Hello, everyone! I’m Donna Fasano. I wrote for HQ as Donna Clayton for 20 years. I started self-pubbing in early 2010.
I gave away a lot of books in the beginning. That worked for me for a while. In fact, I made close to 6 figures one year. However, in late 2012 Amazon changed how free books show up in that all-important: Customers who bought this book also bought bar that is on every book’s page in the Kindle Store. Free books do okay in selling your other books (crossover sales), but not nearly as well as prior to 2012. I’ve decided not to give away mass quantities of books anymore. I’m not saying you shouldn’t! Free often is a necessary tool for a new or little-known indie author striving for visibility.
So. I’ve had to find other ways to market. Now, I am “riding the wave” and what I mean by that is: I focus my marketing on one of my titles each month. If you were to look at my “Author Ranking” chart at Author Central, you would see that the graphs on books I promote look like waves; every time I launch a marketing campaign, there is a rise on the chart.
Anyway, I believe that every Indie Author must find the marketing plan that works for her. What I do may not work for you. What you do may not work for me. It’s all about experimenting. If, after giving away free books, you see an uptick in sales of your other books, then that tactic works and you should use it.
In a nutshell, here is a Savvy Indie Author’s Bucket-List:
1. Focus on getting at least 5 or 6 GOOD books published on Amazon. Readers will not buy book two if book one isn’t entertaining, well-formatted and error-free. Think of your book as a “package” (story, editing, formatting, cover) and the whole package has to be professional… Just like The Big 6 publishers produce.
2. Reread #1.
3. Work on acquiring good reviews. This is very difficult and can be frustrating, but many advertisers require 10 or more reviews (with a 4-star average overall) before they will advertise your book. Do not pay for reviews. EVER. This goes against Amazon’s Terms of Service and if Zon finds out you paid for a review, the review is removed.
4. eHow to: Contact book review blogs and ask to be featured. These days, bloggers are so overwhelmed with requests for reviews that are more apt to do an author interview or let you write a guest post. Another angle is to approach blog sites specializing in an interest you have other than books/writing. I love to cook, so I have recipes posted all over the internet. If you Google my name, you will get lots of hits. That’s what you want: Visibility.
5. Social media is essential. FACEBOOK: I am so disgusted with FB at the moment (can you say greedy, greedy, greedy?). FB is only allowing a small portion of your FB followers to see posts and they encourage you to “promote” your posts ($$$) so that more of your followers see them. I have paid FB money several times and have seen NO results. So save your money. TWITTER: I love Twitter. I used to spend an hour or so each evening chatting with people all over the world. It was fun. Do what you can to find readers on Twitter. It’s fine to follow and be followed by other authors, but finding readers makes more sense. I use FriendOrFollow to keep my “am following” amount lower than my “followed by” amount. I am also on TUMBLR, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, and GOOGLE+. I also use StumbleUpon. Focus on a few to begin with because social media is a huge time suck.
6. Join AuthorCentral.com (this site is directly connected to Amazon. Authors sign in with their Amazon username/password. From there, you can “claim” your titles, and more easily change/update your books’ descriptions, etc. (Some authors really need to learn how to write book blurbs.) IMPORTANT: Click the “profile” tab at the top and write a nice bio, add your photo, your Twitter handle and your blog’s RSS feed. Your Amazon Author Page is an important marketing tool! If you go to Amazon and type Donna Fasano into the search bar, my author page is one of the first things that will come up. Every author needs an Amazon Author Page!
7. Generate new product. We ARE writers. You must make time to write and you will often find it the greater challenge.