9 Super Helpful Tips For Successful Indie Author Marketing

Use these tips to boost your indie author marketing strategy and grow your audience.

You published a book. That’s awesome.

Now what?

As an indie (independent) author, marketing is not going to be easy. There is no team to hold you up. Just like you self-published your novel, you will also be holding your indie author marketing by the reigns.

But where do you even begin? Use this table to choose the topics you need the most help with:

Develop Your Author Brand

Before you can write your social posts or promote the blog previews of your latest novel, you must have a concrete brand out in place.

Your author brand is the pinnacle of your indie author marketing strategy. It should embody who you are while encompassing the work you create.

It’s a hefty task to do alone, and there are a couple basics on branding you should know, which I talk about in this post.

Branding isn’t about just creating a cool logo. It’s about creating a story. As an author, you understand how valuable a story can be. Now, you just need to use that creative storytelling to encapsulate all that you are.

Get Creative With Indie Author Marketing Strategies

There are, of course, the typical strategies of smart book pricing or hosting a sale. But it’s 2019; isn’t it time to think outside of the box?

Yes.

I have mentioned time and time again how the modern reader wants new. That means keeping your indie author marketing strategies fresh and enticing.

As a reader, some of my personal favorites have been live video sessions done by my favorite authors and blog posts that reveal exclusive content from their upcoming book.

Both are great examples of getting creative with your indie author marketing strategies.

Think of New Ways to Tell Your Story.

Some authors go as far as creating interactive story content on their website. As cool as that can be, your website’s load times may suffer – causing your audience to lose interest.

I have personally found success from digital content marketing. This includes but isn’t limited to blog posts, social media posts, YouTube live shows and Instagram Stories.

Using automated marketing softwares like Tailwind, I am able to promote my writing across social networks.

I especially love indie author marketing campaigns that start a story on one platform and allow it to flow into another.

That’s part of building your user’s experience.

Learn the User Journey

The user journey refers to the path your audience takes to get to your desired content/point of sale. For example, let’s say you want to sell your eBook.

Well, your reader may not start on your shop page (not unless you directly refer them). Instead, they see your Facebook Ad. They click it and go to a landing page all about your novel.

Thoroughly enticed, they click the big “Buy Now” button (which is located throughout the landing page in multiple spots).

This takes them straight to their shopping cart. But first, they’re asked, “Wanna see what else I’m selling?”

Then, they may take a gander at your other products, add a couple more things to their cart and finally check out.

Some user journeys don’t just end there, however. Whether it’s because they’re low on cash or they simply get dragged into some other activity, maybe they leave their cart full without purchasing.

At that point, your site has cookied them – meaning you can send them a gentle reminder email that they left items in their cart.

Let’s say weeks go by, and they still never fulfill their purchase. They are now dropped from a Prospect (because you aren’t actively pursuing them) to a Lead (because you still want to acquire future engagement).

The user journey never really ends. Click To Tweet

Let’s say they followed through with their purchase. Even then, you would have a thank you for purchasing email, and you would make sure they were on the list for promotions of the book’s sequel.

Did all of that sound new to you? Maybe not entirely. You, yourself, are a consumer, after all. So, you are more than likely on a user journey with some type of company out there – even if you don’t realize it.

Understanding the user journey of your indie author marketing campaigns is vital to ensuring you are delivering valuable content.

For example: if you start your user journey with a social media campaign, but no one is ever clicking through to the landing page, then your content isn’t valuable enough.

If you are your own marketer, then you need to thoroughly understand who your audience is and what type of journey they enjoy that drives sales/conversions.

Dive Into Uncharted Waters With Social Media

I know a lot of indie authors who don’t branch out enough on social media. By branch out, I don’t mean being on a bunch of different platforms. Rather, I encourage you to investigate some alternative posting methods

For example, if you are always sending out text tweets, then maybe try sending out a video, GIF, or photo.

You can also use fun application tools within certain apps, such as Instagram Stories, to really showcase your writing and engage readers.

Another part of diving into uncharted waters with social media is actually learning more about social media marketing (SMM) and social media optimization (SMO).

Both concepts should be used to generate your social calendar. That’s right, if you aren’t planning out your social media posts in advance, then you’re doing it wrong.

Social media is a huge part of a successful indie author marketing campaign. I highly recommend, even if you don’t do your own marketing, that you consistently stay aware of the updates to social networking algorithms.

