How to market on a shoestring budget

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for a column and wanted to share some of my insight to help future authors. This industry, the book publishing industry is a challenging one. It is chock full of pitted roads and sharp turns and navigating those streets are not easy.

But as a fellow author, one of my joys is sharing what I’ve learned with others. I want to see us ALL succeed! We ALL are following our dreams, why would I consider anyone a competitor when each one of our stories is different!

Here’s another question answered. I truly hopes it helps!

Q. Since marketing free books on grossly overpriced sites like Bookbub are not cost-effective for international authors, given the exchange rate, what form of advertising would you recommend for an indie author on a shoestring budget?

A. Most indie authors ARE on a shoestring budget. We write to escape reality. We publish to help others escape their realities. And we pray that escape for them will pay for a REAL escape from our minimalist lives of work and bills, repeat and drink. BUT until those sales help to pay the bills, there’s no rainy day fund set aside for advertising. That is the catch 22. Without advertising money you can’t market and sell your book. Without book sales you can’t pay for advertising. That is where publicity comes into play.

Now if you think, marketing, publicity and advertising are all the same – you need to do a little research and familiarize yourself on how to run a business.

Marketing refers to the process of preparing your product for the marketplace. It involves understanding who your potential customers are and what they want to get from your product or service. Marketing is the design elements which help to align the image of your product with the interests of your target audience. It is marketing that defines your brand and attracts the market share you want.

Advertising is the process of making your product known to the marketplace. It is a paid promotion spreading the word about what your product has to offer. While marketing is the way in which you convince potential buyers that you have the right product for them, advertising is how you communicate to them the existence of that product.

Publicity is the promotion and management of that product. It is the process of creating news through social media, shows and exhibitions, organizing book tours and speaking engagements, and other activities that keep the product or the author in the public’s attention. It is usually free, or requires limited budget, but DOES require time and effort.

Without all three your job is going to be tough but it is not impossible. There ARE ways to inexpensively advertise – however you MUST take into account that EVERYONE else is doing that too so your success is depending on your marketing and publicity to help you stand out from the crowd.

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