First of all, I want to reiterate that 2009, 2010, and 2011 are long gone and they’re not coming back! What does that well known fact have to do with you, ole self published author of 2014? The answer is, a lot! Why? Because many of the tactics & techniques that self publishers used in those heady days are no longer relevant today. The landscape has changed, forever. Using free books to garner sales? Gone (Unless you get a BookBub promo coinciding with it, forget about it) Using the .99 cent eBook price point to spike sales? No sir, it’s not as effective today. There are a lot of .99 cent books out there. Yours will be no different. How about getting a lot of reviews? Nope. While reviews are still important, they no longer carry the ass-weight of those heady years. You can thank John Locke and a lot of your contemporaries’ families and friends for that. Consumers don’t trust reviews as much as they did back then. And last but not least, there’s the self-published author stigma. It’s back baby! In those heady 2009 to 2011 years, the stigma was there; but it wasn’t so evident on the digital eBook scene. See, most consumers back then just assumed that everything in digital form was just like the hard book scene, traditionally published. So, a self published author needed to only put out an eBook and most consumers judged it on its individual merits. If you don’t believe me, go back and read some of the one star reviews for the Mill River Recluse. Some of the consumers questioned why the book got published in the first place! They just assumed that a trad-publisher put it out. Darcie Chan didn’t face a consumer self publisher’s stigma. Unfortunately, her success was both a blessing and a curse for self publishers. On the one hand, it encouraged self publishers to get their work out ASAP. But on the other hand, it encouraged EVERYONE to get their work out ASAP. The result, a lot of CRAP in the marketplace. In 2014, this hurts self publishers in a big way. The stigma is back. Consumers are questioning self published books in a big way!
Am I claiming that the sky is falling for self publishers? No, I am not. But what I am saying is that you can’t treat 2014 like it’s 2011. That year is gone, forever. In 2014, self pubs or Indies have to work five times as hard as Indies did in 2011. In addition, we have to watch out for the sharks. There are any number of predators out there ready to take our money, claiming they are the key to eBook-buying readers and thus, sales. Beware of them. But Indies have to also recognize that they have to market their books. There’s just no way around it. If a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it fall, does it make a sound? Hell no, it doesn’t! Someone has to know about your book. I know some authors have claimed book sales success without marketing. Don’t believe it. What they’re saying is, that they didn’t spend money on some of the marketing promos available. They simply used their already existent Facebook, email, or Twitter accounts, etc.. That’s marketing folks! If you have those avenues established and available to you, more power to you. You’re ahead of the game. If not, you’ve got some work to do.
In next week’s blog, I will share some of my ventures in self publishing promos and marketing. I will let you know how effective some promos like BookBlast, BookGorrilla, Ereader news, etc. l. My results may or may not be typical; but at least you’ll have a benchmark. So stay tuned!