One Man Marketing Band

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When you’re hustling to become the next big thing and you don’t have the budget of Brangelina’s landscape architect, you need to become a one man marketing band. This goes for independent authors, musicians, artists and actors. You need to get your name out there while trying to perfect your craft – usually with limited time and money. This will sometimes feel like mission impossible. Without Tom Cruise.

But it isn’t. There are too many examples to prove the opposite, too many entrepreneurs, independent musicians, authors and artist who have made it, largely on their own, thanks to three vital ingredients: quality of work, persistence and smarts.

It’s tough to be a one man marketing band. You need to work hard on building your platform, either through social media or just networking like hell in real life. You need to produce enough quality material to drive interest and you need to make sure people come back for more. You need to be an artist, agent, social media specialist, web conversion optimizer, designer, blogger, and much more – in one.

One way of being less lonely is obviously to get a little help from your friends. You probably know some talented designers, writers or marketing people who can give you advice and possibly even help you with some of the tasks you need. I know I can attribute some of my success with my books to Etienne Bugeja who designed the covers or to Lenah who read them over and over again and came with much needed feedback. You simply can’t do it all alone.

But it does give you a good start (and you’ll learn a LOT) to do some of the things yourself. Here are some of the things I do as a “one man marketing band”:

1. Use social media to build a base of readers. I mostly use Twitter and Facebook but also G+. I tweet and post using Hootsuite.
2. WordPress to create this blog. More about my tools here.
3. Design my covers using Pixelmator and Shutterstock (unless I get help).
4. Publish books through Kindle Select, Smashwords and iTunes.
5. Use Google Analytics to measure my readership.
6. Optimize my blog and landing pages with Optimizely.
7. Format my books with the help of Calibre.
8. Purchase ad space using sites like freebooksy.com, bookbub.com etc.
9. Send out books for review to sites and magazines.
10. Run Giveaways on Goodreads.
11. Post on forums and blogs to gain visibility.
12. More stuff I can’t think of right now.

And when I don’t do all those things, I write.

 

A/B-Testing Book Covers

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Here you have two covers of the same novel, my Hollywood love story called Hollywood Ass.

Despite positive reviews and feedback, it hasn’t really taken off in sales, the way The Wake-Up Call did, so I decided to put my online marketing cap on (an indie author is really like a  one marketing man band) and A/B-test two different book covers.

Since Amazon doesn’t allow you to see traffic to your book page or any kind of conversion figures, everything boils down to sales and setting up short links to bit.ly – but I hope I can still see a positive or negative pattern and be able to compare the two.

The funny thing is that as an independent author, one of the perks is that you don’t have to compromise with your publisher’s wishes. You are your publisher, marketing machine, agent etc. But you’re obviously still a slave to sales. Because if nobody is downloading/reading your book, what’s the point of it?

So you fiddle around with different things like book covers, descriptions, blurbs, reviews. You buy media space on different sites and networks. You stay active on Goodreads, you take an outrageously attractive author photo, and you hope to see your numbers spike.

We have to use the weapons given to us. That’s the name of the game.

And the weapon I’m using right now is A/B-testing book covers. But while I wait for the results I would love if you could comment on this blog on which one you prefer. Book cover 1 (original to the left) or 2?

Thanks for your help and have a nice weekend.