Because of the Internet, there are a lot of indie options these days for businesses of all types. If you’re an author, you have a much wider array of self-publishing options than just vanity presses of days gone by. If you are a crafter, Etsy gives you a much wider audience 24/7 than the seasonal craft fairs from days past. Garage sales and consignment shops are second now to eBayand Craig’s List.
These services have a modest fee and might offer a few perks here and there. If you weren’t choosing to do it independently, there would be more fees you’d be paying shrouded in a higher price point. One of the things that would be covered in those fees is marketing. Depending on your product, that could mean advertising or other promotions, merchandising and display, and possibly a social media push for your product. These are the elements that often get overlooked by the indie sales person who wants to cutout the middleman. The truth is, that middleman is offering valuable services for their fees.
If you are going it alone, are you implementing a marketing plan of some sort? To promote anything effectively on your own requires a balance of time and money. If you have a lot of both, then you’re golden! Chances are, you don’t. Likely, you are struggling for both or the DIY route would not have seemed so valuable to you.
If you have the money, definitely consider hiring someone to help you. If you don’t have the money, then you definitely need to spend more time. Don’t let that overwhelm you. It starts with a plan, even just a part of a plan to get you going.
I recently met a self-published author who uses Amazon’s publishing program. Looking at where his books come up on search listings, it appears that Amazon is definitely helping him out with SEO to pump-up the pre-sales of his next book. However, this author has dropped the ball in all other areas of marketing.
Here is the bare minimum that I would suggest for a self-published author, or really anyone trying to sell their wares independently on the Internet:
- Twitter Profile updated regularly
- Facebook fan page – just a personal page where people have to request to be your friend is not enough
- Blog – with entries related to your product, not just photos of your product
Ideally, you would want to also add:
- Presence on at least one more social media platform – YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.
- Email campaigns to create buzz around new books/products
Simply put, if you are not willing to pay for these things, you have to do it yourself. Don’t go halfway under the delusion that you are saving time and money. Your products, whether they are art, books, or collector’s items, are worth selling therefore they are worth promoting.