Self-Marketing a Self-Published Novel

Writing a novel is easy. Marketing a novel is hard, especially when you’re not fond of selling yourself or trying to get a stranger to buy a product. It’s a special type of person who not only enjoys enticing people to buy their products, but who can also smile in the face of rejection.

I disliked going door-to-door as a young boy and selling things. No kid should be put under that kind of pressure. I sold chocolate bars, flower seeds, and magazine subscriptions during school fundraisers. The “No Soliciting” sign in front of some houses may as well have been written in Greek. The “mean old man” in my neighborhood was mean not because his entire yard was fenced in and the no soliciting sign fastened conspicuously next to the gate handle. No. He was mean because he yelled at kids for trying to sell him things when the “sign on the gate very clearly states NO SOLICITING,” (his words, not mine). Well. Okay. What’s that got to do with me selling things? What the heck does soliciting mean, anyway?

Selling things hasn’t gotten any easier except for the legwork. Marketing a novel is done over the internet for the most part, so the good exercise aspect of walking door-to-door is no longer valid. But web-based marketing is only marginally more pleasant than getting yelled at by a mean old man.

In an ideal world, every writer would find someone to do their marketing for them, such as a literary agent. But writers live in a world of their own making, and ideal worlds don’t always sell books. If the Book Fairy fails to find a literary agent, and/or a publisher, writers are left with self-publishing and marketing books on their own, unless they pay a marketing professional to do it for them. But, hiring a marketing professional is not affordable for most writers. So what’s a writer to do?

I self-published Honey Ko after receiving more than one hundred literary agent rejections. To be fair, Honey Ko wasn’t the book I wanted it to be at the time I was querying. Every rejection, in addition to denting my self-esteem and confidence as a writer, caused me to re-evaluate what I had written and ask myself if this was a story I would choose to represent were I an agent. The answer was no, and the revisions began. When at last I wrote The End for the final time, I knew I had the story I had longed to write. The road I traveled to get there was painful but rewarding in the end. Now I want to share my story with others.

More than eight hundred books are published, traditionally and self-published, every day in America. In order to get noticed, not only must a self-published novel stand out as a literary work, but the book must stand out as a product people want to buy. There’s the rub: how do I get people to want to buy my book?

That’s what I’m about to find out. I’ll keep you posted 😄

12 thoughts on “Self-Marketing a Self-Published Novel

  1. I bought ebook now, but I’ll buy paperback later on – its difficult to get it to Europe now (because of Covid 19). Anyway, I promise to post review until the end of this week! I have 3 more books to review lol

    Marketing is tough. I’m struggling all the time… To get reviews maybe try Goodreads (different groups) and websites like booksprout, BookSirens

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I totally understand, Will. I’m not sure if there is a “secret formula,” but if there is, I am confident you will find it. I just have to believe quality and persistence pay off eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was at a Literary conference a few years ago and an indie publisher said that the way to support writers and small publishers was to buy their books. I buy a lot of books, read them, and if I’ve enjoyed them, I seek out the author on Twitter and tell them how much I liked it. They usually retweet it and say how much reader’s praise means to them. I get a new follower or three. One day, when I have my own book to sell, I will have thousands of people to market to. In the meantime, they will have to make do with reading my free stories on my blog.
    Also at that conference, some writers were HORRIFIED that they were expected to have a social media presence and participate little and often.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right about the social media presence. It’s a new world for a lot of people who never used social media much and thought the same thing that worked 30 years ago will work today. Not so.
      It’s been tough for me to build up a Twitter following. You have to keep at it every day or people forget about you. Now that Honey Ko is published, I’m spending more time reading than in the past 5 years.

      Liked by 1 person

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