To market, to market to fetch my dog a bone

by Sarah Tun

An age old nursery rhyme goes, “To market, to market to buy a fat pig.”

Funny, I remember it as an engagement to get a bone.… In any case, it is a rhyme to celebrate the age old action of going into a village from your isolated country farm to sell your wares and buy or trade for what you need.

Enter the twenty-first century when we have the internet and independent-publishing professional- (as opposed to vanity) style publishing.

Even some big-wigs like Stephen King are indie-publishing now. But authors who are well established have the upper hand over those of us who are relative unknowns. They have their brand and they have their audience already established.

So, how do we decide between traditional and indie-publishing? If you indie-publish, you get all the income as opposed to receiving a percentage of the royalties with the rest going to agent and/or publisher. It sounds like a no-brainer then, to indie- publish.

On the other hand, if you trade publish, you give them a portion of your income and they handle the details, right? Including marketing, right?

Not so. Whether trade or indie-published the marketing, in significant if not total measure, lands with the author nowadays, regardless the route you travel to get the book published.

I’ve become a bit cynical about marketing, now that I understand a tiny bit about it. The marketing itself doesn’t cause me to be cynical. But the internet with its expert on this and expert on that has brought me to a place where I simply do not believe so many people (especially those who are under thirty) are truly an expert on anything… or very nearly so.

I’ve seen so many webinars about “how to be the expert” or “how to market” that since I’m quite certain I have limited expertise, it makes me think almost everyone else tooting their horn is an expert more in their own ambitious eyes than in fact.

So how do I learn about marketing in order to find my readership? Tom helps, a lot.

The thing about Authors Community which is quite unique (and yes this is a bit of preaching to the converted) is that our CEO is a mature gentleman of years of experience, and he just wants to download what he knows about marketing so that others can run with it; authors can share their GOD-given books to the world and get the messages out that  GOD has for us to share.

As to marketing: Yes, if we have to do it, then we might as well bite that bullet and discover how to do it in a friendly environment, and in a way that does not roll so fast we fall down trying to keep up. For me, that’s what AC offers: practical help at a pace I can manage and with sound advice that works for very little cash. At AC we’re here to help, far more than to make a buck (though we do have to eat!), and we believe if someone has a story to tell, they should tell it well and get it in front of as many eyes as possible. Enter the AC bundle.

As to whether we go to market for a bone, a pig or a published product, we have to make the journey to the sales barn. So, let’s get on the cart (as opposed to the proverbial internet band wagon), take our time to do an excellent job doing it properly, while simultaneously learning the other essential of how to get our books in front of the eyes that need to see it.

That’s just my practical thinking. What do you make of taking your own book “to market”?

Sarah Tun is an author, developmental editor as well as a professional voice for voice overs and narrations.

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16 thoughts on “To market, to market to fetch my dog a bone”

  1. To use another analogy, I find the choice of fish pond very important. Local libraries are teeming with hungry fish, while I’ve had scarcely a nibble at farmers’ markets, where food and crafts rule.

    1. Libraries may not pay us each time our book is read, but our Books, when in Libraries, are available to thousands. And isn’t the reason we write to be read? Thanks for mentioning that avenue, Margaret. Such an important opportunity.

  2. I totally agree. If authors are to write AND market why not get the lion’s share if the profit pie? My first ten books were published traditionally (1999-2014), the last house, a top five (Simon & Schuster), assigned me a “publicist” who did nothing to promote my title that I’d already done 10x over. The next book, I went Indie in the fall of 2014. I cannot imagine ever signing away another of my stories to a traditional house.

    The details scare people, but formatting, finding a cover designer, uploading to Amazon . . . it’s all SO EASY. I’ve taught/helped hundreds of authors learn what I learned. I’ve published 35 titles since the fall of 2014 and made TEN TIMES in the last almost 5 years than in the first ten years with traditional publishers.
    Do you know how long it would’ve taken a trad house to publish 35 titles?

    Help with marketing is out there, but so are a lot of those “experts” who will take your money and not do what you think they’re going to. Beware and ask for many references 🙂

    Still . . . I’ll never go back! I’m way to happy as a hybrid, Indie publishing!

