Guy Portman is relatively new to the self-publishing world but is already picking up a lot. Find out what he’s learned about effective use of social media and what he would do if he could start the process again.
1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.
The following is the blurb for Charles Middleworth: What happens when Adrian, an actuary, has his banal and predictable existence turned upside down by sinister forces that he can neither understand nor control? How will he react to a revelation that leaves his life in turmoil? Will he surrender or strive for redemption in an altered world, where rationality, scientific logic and algorithms no longer provide the answers?
2. Why did you become an indie writer?
It seemed like the most rational decision considering the current publishing situation.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
I have not attempted to go down the traditional route. Charles Middleworth is not what I imagine publishers would necessarily consider a commercially viable commodity, like a vampire and/or erotica book for example.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
It’s been a rewarding journey into the unknown. I have a great deal yet to learn and appreciate the fact that it is going to take time to generate sales.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
My book was only recently launched but so far I have tried a few methods including social media in the form of Facebook and Twitter in addition to my blog.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
From my limited experience incessant self-promotion on Twitter generally is ineffective for most authors unless of course they are famous. Therefore I am attempting to be creative in my use of Twitter and will not be embracing the repetitive self-promotion method. Instead I am planning to promote my book heavily once or twice a week and use the medium for social interaction the rest of the time.
7. Which services or vendors do you recommend for the marketing methods you used?
I really don’t have much experience of vendors. I did correspond with a number of businesses that promote your book through tweeting to large numbers of followers, but have decided against spending money on this for the moment. My book designer is going to be making my business cards and I am very much looking forward to seeing them.
8. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
The amount of work that is involved.
9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
If I had my time again maybe I would have started my blog about a year prior to the launch of my book as opposed to a couple of months.
10. Indie authors face the challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie just starting out?
Well Kris that’s a good question. However, I am really not yet in a position to answer that, quite the contrary in fact I am still seeking the answer. There is no doubt that genre fiction generally sells better and that business savvy people are the most effective at leveraging their brand in a congested marketplace. Reviews definitely help as does being effective in the keyword/categories that you choose on Amazon. To be competing with a smaller pool of books is extremely important and if you are clever with your marketing then the two combined will give you a decent chance of being successful.
11. What are you currently working on?
Marketing Charles Middleworth and my blog for the time being, though I am formulating plans for some short stories and/or another book to be started on soon.
12. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
Comical, informative and non-judgmental.
13. How can readers learn more about your books?
My blog guyportman.com is becoming pretty popular, come and check it out. I write about lots of stuff, including current affairs, random incidents and traveling, in addition to a wide selection of book reviews.