Indie Marketing: Be the Turtle, Not the Hare

Gifted has been out for just over a week now and I feel like I’ve done a pretty bang-up job of not hovering over my computer screen, begging for reviews and sales numbers. In fact, I’m kinda the opposite, perhaps alarmingly laidback about it. I keep reading (and now repeating) that indie publishing, and with it the sales, is a marathon, not a race. I can sprint to the finish line as fast as I want, but that doesn’t mean anything will come of it. Even if I somehow made a thousand dollars in a month, that doesn’t prevent an immediate drop to nothing after the first month of release. It’s like a slow burn.

Instead, I’m biding my time, hopefully building relationships with bloggers through email and Twitter and quietly promoting the Amazon link here and there on Twitter and Facebook. It’s not that I’m not aggressive–I could be if I wanted to–but I don’t want to come off annoying, especially considering this is my first book and I’m brand new to the game. I want to genuinely talk to people on Twitter, not shove my book on them. I’m hoping that reviews (both from blogs and Amazon) will back me up, speak up for me when I don’t want to be pushy. I want to take my time because I’m smart enough to realize it takes time.

Because I did my marketing plan after I finished the book, I think some things went out of order. In which case, I’ve learned my lesson for the next books. I’ve contacted tons of bloggers and gifted many, many Kindle copies or mailed out paperbacks and I suppose I should’ve done this weeks before the official book release. But because I’m trying to be a turtle and not a hare, I’m taking it in stride. I know next time to contact beforehand and in this case, now the hard part is waiting. On the plus side, out of the many, many fantastic bloggers I’ve emailed, only a couple have turned me down (and only because their TBR piles were outta control), while most have immediately jumped on my offer with an enthusiastic approach to the story. Some reviewers warn me it might not be until July or August until they can review it, but I still hook them up with excitement–if they’re willing to do a review, I’m more than happy to accomodate. The way I see it, even if my sales or marketing had dropped a little over the summer (because it’s been out for a while or I’m working on new stuff), then their new reviews later on can possibly spark interest again and help me push it out there to new readers.

I did an interview with Lauren from The Housework Can Wait and one of the questions was, “What’s the hard part of publishing?” Honestly, it’s the waiting game and not in the sense you might think. Sure, it’s nerve-wracking to think of all these people reading my book. My fear doesn’t stem from waiting for a bad review–I’m going to deal with bad reviews with a shrug of the shoulder and perhaps a stiff drink that evening, but with an understanding that not everyone will like it (and on days it gets me particularly down, I’ve heard reading the 1-star reviews for even the bestsellers is sort of an eye-opener to take it in stride). The hard part with the waiting is literally just that–the waiting to hear one way or another. The waiting while knowing (hoping?) people are laughing, rolling their eyes, and cheering for my characters. I’m not a patient person (and usually read a book in a few hours at one sitting, something I know not everyone has time for), so this has certainly been a lesson for me.

Luckily, I’ve been distracted by other things, like working on book 2 of the Donovan Circus adventures, as well as a YA title I’m really excited about. I’m staying busy even without constantly refreshing my sales page and honestly, I kinda refuse to be a slave to the numbers anyway. I don’t want to be “that girl” that forgets to actually write and do other things because she’s glued to the sales. No, thanks.

In all honesty, and I’ve stated this before, I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it to have a book published. It’s freaking awesome that I look on Amazon and find my name next to a novel. The more my friends exclaim over it, the more amazed I am that I did it–I completed a bucket list item and put my story out there for the world to read. That’s sort of what I’ve always wanted since I was a kid, so I consider it a success, even if I only sell ten books. The best part is, I’m getting such nice feedback and ratings that it might actually stand a shot at selling even twenty or thirty books maybe!

My first 2 blogger reviews are listed below–Heather and Lauren were so great to help me with this, especially on short notice. They both practically dropped everything (including what they were already reading) because my story intrigued them and turns out I don’t suck! They’ve both been so kind to assure me how much they enjoyed it and help promote it for me. I’m so grateful to them!! It’s such a nice feeling, to know people got along with my characters as much as I do (and even want to be friends with them as much as I do!).

Gifted Review on Soleful Reader – 4/5 Heels

Gifted Review on The Housework Can Wait – Graded “B”

On tomorrow’s YA Indie Carnival, it’s all about Mom for Mother’s Day weekend! And at some point soon, I’ll be addressing the “New Adult” genre debate (in case you didn’t guess, I’m in support of this new movement).  And of course, more character interviews and news about Gifted. Happy Thursday!

3 thoughts on “Indie Marketing: Be the Turtle, Not the Hare

  1. ahamin says:

    So what is the best advice you can give for a fellow author who is about to release his novel next week?? 🙂
    And best of wishes for you and your work

    • LizLong says:

      Take a lot of deep breaths, don’t get sucked into sales pages, and just enjoy being published. Sounds simple, but it’s definitely a challenge. I promise you’ll feel more relaxed and accomplished instead of hurried and worried 🙂
      Thank you! Best of luck to you as well!

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