesday's Guest, that often has a guest post from an author.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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