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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Marketing’s Not for Everyone

Self-Publisher’s Diary – Marketing’s Not for Everyone

guest post

E S Lark

Most times, when I tell old friends that I write for a living, they say one of three things.
  • It’s so cool that you get to write all the time.
  • When can I expect my free copy?
  • Or the dreaded “How much are you making?”
Whenever someone says one of the above, I cringe. While self-publishing has picked up some steam over the years, it’s not as glamorous as some might think. I’d love to just sit down and write all the time. I’d love to unplug from the internet for more than a day at a time. But unplugging means I’m not marketing. I’m not answering emails or responding to questions on Facebook or Twitter.

Writing’s what authors get to do as a reward for marketing. It doesn’t start out this way, but this is how it’s become for me. Especially as a newer author on the market, being active in various communities is a must. It’s important for me to interact with potential readers, make friends and network with other authors.

The biggest hurdle I think most authors face is time management. It’s so easy to get sucked up into the marketing side of this business that before you know it, you have little or no time to write.

So, how does a new author market herself? I’ll give you a few tips:

  • Have an online platform you can direct readers to. I’m not talking about Myspace or Facebook, but an actual site that you own and have paid for. This is so no matter what happens to the other websites out there, readers can still find you through a Google search.
  • Join discussion forums that attract readers in your genre. Be active in the community. Reply to posts, but don’t promote your book. Use forum signatures and avatars to attract readers to your website or Amazon page. Promoting yourself is an instant turn off. Instead, share what you know with the community. It’s amazing how much this can do for you and your online presence.
  • Join a few of the networking communities. I mainly use Twitter for every day updates and chatting with authors. Facebook’s used for weekly updates. I use Goodreads to connect with readers and other authors. The main thing to keep in mind is to limit yourself. Two or three communities is more than enough. You can add more later one when you feel comfortable.
  •  Don’t be afraid to give something away for free. Host a contest on your blog or have a giveaway on Goodreads for one of your books. Send electronic copies of your book to reviewers. Note, always check review policies and never pay for a review service. There are bloggers out there who love to read, so long as you’re patient. Most reviewers are booked for months at a time.
  • Be yourself. Remember to keep a professional face, but don’t be afraid to be yourself. You don’t always have to talk about writing or about your books. In fact, readers enjoy learning more about their favorite authors. Share posts about the family dog or the awesome dinner you made last night.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. The main thing to remember about marketing is that it’s always changing. Google Plus recently came out. I wanted an account so bad, but never got one. And now that I think back, I didn’t need one. I have my small nest of networking sites. If I branch out much further, I’ll burn out. Know your limits and try to market a little every day.

E. S. Lark is the author of fantasy fiction such as The Waking Grove and Trueblood’s Plight. You can learn more about her and the worlds she creates by visiting her website at http://www.eslark.com

Trueblood's Plight - coming soon! 

Thirty years have passed since the clan’s flight from Tesmar, their beloved gryphon city. Three decades spent searching for safer shores, a place to repopulate and for some, to bury the truth of an age-old prophecy.

Until now.

Ava always knew she was different, from her pale plumage to her silver eyes, but being a Trueblood—a giphen who can use all forms of magic—takes ‘special’ to a whole new level. With overprotective elders and the enemy advancing from the north, Ava struggles to balance her time on and off the battlefield.

But when numerous attempts are made on her life—an attack on the clan, a rift storm and a mage controlling the minds of her friends from afar—Ava fears there’s another just like her, weakened and magic starved,  who’ll stop at nothing to use her powers as his own. She’ll have to hone her skills and exhaust her reserves close to death if she’s to go against him, even if it means forming a dangerous alliance with her enemy.


  1. Pretty cover on that book. Thanks for the advice on marketing. I try to network with other writers and stay abreast of things going on in the community. Another thing that is useful too is entering contests. It's exciting and if you win...you get some exposure :).

  2. Thank you, Michael. I enter and hold contests of my own. They're always a lot of fun, even if we don't win. It's just nice to have the chance, you know?