Larry Montgomery is a prolific writer who is working hard to make his name in a crowded market. He discusses a variety of specific marketing techniques he uses to try to do so.
1. Tell me briefly about your current writing project – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My current project is titled The Case of the Persistent Widow. It is the first of a 12-book series entitled, “The Parables of Life.” I was inspired after reading a number of biblical parables from the King James version and wondered how these stories would play out in these days and times. While the original purpose of each of the biblical parables was Jesus’ attempt to simplify concepts for living a Christian life when you delve into them there is a lot of similarities to situations people, Christians or not, could find themselves in. If you like mysteries, whodunnits, or stories where the good guy isn’t just interested in getting in someone else’s pants; and if you have ever wondered how a 2,000-year-old biblical parable could apply to your life today, then read this book.
2. How have your sales been?
My test marketing on Amazon.com, as a self-published author, had surprising results. Based on those results, I decided to dive into an all-out marketing relationship with my current publisher, Newman Springs, and take the project directly to the market.
3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. Have you sought an agent or any work with traditional publishers? If not, why not? If so, what has been your experience?
As I mentioned above self-publishing is a means to an end, the end being to get your work out into the marketplace. Self-publishing within the context of a limited campaign platform will only drive so much buying traffic to the author’s sales network. However, direct engagement within a multi-marketing platform is where the market separates the wannabes from the newbies. You can’t learn to swim in your bathtub but once you jump into the ocean, it is a sink or swim experience.
The market does not grow based on traditional thinking. Traditional thinking by definition precludes new thinking, and if there is no new thinking there is no opportunity for growth. I have gotten so many “…unfortunately, I don’t feel as excited about this project” responses from literary agents I just stopped counting. I have no choice but to go into marketplace with both guns blazing if I am going to achieve the success I deserve.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.
On the positive side I must say I like the independence in creativity and lack of structure. I write what makes sense to me and not based on someone else’s opinion of what the market is looking for today.
The one negative that sticks out, is as a self-published author you must become proficient in areas you may, or may not, have a skill set in. And the learning curve may cost you more than you are willing to pay.
5. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
Networking is not my strong suit and I have to get better at that. At this point I have limited myself to online networking groups and even there I still don’t do a good enough job at it.
6. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I occasionally run an online direct marketing campaign, at least once or twice a year. I’ll run a sales ad in each of the networking groups I belong to, offering a select edition in an ebook format. I get in front of close to a million members each week. It’s mostly busy work but it does keep my name out there.
7. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I have done a lot of reading on book and self-publishing marketing. But over the years I realize that the problem isn’t a lack of knowledge but a failure to implement what was learned. What I hope would work best for me is that one day a young, smart, aggressive, aspiring literary agent will be searching for new talent and discover me and my collection of almost 100 projects and decide to make both me and them famous.
8. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
The most important thing I have learned is this: “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done” and “if I do it, it may not work, but if I don’t do it, it definitely won’t work.”
9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Learn how to think and speak at the same time by using “Dragon” software.
10. New authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books, whether they go the indie or traditional publishing route. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
My advice is this: If you love to write get used to the words, “Thanks but no thanks.” If you want to make money doing this, learn everything you can about it and never give up on it.
11. What other projects are you currently working on?
Volume 2 of 12 in the “Parables of Life” series is up to be released March 2019. More information can be found at the links below.
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?
We publish interesting reading that is worth reading.
13. How can readers learn more about your books?
14. Are there any parting words of advice you wish to share?
May God Bless everything you put your hands to.