Kathryn Jones has worked with a local publisher, but chose to self-publish after learning she could make more money doing it herself. Here she explains her use of postcards and CreateSpace as part of an overall marketing strategy.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me one of your books in five to ten sentences.
Struggling? Want to make your life better? Perhaps you feel as if your life is already taking you down the right path. Want to improve it? Try talking to God. Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones is for anyone desiring to travel beyond mediocrity, pain and fear. Want to take your life to the next level? You’ll want to read this book.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
I like having my hand in all of the variables of publishing: book cover creation, formatting, marketing….
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
Not traditionally in the sense of a national publisher picking up my book, but my first book was published by a local publisher. I did most of the marketing and figured that I could make more money doing the book myself while still being able to market my book.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I love it! My husband is a big help; he has learned to do all of the formatting, all of the technical stuff to get a book looking great, and I help him decide on a cover and the general layout of the book. CreateSpace is a great place to get your work published. Less than $50 is spent getting a title in print, and books are printed as they are sold (POD) so the investment is small.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
I have put together some postcards with my book cover on one side and a few details about my book (including contact information) on the other side. I take these cards with me and hand them out to people I speak with. The other night my husband and I were out to dinner and I gave one to our terrific waitress and the restaurant manager. I am also big on getting online reviews. I have had a lot of success with reviewers desiring to read my book, plus they are willing to take it in PDF format which saves me time and money.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I don’t send out as many paperback books as I did ten years ago when my first book came out. I spent a lot of money on review copies ten years ago and ended up with few reviews. I am also not doing any book signings to speak of. Instead, I am doing speaking assignments to writing groups, book groups and other events. My “Conquering your Goliaths-Guidebook” will be out sometime this month. I plan on using the guidebook as part of my speaking assignments. The book will also be available for purchase on Amazon.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
The time it takes. I spend a few hours (almost every day) doing something to market my book. If I can get one positive answer a day on my book, whether it’s a yes on a review, or a yes on a book group speaking engagement, I know that my book will get out there like it needs to.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Start earlier. At least six months before the book is finished, start on book promotion.
9. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
Use the free resources available for marketing. Get some business cards and postcards made up. At VistaPrint, they’re really cheap. Talk your book up. Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve just created. Get excited about your work and others will too.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I am finishing up my guidebook, mentioned above, and am planning on releasing my cozy mystery, “Scrambled,” sometime this year.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
12. How can readers learn more about your books?