Marketing Your Writing Outside the Box

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Image by Kevin King(Chandana Perera) from Pixabay

Hi, everyone! 🙂

One of the things I want to talk about is building a reader fan base. And I think the best way to do that is find a way online to create a community of fans, and doing that takes more than simply adjusting a few keywords or finding categories on Amazon. It takes a lot more than that. And that’s the danger of relying on Amazon alone or simply keywords and things like that alone. You don’t know who you’re getting or what you’re getting.

I’ll just give you an example. I mean, back when I was selling lots of ebooks, back in 2011, before the market became so flooded I was doing a book signing and the CRM [community relations manager, aka, event manager] at the bookstore suggested a book fair or something for me to attend. And I said, “Well, actually that’s quite far away, and I don’t know if it’s going to be worth the expense, because I can sell better online.” And she said, “Well, don’t you want to build a fan base?” And I thought to myself, “Oh gee, who do you think is buying all those books from Amazon?”

Well, there may have been people buying my 99-cent books, but they were not rabid fans by any means. I mean, they were picking up 99-cent books. I mean, here it was and I had good reviews. So people picked up on that and that was enough back then, but it’s not enough anymore. And I won’t go into the reasons for that, because that’s a separate but related topic, which I can get into at some point. But my point is get out there and establish a platform of some sort. And I think what I have in the Crime Cafe, my podcast, is something of a platform. And there’s actually value in so much of what I have in that platform. I mean, in terms of not only information for readers, but for writers. What you can learn from other writers. There is a lot in there. Believe me.

And finally, the bottom line is you have to do something that will work for you and connect with people in some way, and doing it in a meaningful way means more than just taking a high-priced course in how to run an Amazon ad or a Facebook ad or a BookBub ad or any of that. And the other thing I will also add is that when it comes to publishing, when you’re getting advice from people in the industry, they have a tendency to look at it this way [with blinders], because this is all they know. I mean, this is what they’ve done all their lives, and this is the way they look at it. So they will have a point of view that will be very skewed toward what they’re used to. You have to be able to think outside of that, you have to be able to go outside of the box, literally.

And if you’re a writer and a thinker and you really look at the situation, you’ll realize that this is true and that you can do more than you can imagine without catering to Amazon. I’m not saying that you can’t pay attention to it and that you shouldn’t have your books there, because of course you have great distribution, but they won’t lift a finger for you marketing-wise. Why should they? That’s not where they make their money. They also don’t make their money from ads. They’re a web services company. That’s where they make their money. And so if you want to give your money to a monopolist, go right ahead, and there’s a legal pleading around somewhere. It’s so goofy, I’m not even going to go into it. But I mean, it really recognizes that Amazon has a monopoly on the ebook market in the U.S. I’ll just state it outright. There, I said it. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be exclusive to them. There are other ways of making a living off your writing than simply catering to algorithms and categories. Now, these ways won’t necessarily put you on the New York Times bestseller list. But then in my case, I just got lucky and I was there at the right time.

I feel like I’ve kind of gotten a little bit rambly here, but I hope I’ve made the point that you shouldn’t give up. You should continue to write as well as you can and look for ways outside of the norm to monetize your content. That’s my point. Okay. Now that I’ve said that, I think I’m done. So I’ll talk to you later. Thanks.

PS: Don’t go through life wearing blinders. 🙂

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Image via Nina Amir.

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New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.

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