How To Position Your Self and Your Stories More Effectively
In this post, we'll be discussing the largest vacuum of a self-pubslihed writer's life - marketing.
We'll discuss the stories already released on Amazon, the promotions in place and what the strategy moving forward is.
It's one of the most difficult aspects that any creative or productive person has. It's a challenge to produce the story, art, song or merchandise, but then getting it out into the world is an even bigger struggle.
In this post, we'll focus on a strategy that I've read about many times over from some well regarded brains in the self-publishing sphere. Some of these ideas are directly from the guys at Self-Publishing Podcast
and Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn
Basically they claim that you need to build a larger and larger catalog to help your overall promotion strategy and later on in this post we'll discuss how that works in greater detail.
It's Not The Story That's Most Difficult
Obviously getting the story-draft written down presents a huge problem, even for the most accomplished writer, getting started can be overwhelming.
|The Dangers Of The Blank Page|
Staring at a blank page is just a daunting, scary task. If it wasn't that scary, more people would write!
As I already said for any writer getting started is one large hurdle. Like ten-feet high type of hurdle.
Then you have to find cover art, where to get the stories to readers and ways to promote them.
It's been said that for a self-pubslihed writer, it's 20% writing and 80% promotion.
My Short Story Updates
On Amazon I've a few stories available through Kindle Publishing
in their store right now.
My strategy is and has been, to promote one for a month as I release more stories, then promote another one while working on new manuscripts. Right now on Amazon there is two stand-alone stories, "The Ballad of John Walker" and "It's Not The Things We Say". Also, there's a collection of more humorous, fun stories under the collection "Mayonnaise and Other Stories".
Some of you know about my short story "The Ballad of John Walker." Published mid-June 2015, the story has gained some traction in the last month and could stand to gain a little more in the coming months.
The Ballad of John Walker - get your digital copy by clicking the picture!
What you don't know is I owe you all a full-hearted thank you for helping get it moving on up in Kindle Short Reads for Suspense and Thrillers. That's awesome and helps a ton!
For those of you that don't know about it, it's a short read that examines the dangers of living in a society ruled by surveillance and paranoia.
Another title that's out takes a more fun approach. A more humorous take, "Mayonnaise and Other Stories
" is a mostly made up account of living in the world today. From the eyes of a ambitious child hell-bent on getting a pack of gum; to the power of OCD and the irony of judgement; to the follies of a delusional teen athlete.
And just released there is the short story, "It's Not The Things We Say
". An intense look at the power that miscommunication can take within a relationship. Whether its a child and parent, a boyfriend and girlfriend or any schism between loved ones, often it's not what we say as much as how we listen to each other.
So to wrap up, that's three short stories on Amazon that've been published to date. The promotional efforts so far have been dedicated to the first short story, The Ballad of John Walker
and it's been pretty labor intensive thus far.
Places it's been promoted so far:
- This blog
- Amazon's Kindle Publishing marketplace
- Facebook, including Facebook ads (not a great R.O.I. and Facebook Groups)
- Google Plus Communities
- Daily Free Ebooks (yes, even though it's $0.99, it can still be listed on directories such as DFE)
- Good Reads
- Just Kindle Books (A small price to publish and promote)
- KUFADS - a British based ebook promotion service (a small price for a week's promotion)
So far the results have been a trickle but with a first book, a short fiction piece no-less, it's not to be a huge seller, but a starting point for a broader platform.
Moving forward, there will be lighter promotions on this story and more attention pushed to the "Mayonnaise" collection and "It's Not The Things We Say".
Gaining Momentum Is Hard, Maintaining Momentum Can Be Just As Hard
Why Newton Got It Wrong
Newton claimed that an object in motion tended to stay in motion unless some external force was applied to stop it. Well that may be true for objects, but for most writers, once you get going, you reach a point where stopping is dangerously seductive - and the restart is almost impossible.
After writing a story, the last thing I want to do is sit down and begin the editing process, much less begin a new story.
I'm fairly certain that's true for any artist or producer. Build something, spend all that energy and emotion to create something and you're spent. There's limits to the process.
Athletes are the same way. There's only so much energy they have to spend. That's why the build up their stamina over time and train in specific, detailed tasks to increase their endurance and improve stamina.
One technique to do this is called the Pomodoro Technique and I've written about how to utilize it to increase your productivity in a former post you can read HERE
How does that work with marketing you wonder? Well there's plenty of evidence that the more titles you publish, the easier it is for people, and fans, to find you.
What that means is that while it's no fun to turn around and work on the next story, or the next idea, it's critical for you to help build an audience.
Think about you favorite band.
Chances are, if they've been around for a while they have a number of songs and records out there. They may be official releases, bootlegs, any thing that keeps you engaged and interested. If they don't have material to release, they tour, play live shows to keep them in your minds.
With that in mind, I have three, potentially four more stories to release between here and September.
There's a working title that I'm working on through Wattpad, an online forum for authors and hope to garner some keen insights about the story while it's on that platform.
It's still an early draft, but you can see it on Wattpad under the working title "A Fine Day For A Swim".
Get the early draft "A Fine Day For A Swim" on Wattpad by clicking the link above.
The Goal Is To Get To The Finish Line In One Piece
This whole process is about writing a number of short stories to build a platform for something I'm working on next. It will be a departure from the short story line I've been working on right now and one that still needs to be more fully developed, but this whole process has been to build a platform to move forward from.
I'll be releasing "A Fine Day For A Swim" in mid-August. With its release there's an accompanying story "The Palm" that will be included with either another story in production or as a potential stand-alone story as well.
Finally there's two other stories that are being fleshed out right now. One is under the working title "Shooter" and the other is without a title but would be the longest story included in the summer release calendar.
The Future Is Unwritten
So the final tally is two stand-alone short stories and 1 collection of stories already released with promotion being focused on just the first one so far. That first story being "The Ballad of john Walker", with "It's Not The Things We Say" being the other stand-alone. "Mayonnaise and Other Stories" being the collection, with all three of them being available on the Amazon platform for the next 90 days in exclusivity, after which they'll be placed on a couple other ebook platforms and promoted in different ways.
"A Fine Day For A Swim" is next in the pipeline for release, and will be available in about a month, after some tweaks and edits.
It's sister story, "The Palm" will be released at the same time and will be either a stand-alone story, or included with "Shooter", depending on how things are shaping up at that time.
The last two stories in the plan will will out a couple weeks to a month after "A Fine Day For A Swim", placing the overall short story count at 6 to 7 stories.
Once that's over with, the gears are switching to a new program, and I'll be discussing that down the road after it's more fleshed out with a more clear strategy and timeline.
In conclusion, the heading to this section of the post is about the marketing strategy, or any strategy you set in to motion.
One of my favorite song writers was Joe Strummer, lead singer and writer for the seminal British Punk band - The Clash.
Along with songs that dealt with changing the political spectrum for the betterment of the working class, he wrote anthemic lines like "Let Fury Have The Hour, Anger Can Be Power, If You Know How To Use It".
But one of his greatest sayings was "The Future Is Unwritten".
Just the promise and hope in that line is enough for me to believe in the optimism in tomorrow. And while 80% of my time is devoted to marketing short stories that, in and of themselves, are difficult to promote and sell, this line reminds me that tomorrow is a new day.
And that philosophy goes toward your marketing campaign as well. Get your stuff out there and don't be afraid to make changes.
If something is working, go all in. If something isn't working, then change tactics and direction. And keep building up your catalog. The more you do, the greater chance it can catch on with your audience.
You never know about tomorrow, the future is unwritten.