My favorite blog for keeping up with algorithm and system updates is Marketing Land. Their writers really stay on top of what’s new in social media, but also just in the marketing world in general.

You should treat social media as part of your job as your self-marketer. Click To Tweet

As you move forward with your indie author marketing campaign, ensure you are making your social media a priority. It’s no secret that people cling to their online presences, these days.

If you want to really grow your fan-base, then you need to be online making your mark. If you struggle with posting, you can always try an automated marketing service. For example, for Pinterest, I use Tailwind to schedule all of my pins.

The trick is to figure out what will work best for you and to enjoy the social media campaign you build within your indie author marketing campaign!

Generate Reusable, Marketable Content

If you are an author who started as a blogger or are not new to blogging, then the idea of repurposing content is nothing you don’t already know. However, if you’re new to it all, or you simply haven’t heard about this concept, then this section is for you.

The idea of repurposing your content surrounds taking your best, most popular content and turning it into various pieces that can all be actively marketed. That also means the content needs to be evergreen, which is content that can be promoted year-round.

Something I love to do is to write a longer, more educational article that doesn’t dive into specific contexts but does answer questions of a tough topic. Then, I take the content I know some readers may need more information on, and I jot them own as separate post ideas.

As the month progresses, I create three to four more posts all based off that one, long educational post. Typically, I try to go for listicles (articles that are list based), either diving further into a conversation topic or proving why it’s useful to know.

At the end of the month, I go back through my original article and link out to the relative three or four other articles I created. Then, all the articles can be simultaneously promoted (kind of like a blog series), all of them interlinked to each other.

This not only helps Google see that you write consistent, educational, long-form articles (upping your SEO rank), but it also keeps you from running out of content ideas!

How would you do this with your novel?

Great question – and it’s actually really simple! Do a blog series on the process of writing your book. Start with one long post on the whole process from beginning to end. Make it comprehensive without getting into minuscule details.

Then, write up posts based on the smaller, more specific details of the post that could use further explanation (i.e. how you wrote your conflicts scenes, which characters you struggled with developing, or what you learned most from the self-editing process).

The key to writing a “base” post for your blog is to ensure you write down the possible posts that could branch off it on a piece of paper as you go along. Don’t start writing the “branches” until you have the “tree”!

Meaning, don’t let yourself get sidetracked with new post ideas. I know it will be tempting, but that base post is so crucial. It really needs to be done first.

Teach Yourself Basic SEO Techniques

If you aren’t a techie, and you don’t actively work with website technology, then you may have seen “SEO” plastered across your screen but not really know what it means.

That’s okay!

SEO stands for Social Engine Optimization, and as fancy as it sounds, it’s actually as simple as following a check list of “proper web etiquette”. 

You know how when you search something, Google shows you the top results before any others? Those top results made it to the top by following Google’s SEO standards.

Quick note: I am most familiar with Google SEO. So, for the sake of this article, I will be using Google as my prime example.

Many of these SEO techniques can be used for other search engines, but you should know that every search engine is different, too.

If you are trying to rank for a very specific search engine (outside of Google), then I highly suggest you do thorough research on that engine outside of this blog post.

Learning Keywords

Keywords are what you type in the search bar to find what you’re looking for. For example, if you Google “red Adidas shoes”, then you expect to see only posts about red Adidas shoes.

Why should keywords matter to you? Because by using them properly, you can rank higher fo particular keywords.

The Jinapher is an author marketing blog. That being said, I have made it a priority to try and include keywords throughout all my posts and website content that generate interest in or revolve around author marketing.

You can usually know if you’re using the wrong keywords if what your writing has nothing to do with your website’s brand.

You want to choose keywords that make sense for what your writing, while simultaneously choosing keywords that are a little less competitive. 

My favorite free keyword research tool is Neil Patel’s UberSuggest.

Basically, you type in what keyword you want to use, and it will spit out that keyword’s “competitive ranking”. The more competitive a keyword is, the harder it will be to get on that first page of Google results.

So, by choosing less competitive keywords, you can build a repertoire with Google, increasing your website’s ranking by ranking high for a bunch of smaller keywords.

As your general ranking increases, you will have more pliability to use the more competitive keywords and rank higher than your competing websites/blogs.

