Labor Day Weekend has come and gone! I’m so thoroughly re-created that I’m exhausted and rarin’ to get back to work! Those of you who have been Publetarians for some time now may recognize my writing – cantankerous though it may be. This serves as fair warning to those of you who don’t need one more online curmudgeon filling your browser page with annoying, endless, self-important opinion. On the other hand, I’ll be minimizing outright opinion, over the coming weeks to concentrate upon throwing some useful information out there to the hungry masses of Indie Authors and Publishers.
This column won’t tell you how to write the perfect pitch, or how to hone your books and stories down to where they shine in every agent’s glistening eyes. There’s plenty of good information provided by other Publetarians that covers improving your writing skills. My aim with this weekly column will be to provide some “nuts and bolts” information regarding how to promote, advertise and sell your work. The trick, as I see it, is to learn to attack the problem from many different directions at once and to stay “on your feet”, adapting your message to your market as it shifts before your eyes. A kind of sleight of hand helps keep your audience waiting for the next dove to fly out.
It’s not really magic. I speak from over 30 years in the trenches of small business management (it’s not pretty in there) and over 20 of them in advertising design, promotional collateral material design and copy writing as well as media placement for the rest of us. We all should compete upon as level a playing field as possible. If the rest of us need to roll up our sleeves and get out the shovels, I’m on it. Then watch the dirt fly!
The rest of us are small business owners who can’t afford to hire full time publicists and/or advertising agencies to position and spin our writing into gold. As I’ve learned, being an Indie-Author or publisher is a full-time, small business – whether you keep your day job, or not! Once we set our goals we have to do our own spinning, and I’m hoping to help other Indies get it right — or at least as good as we can make it. My clients over the years have ranged from international aerospace corporations to Mom & Pop retail businesses and a lot of ‘in-betweens’.
The two considerations common to all of them was: make it great, and keep the cost down. Gratifyingly, there were only two primary considerations. That’s a joke.
From my years as Studio Director in a wide variety of graphics Bull-pens, I’ve learned one rule in the ad business that has never failed when considering a project (see image below)… cut it out, print it, then fill it out and post it where you can see it every day.
So, if good and cheap (implication: inexpensive, not poor quality) sound like a good course of action, I’ll give you a breakdown of tools that you need, how to use them, and what to expect from your efforts. Of course, I can’t always get it 100 percent spot-on for your needs, but I hope that you’ll all let me know where an idea has failed as well as when it has worked for you.
In addition, within the above loosely-organized subject definition, if you’d like to get my take upon something specific, let me know and I’ll work with your idea, see what I can come up with or find some foggy memory in the recesses of my brain. Oh, and I’ll let you know what I think about it, too. Maybe more than once, but that comes with the white patent loafers and flower print Dacron shirt.
I wouldn’t be a curmudgeon if I didn’t throw around my opinion. Just bear in mind that after 35 years of writing (2 complete novels, 2 more WIPs), with book sales that always need improving and a roomful of encouraging, even complimentary rejection letters, my opinions can be pretty unvarnished. Lots of ragged edges. If you don’t mind occasional ragged, come on in.
Next Time: One electronic thing Indies can’t do without…
The Indie Curmudgeon is an Indie Novelist, graphic designer, marketing consultant, guitar picker, Indian Trader and online retail merchant since 1995.