The good, the bad and the ugly
Some of you may not want to hear this, but you are not just an author. You are here in the course, at this moment, because you are a self-publisher, and being an author is just one part of being a self-publisher. Traditionally, many moons ago, if you were taken on by an agent and a large publisher, you may have been afforded the luxury of just being an author, but those days are long gone. The commercial concept of being a publisher involves making money from getting every stage of the publishing process right after a manuscript has been written (design, production, distribution, sales and marketing). You are in the driving seat of this process now. The clue is in the name, I_AM Self-Publishing. The opportunities for you as a self-publishing author have never been so good – in today’s world, anybody can publish and have a positive impact. Success is yours to be had; you just need to box clever about what your message is and how to get it in front of the right people. Nowadays, even traditionally published authors are told by their agents and publishers that they need to build and maintain their author platform. There has been a definite shift in responsibility. As an author today, you have much more control over how you are branded and seen by the world. Now, more than ever, you have the tools at your fingertips (quite literally, your laptops/computers/tablets/phones, etc.) to connect with readers, without needing to invest in a publicist.
Now, we do understand that you are not all marketing professionals. Some of you might be, some of you may have had a bit of experience and, to many others, this may be very alien territory. What we do know is that you are all writers, and your primary passion is writing, but to be a successful self-publisher, you need to be much more than that. You may not want to dedicate time to marketing, but if you don't then it is unlikely that your work will sell. If it doesn't sell then that second, third, fourth and fifth book that you've got up your sleeve is even less likely to become a reality. Marketing is not a daunting prospect; it is creative and exciting. You wouldn't have written this book unless you thought there were people out there that would enjoy reading it, so go and find them. Tell them why they should read it, sell it to them, and when they have read it, bask in their praise as they tell you how much they enjoyed it. Then, encourage them to tell others, keep in contact with them, and write more books that they will enjoy.
Forgive us for stereotyping, but we have worked with many authors over the years, and for most, the primary objective is not financial or even fame; they just want people (as many as possible) to enjoy, learn from, talk about, and pass on their work. You have climbed the mountain of actually sitting down and writing your manuscript, now it is your duty to do it justice and push it out to the world so that it can reach its full potential. Otherwise, what was the point in all the time, effort and money spent to date?
The problem today for the self-publisher is not a lack of resources, but knowing which ones to use and how to use them
Self-published Kindle bestseller, Rachel Abbott, said she found she was spending too much time researching marketing ideas and not enough time actually doing it. "Without a doubt (my breakthrough moment) was when I wrote a marketing plan. The first marketing plan I wrote was about 15 pages long and I followed it to the letter."
There's no such thing as getting lucky
Rachel Abbott is not alone. If you research most self-publishing success stories, regardless of genre, you will most likely find one thing that they all have in common, they really nailed their marketing. It is very naive and defeatist to say ‘Oh, they just got lucky’. In most cases that is quite offensive to the amount of work these authors put into building their platforms and readerships in the lead-up to where they made their big break. Take EL James for example, she might appear to have been an overnight success but if you read up on her (which you should – a great starting point of any marketing plan is to research those of people who have already achieved what you want to achieve and analyse how they did it) you’ll see it wasn’t as much of a fluke as it may appear. There may have been some luck along the way, but fortune favours the brave. If you are not marketing your title or talking to anyone about it, it is very unlikely that any opportunities will arise for it.
Ready to Learn?
Much like any other topic, the Internet is swirling with advice and opinion, often polarised and conflicting, which leaves a lot of you puzzled and not sure where or how to begin. So, why should you trust our advice? Well, we have put this course together based on a lot of real experiences, both personal and from other people within the publishing, marketing and publicity industries. All of the information in here is unbiased. Many free resources on the Internet are used as a hook to get you interested enough to pay a company for managed marketing or PR services. That is not how this works. The bottom line is that we have published your book and we want it to do well. The more authors that publish with us that become successful, the more authors will want to publish with us. It really is that simple. This guide is like a thank you for deciding to choose I_AM Self-Publishing.
Whatever your experience is with marketing, publicity and promotion, we have created this course to guide you through the process of creating an author platform and building a dedicated following. This is not just going to help you with this book. Building your platform in the right way by making long-term relationships with your target audience, with regular and relevant content, will be invaluable when it comes to publishing other titles in the future. Imagine knowing before you published your book that you already have lots of people excited about its release and waiting to buy it. Think of this course as a foundation for you to build on. We want to set you off on the right path. We will introduce you to various aspects of book promotion, explain their relevance and importance, and show you how to successfully include them in your campaign. Some aspects of the course will undoubtedly push you a little outside your comfort zone, but that is what learning is all about!
The aim of this course is to give you a sufficient understanding of book promotion to be able to create a realistic, targeted and manageable marketing plan for your work that you will be able to execute confidently.
There is no pass or fail with this course. We will just run through the key areas of book marketing that you should consider for your title. The format is very informal, and there will be tips, videos, examples, tools, links and resources, the opportunity to post questions on the discussion boards, and exercises and quizzes to make sure you have got the hang of things before you start telling the world about your work. As you work your way through the course and complete the tasks, you will be creating the building blocks of your own marketing plan.
There is no time constraint with this course; work through it as quickly or as slowly as you like. It isn't going anywhere either, so you can refer back to it at any time. Also make sure you follow us on our social media platforms – @iamselfpub and https://www.facebook.com/iamselfpub – for additional information and bonus tips and tricks!
The key to success is to start early and to plan long-term.
Ready? OK, let's get started...