Lately I’ve gotten into laser-focus mode. I comment on blogs less frequently than I used to, and when I do, I don’t tend to keep coming back or engaging in debate. I’m spending a bit less time on Twitter and Facebook as well. Why?
Besides being burned out...
Marketing is important, but the most important thing is backlist. Selena Kitt and Joe Konrath are selling like crazy crack-monkeys not only because they can write, but because they have monster backlists. As you start to build a name for yourself as an indie, the best thing you can do is have more work for your fans to consume once they finish whatever they’re reading of yours now.
The more times someone clicks a buy button for a book with your name attached to it, the more buying from you becomes a habit and the lower the wall of resistance for them to buy something from you in the future.
My focus right now is on writing more and putting more work out into the world so I can build my backlist. It may take awhile, but it’s my goal to get to the point where I can release a book every six months without quality suffering. Since I don’t have a job outside of this, it should be doable eventually.
It’s my belief that when you’re starting out you hit a bit of a plateau where, unless you have a huge marketing budget where you can spend actual money to bring readers to you, you’ve exhausted your current reach.
It’s not your total reach. There are probably many people out there who would like your work that you just haven’t reached yet. But, without the marketing dollars, there is no good way for you to reach them.
I did a big Kindle giveaway recently. I had a rush of blog visitors and a lot of contest entries, and several new readers, but it still didn’t broaden my overall platform gigantically. The only way to move forward at this point is to release new work, and then build platform from the momentum of that release. Then do it again. And again.
I know many indies feel sort of adrift because they’ve told me so. And I’ve felt adrift as well at times, not knowing where to put my focus. It seems absolutely necessary to stay plugged-in constantly with people so they don’t forget who you are and you don’t fall off the map. But unless we’re talking about your hardcore uber fans who will pimp your work until their dying day, there is a law of diminishing returns here.
I’m starting to believe that the best strategy is a big marketing push at the beginning of a new release, followed by consistently (but moderately) getting your name out there and focusing most of your effort on building your catalog of work.
The more books you have, the more opportunities people have to find your work, and once hooked, the more chance you have of repeat buyers who become serious fans.
Zoe Winters is an indie author of quirky paranormal romances. Her favorite colors are rainbow and clear.