    1. Caryl, that seems to be the consensus of almost all of the traditionally published authors who have crossed over to the bright side of indie publishing 🙂

      Indeed, the details scare people, but it isn’t mountain climbing to produce a great product when you have a team of professionals like editors, artists, and marketing specialists who will hold your hand through the entire process. We here at Authors Community don’t promise best sellers. We do promise to help anyone that can tell a story well to have a beautiful, professionally produced book to indie publish.

      The key for newbie authors is to build a network/platform to help with the process of selling books. Why go it alone?

  3. I took the plunge about 2 years ago and completely revamped my paperback book (and e-book) with a new cover and new interior design and layout. I now have it being printed with Create Space as a POD book, as well as on Amazon Kindle as an ebook . I also have it in other e-formats on Smashwords.

    I have recently lost my Mom (I was the major caregiver after my Dad passed away), and I also do small business accounting part-time. As with many first time authors, my time is limited. So, I decided to do some targeted advertising on various blogs and websites through MediaVine. It is a pay-per-click program – but I can control which sites to advertise on. So far they have adjusted the sites I appear on based on performance and overall match with my potential audience.

    Yes – there are many great books and experts out there. One great organization I am a member of is CIPA (Christian Independent Publishers Assoc) – formerly CSPA. There are many resources and experts available to help an author, and they are well represented at Trade Shows that feature Christian authors.

    Since my book is targeted towards women – I chose to place my latest small ad on blogs and websites geared towards women and Christian sites. We will see how it goes for the short term. Facebook and Twitter help some – but I know in a vast sea of books, the indie-published author is but another small dingy in an ocean of reading material…

    1. It seems a long, slow road to revamp an existing book but actually it isn’t is it? It is like clean linen: wonderful, fresh, good as new!
      All the best for your latest book, Deborah.
      God bless.

  4. As a bestselling writer of both fiction and non-fiction, I have found that by-and-large you’re better off with a major publisher than doing it yourself. But if you have no choice about it, there are tried and tested ways of helping yourself. I am doing exactly this right now with a new fantasy novel, The Twins of Moon.

    First step is the quality of the book, which involved top quality writing, professional editing, and professional production. The writing quality I assume you have as a writer. But you really do need a good copy-editor, to rid it of the numerous daft pecadillos we all have and the production — conversion to print quality pdf — and printing — using a good quality small press printer — you really do need to make use of. I have found an American on-line outfint, Word-2-Kindle, excellent and cheap enough for anybody to use in preparing a high quality kindle. They are also offering a typesetting service for the preparation of the pdfs for paperback printing. I have used them several times for the kindle and am now using them for the typesetting for paperback production.

    If folks out there are interested, I can give you some advice, based on twenty odd years of experience of writing and publishing, on marketing.

    Watch this space!

    I already have a bestselling track record in fantasy on amazon.co.uk. and have a number of readers in the US, Canada and Australia. The biggest market is obviously the US. So I am focusing on the US fantasy readers’ market with the kindle – which is now just out there – and the paperback, which is about to emerge. I have already done a Booksy ad and Goodreads giveaway on the kindle. My next focus will be on the paperback, where I plan to focus on getting reviews. This will be published by my own small press publisher, Swift Publishers, which has a track record of producing four different bestsellers. I reckon the marketing campaign will last at least three months and will cost me roughly £1,500, which is more like $2,000 in US currency. My sole aim, at this stage, is by hook or by crook to get as many readers as possible.

    1. So important to start with the end you want. You’re well-experienced and organised. Thanks for sharing your corner of experience. It’s great to have you as part of AC, Frank.

  5. Thanks for your blog that seems to have a timely message for me. The idea of marketing your book can be overwhelming and it’s good to know there are practical avenues to explore! The book I’m writing is nearly complete, and I’m excited to pursue marketing approaches.

    1. Congratulations, Frank 🙂 Do you have any statistics that you can share with us comparing your results between traditional and indie publishing? That would be very interesting to see.

    1. That is so true, Jann! Why pay someone else when you can learn how to do marketing and promoting yourself? Tom’s classes take you from changing your mindset of “I hate marketing!” to “Well, this isn’t hard to do at all!”

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