Indie-Publishing and Discoverability with Judi Fennell

October 3, 2017

’Tis the Season...To Be Selling!

 

It’s October and while many people are all excited about Halloween, I’m excited for the holiday season!

I know, I know, please don’t fling rotten pumpkins at my head that we haven’t gotten though Halloween or Thanksgiving yet, because the reason I’m excited is that, over the past five years, authors have seen indie-published book sales increase. I, personally, think it’s the “last hurrah” for all us moms out there who are going to really focus on spending our Holiday money for gifts for others. But for now, October is for US!

 

I am not only an author (romantic comedies and paranormals as Judi Fennell, and contemporary erotic romance as Raven Morris), but I also own www.formatting4U.com, a turn-key, boutique indie-publishing services company that helps authors self-publish their books. From cover/series logo design, to editorial (content and copy), to the technical aspects of formatting and loading your books for sale on the various platforms (digital and print, with audio coming soon!), to promotional materials and swag, www.formatting4U.com has been helping authors for over five and a half years connect with their readers. I have seen the October sales trend happen both with my clients and my own books.

 

 

So… given that October is here, is it too late, you ask, to ride the wave?

Nope.

Get those books up now! If you can’t, contact me at formatting4U@JudiFennell.com.

Don’t have a cover? No worries. It can be done.

Need an edit… That might be stretching it, but let’s talk.

Doing it yourself? Great! Go for it! Don’t miss out before people start realizing that the holidays are closer than they think.

But, you ask, how do I get people to find my books?

Discoverability.

It’s the Big Unknown in indie-publishing. Actually, if we want to be honest, it’s a big unknown in traditional publishing as well. Short of throwing tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars at a book for advertising and promo (or doing something inappropriate to get on the social media/tv news circuit—which I don’t really recommend; sales may be nice in the short-term, but the damage to your reputation will be forever), the secret lies with Charlotte. Sorry, National Treasure reference there. But the reality for indie authors is just as oblique as that quote was to Nicholas Cage’s character. He had to think of a way, search out a map, follow where it led him so that he could ultimately find the treasure.

 

How to relate this to your indie journey? Word of mouth is the best advertising we have at our disposal. Social media has opened up doors that didn’t exist ten years ago on the scale that it does today. Use it.

One pitfall I see newer authors doing on social media, however, is to sell their books as their online personal. Social media is SOCIAL. Not MARKET media. People want to connect with the person, you, and the fact that you’re an author is an interesting part of who you are. They’ll want to hear about your books, but that’s not all they want to hear about. They want to know you—and they want you to know them. I have a lot of “friends” who found me through my books and now share their pictures, daily happenings, memes, etc. with me online. It’s fun. And when I was building my new house, they were with me every step of the way. They now tell their friends about my books, and I don’t have to remind them to “check out Beefcake & Cupcakes” every day. I’d actually lose them if I did. Sure, I post when a new book is available, or I can do a cover reveal, but my online social media presence is as me. Don’t oversell to your “friends.”

 

People often ask about blog tours and reviews. My response is: if you can get them, do it. Though, I have found that blog tours are a lot of work because you don’t want to give every blogger the same material. They want—and deserve—original material and readers who follow you online aren’t going to want to read the same thing over and over again. From my author clients, I’ve heard that, with the popularity of Twitter and Facebook, blogs aren’t getting quite the views they had in the past. Your mileage may vary, but my thought is this: In advertising, it’s said that someone has to see your name/product 7 times before it “sinks in.” Maybe as many as 25 times before they’ll purchase.

Reviews, on the other hand, are worth their weight in gold. That does not mean, however, that you should spend gold to get them. Nothing says “fake review” more than a paid one. Though there are people who do it. But online readers/buyers are savvy these days; they know the organic reviews from the paid ones. I believe there is at least one selling platform that is policing reviews so you can’t have friends flood the book with “This is a great book!” over and over.

 

Of course, you can always hire a PR firm or author services. (Shout-out to Pub-Craft for this!) Many people don’t have the time to devote to marketing, nor the skill set. If this is you, it may be worth the expense to hire someone. Most author services companies will have a scale of services to fit any budget. They can take the work out of posting to Facebook, tweeting, doing blog tours, etc. If you have limited time to write, this is a great option. (I always say that time is the one commodity I cannot make or buy more of, so it’s the most valuable of all.)

Also, you want to make your book available on as many selling platforms as possible. List the books on Goodreads. Try to get ads in the “big” newsletters and sites. There are so many—and new ones are sprouting all the time—that I can’t mention them all, but ask your author friends. Don’t have any author friends? Get online and find some. There are dozens of groups on Facebook for writers, and so many more for readers who want to help writers. The Internet has opened a whole new world, literally, (and, yes, cue the Disney song) for readers to find stories they like, and authors to find readers for their stories.

And October is a great month to do it!

 

 

 

 

JUDI FENNELL, is the best-selling author and Prism Award and Golden Leaf winner of romantic comedies and paranormal romance. Her series include The Tritone Trilogy, Bottled Magic, Manley Maids, Once-Upon-A-Time Romance and BeefCake, Inc. Under the pseudonym, Raven Morris, she writes the erotic romance series, Tied With a Bow and Flirting With Thirty. She is the owner/operator of www.formatting4U.com, a service to help authors self-publish their books. Judi lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two-legged and four-legged “menagerie,” and her very supportive fiancé. Check out Judi’s books at www.JudiFennell.com.

 

Latest release:

Beefcake & Snowflakes

Book 4 in the BeefCake, Inc. Series:

 

 

Gina Taormina had a crush on Darien Foster since before she could remember until the day he’d humiliated her in school. Fifteen years later, the sight of him still leaves her cold.

 

Exotic dancer Darien has come back to town to set a few things to rights. One of those is the mess he made for Gina during their teenage years… and maybe rekindle the flames they’d once had.

 

But the only way to melt the snow around Gina’s heart is to turn up the heat, both on the job… and off.

 

 

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A digital marketing agency specializing in brand development and book promotion, Pub-Craft offers online advertising and coaching services to promote, assist, and inspire over-extended, do-it-all authors and entrepreneurs.

 

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