Sticking to the Neil Patel trend, here is a great blog post from him on SEO keywords – if you’d like a more in-depth explanation.

Backlinking

There are two kinds of backlinking – inbound and outbound.

Inbound links are links you place within your blog posts that link to other content on your website.

Outbound links link out to other, established websites that are similar to your own.

How does this help your SEO?

When you are a newer blog or website, Google doesn’t know you yet. However, the blogs like yours that have been around for ages – Google knows them.

Interlinking between those established blogs and your content will help Google draw the parallel between the two. This increases your validity within your niche.

Need an example? Scroll back up a bit to where I linked out to Neil Patel’s UberSuggest tool or his SEO keywords post. Both are considered out-bound backlinking, and because they are both related to digital marketing, they tie back into my niche as a blogger.

See? It’s really not difficult. You just have to wrap your head around it!

SEO Tools

Keywords and backlinking are the two big ones I want to stick to within this post. If you would like to learn further on SEO best practices, then enter your email into the following box. 

As for tools outside of UberSuggest to help amplify your SEO game, I recommend downloading the YOAST plugin for your WordPress website (if you’ve not already).

YOAST Lite is free to use and it gets the job done. YOAST will look at your post’s readability – meaning how readable it is to your audience. It will signify errors and areas that could use some work to better your SEO on the page.

It’s a super nifty tool for creating valuable meta descriptions (the short text beneath a web title on the search results page), too.

Build and Nurture Your Email List

There are many authors I sit down with that don’t ever mention their email list. They are all about their Twitter profiles – which is great…to an extent.

Your email list is one of your more valuable resources. Why? It is a direct sales source!

When you publish a book, sure you can blast it out to social media, but how much interaction will you actually receive?

Now, think about blasting it out to your email list.

Your email list – theoretically – should be a list of readers that have been waiting for your new book. So, sending it out to them first is sure to get you sales.

That being said, how do you actually get readers interested in joining your email list? You need to read this post on lead magnets. After you do, come back for more.

How to Support Continual List Growth

Nurturing your email list is not a short term game – you need to be in it for the long haul.

I personally check my email dashboard every morning to (a) ensure each of my email campaigns is running smoothly and (b) there are no new subscribers that need to be segmented into a particular interest group.

A lot of email growth health can be automated thanks to superior technology like ConvertKit. Quick promo for ConvertKit via their website:

Your email list is your biggest asset. With ConvertKit, it’s easy to customize and embed forms on your website to turn casual readers into subscribers. Don’t have a website? You can build a landing page to start growing your list today.

If you are interested in using something more budget-friendly (although ConvertKit only starts at $29/month which is a steal), I have also used MailChimp and seen great results.

Using an automated email marketing system can definitely make nurturing your email list much, much easier in the long run. 

Join In on Writing Community Activities

Depending on the social network, there are different ways to get involved with the writing community.

On Twitter, you can tweet just about anything to the writing community by using #WritingCommunity within your tweet.

On Facebook, there are several groups you can join to share your work and read others’. These are some of my favorites:

On Instagram, I suggest following some of the popular writing hashtags:

  • #AmWriting
  • #WritersOfInstagram
  • #AskAuthor
  • #AskEditor
  • #ILoveWriting
  • #AuthorLife
  • #WritersCorner
  • #WritersCommunity

I also suggest authors join Medium if you’ve not already. It’s a fabulous place to publish some short fiction, read some intriguing new writing, and really get involved with constructive feedback in the writing community.

Why Network?

Networking with other writers and authors is a great way to not only form an awesome support group during the tough times but to also get your work shared to new readers.

As sucky as the world may seem, there are some genuinely great people out there – and several reside within the writing community. It would be a mistake – no matter how shy you may be – to not at least reach out and connect with one or two individuals in your same niche/genre.

There really is no better way to increase organic interaction with your content than to have other popular writers share and dote on your work. Click To Tweet

Now, What?

First, be sure to share this post with fellow indie authors!

Second, know that this isn’t the end. Publishing your book is only the beginning of a rather long marketing journey. From branding to selling, you need to be on top of it all.

My best suggestion is to keep an eye on your email inbox! Every week, I will be adding new posts just like this one to help indie authors up their marketing strategies.

Be sure to comment below any outstanding questions you may have. I check my comments daily to provide feedback, as well as to source new post ideas!

Always,