Why Writers Should Market Themselves- Carrow Brown

Hello, hello! Welcome to August, and welcome to my newest guest poster! This is Carrow. We met on Twitter through the writing community. She has a book called, Queen of Swords and Silence, out now. Click the link to check it out! Finally, here is her post about the scary (or is it?) world of marketing.

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It’s no secret that marketing is a scary and overwhelming thought for authors. It requires many of us who are recluse to go out and dust off people skills for the sake of our books. Some writers are under the impression that a lot of their marketing is going to be handled by their publisher, which is a dying idea as the publishing world pushes forward. The truth is more and more publishers are requiring authors to market themselves, host their own sites, and engage on social media so they are available to fans. The days of someone else doing it for you is quickly dying away.

But this is a good thing.

You, as an author, want to be in control of your online presence and interactions with others. Knowing how to manage your website is a life saver when something breaks and the person you hired to maintain it for you is on vacation. A link to my newsletter broke and a kind fan informed me and I was able to fix it within a half-hour. Why? Because I knew how to use the site, located the issue, and correct it. If I’d let someone else do it, I would have had to contact them–and hope they are by a computer–and wait for them to fix it. This could have lost me revenue while I waited on top of paying the person to fix it for me.

Publishers are requiring more and more authors to market themselves because it is cheaper for them to do the in-bound marketing.  Kim Craft, who spoke at a panel in 2014 for self-publishing, commented that when she asked for help with various marketing strategies, her publisher came back with, “We only do that for the bestsellers.” She went on to further explain about how publishers will typically put more time and effort into the 10% of published authors who are guaranteed sales for the company and require other authors to sell their books on their own. It sounds dire, but that is how the industry works. Even if you intend to go the traditional route, I’d encourage to take the time to watch Kim’s panel as a lot of good information about the industry.

“But Carrow, I see publishers market authors all the time. Why wouldn’t they do it for me? My stuff is good!”

You’re right, publishers do market books, but these books are by authors who are guaranteed sales. The reason publishers will only promote 10% of their authors because they are the ones who bring in 90% of the profits for the company.

Now, this isn’t bad. It’s how business works. If there is a product that people love, you are going to promote it. Everything else is a possible risk and new authors have to prove they are worth the risk. This is why having an author website and social media presence is important. Many authors are signed on with publishers because they have a huge following (guaranteed sales) and happen to have polished book people love, that will only work in the author’s favor.

There is another reason why you should be in control of your site, social media, and newsletter. But in order to explain it to you, we must first dive into mini Carrow Story Time.

Back in Nov 2018, I signed up with a publisher and in March 2019 I walked from them. After being with them for months, I found I was the only one rising hype for the book. Everything I did was the same I would have done if I’d been self-publishing and, outside of an email and tweet, the publisher did nothing. Also, when I signed up with them, they offered to send out my newsletter for me, which I thought was awesome

Later on, I found out this was a mistake.

When I left the publisher, much happened (if you wish to know the full story, I have shared the details on my blog so other authors know what to look out for) but I sent several messages requesting my royalties and newsletter contacts. I never received any of this from them and ended up having to re-build my newsletter list (with over 100 contacts) up from the ground.

I shared this situation to better explain the last reason why you have have to market yourself… you cannot trust people to have your best interest in heart. A person can say one thing and then do something completely different and you won’t know until it is too late. You put months or years into writing your book, and when you finally are ready to share it with the world, you want to make sure it’s getting the best opportunity available. No one will care about your book as much as you will in the beginning.

Now, I explained a great detail about why you should market yourself, but I didn’t explain how to do that. If you are interested, I have a youtube series (https://bit.ly/2UhK8Ji) where I talk about the various ways to market yourself. I create these videos for you and if something is not clear, you can direct message me on YouTube with your question and I will be more than happy to clarify.

If you are looking for books on how to market yourself, I found the following to be amazing resources.

 

As stated at the start, marketing yourself can be intimidating when you first start. But if you arm yourself with knowledge and practice, you’ll find it becomes easy very quickly. You are not required to dive all in at the very start. It is okay to start simple and expand outwards into what works for you.

 

Is there social media you find easiest to work with? Why is that?

 

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About the Author

Carrow Brown grew up in a military family and traveled the world absorbing everything she could (including whatever bad words she could find!) Carrow’s passion has always been to write stories to share with others that both entertain and provoke thought. Carrow resides in sunny Arizona with her husband and German shepherds. In the little free time she has between writing The Ghost Walker Chronicles and her clinical psychology graduate work, Carrow can often be found sketching her characters into life and hiking in the wilderness with her husband and dogs.

She is easily bribed with tacos and the answer is always “yes” if you offer to show her pictures of your dogs.


Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your story, Carrow! I hope you guys got a lot out of this. It’s definitely something to consider if you plan on publishing something. 

Thanks so much for reading! Talk to you later!

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