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Indie publishing is not dead, it's just getting started. What IS dead are the old social networking tactics of screaming "buy my book" at every corner of the internet. (Betcha didn't know the internet had corners, did ya?) It worked for a few people in the beginning, so a whole lot more started doing it. So of course it doesn't work any more.

I have a facebook page. I respond to posts when appropriate. I do the same thing via the discussions on my author page on Amazon. I do a free run on Xmas of each year of the first book in the series. That's all the marketing I've ever done. I write. I put out a new episode (around 80k-100k words) every 3 months. I had 135k sales at $2.99 over all Amazon markets in 2012. It's not about marketing, it's about finding your audience and delivering what they want to read, and then doing it again and again and again in a timely fashion. THAT business plan always works.
 

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Many Indie publishers who started out on Kindle boards have vanished. I don't think this is because they aren't selling. I believe many of them are still selling very well. I think they feel that they have learned all that they can from the boards and don't need them anymore or maybe they are too busy.

I'm flabbergasted at how many have disappeared. They may lurk a bit and don't comment. I don't think Indie publishing has run its course. It is getting harder to be noticed. I think some folks will still sell well and others won't. You need to keep learning and improving.
 

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P.A. Woodburn said:
Many Indie publishers who started out on Kindle boards have vanished. I don't think this is because they aren't selling. I believe many of them are still selling very well. I think they feel that they have learned all that they can from the boards and don't need them anymore or maybe they are too busy.

I'm flabbergasted at how many have disappeared.
Maybe they're on their yaughts. ;)

Did I spell that right? For some reason it's not a word I have cause to write very often! :D

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mmm i think its just getting more refined and really can only grow

as for reviews well they must do some good because we keep getting emails from Amazon saying a customer just told us your review was helpful to them while shopping on Amazon.  which makes us happy

Anthony
 

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heavycat said:
Are there any examples of authors who did not avail themselves of any outside marketing and only published book after book until they increased their sales to where they wanted them?
This is what happened to me. E-books weren't even my focus until a short story took off on Amazon. I wrote a few novels a year and concentrated on print sales until I noticed Wool gain its own momentum online. Only then did I drop what I was doing and throw logs on the fire.
 

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RobertJCrane said:
Marketing. Yes, I keep meaning to do that. Good advice from some big sellers on this page. And really, as has been mentioned many times up thread, building a fan base is what it takes to succeed in this business. That makes it just the same as it always has been. And it ain't easy.
Robert,

Your sales are really impressive. Has any type of marketing worked for you?

Folks, I'm just going to keep on keeping on. I'm not in it for the money per se (per se means I wouldn't kick and scream if I did start making money at this). I guess I'm just a dope. I enjoy writing more than I enjoy most things. It's either this or whittling ducks. I'm not going to sit around all the time watching television or playing video games.

And I know that at least a few benighted souls have bought and read my book. A result that would almost have been impossible to achieve without KDP.
 

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MegHarris said:
"Yacht." In my head I always pronounce it "yachit" so I can remember how to spell it. :D
LOL. I like it! Watch it, don't scratch my yachit! ;)

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Why is there such strong anti-marketing sentiment from some? You can easily market and still write more books, it's not like all of us have enough creative juices to fill up all our free time with quality writing... I mean, I doubt I'd have enough creativity to write more than the equivalent of say 3 new *good* novels a year (or maybe 2 novels and 15-20 shorts). Marketing doesn't have to mean shoving stuff down others' throats and can actually make people happy by getting stuff they'd like in front of them (see: Likes and positive reviews generated by... *gasp* marketing), what's with the attitude some seem to have that marketing is somehow evil and morally wrong ???

BTW, I agree with the sentiment I've heard that having a cover and blurb designed to attract readers qualifies as marketing - so is anyone planning to put out their books coverless and with a completely dry description of their story?
 

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And this is why I've stopped writing with 'making money to live off of it' in mind. I write because I enjoy it and I love to see my work in print. Of course, I love to share my work with others, but I realize that is a slow process, and I'm not going to stress over it anymore like I once had. Whether indie publishing is alive or dead, I don't care. As long as there's still a means for me to print my book on Createspace and ereaders, I will continue to do it until I've written all the stories I can possibly write in my lifetime.

Just to have a physical copy of my book in my hands feels like such a great accomplishment.

Sometimes I enjoy marketing, like going to book signings and cosplaying as characters from my books. I get to be as creative as I can and do what I like. Social media is a good starting point for marketing, but you shouldn't rely solely on that. You have to think outside the box.

The indie publishing market has gotten saturated with so many people submitting their works, some of them good, some of them bad. Many publish on the false pretense that they will get rich quick doing something so easy that 'requires little effort'. In this day in age, when most people are financially unstable, the global economy is still in a slump, one would see why that they might want to take on the self-publishing endeavor in hopes of getting some bills paid. Moreover, it's so frighteningly easy to publish a book with the push of a button that a child can do it.

I think there is going to come a time (if it hasn't already) when the author/reader ratio will be severely skewed -- there will be far more authors than readers out there (even though some authors are also readers), and there will just be far too many books for readers to choose from. I mean, just look at the number of free books out there.
 
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RM Prioleau said:
and there will just be far too many books for readers to choose from.
I don't think this will ever happen for the simple fact that the average reader won't ever hear of or notice 95% of the books that are published. I doubt most people spend hours every week on Amazon browsing through categories to find books they might like. I think they probably rely more on word of mouth from friends/people they know, glancing at bestseller/new release lists, and/or a favorite website or two. And maybe the also boughts and similar functions on sites. I mean, I know those are the ways I find new stuff...

At worst there might be more books no one reads, but I doubt readers themselves will ever be 'overloaded'.
 

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glutton said:
Why is there such strong anti-marketing sentiment from some?
That's a great question. I think a balance is in order. I have no idea what that balance is, however.

Different people have different strengths. And randomness and luck play a huge component in success and failure. The result of these two oft-ignored truths is that our results are variable, and that's not always because of things in our control or things that others could easily replicate. On top of this, we all like to think that the things we did resulted in our success. It creates a war of anecdotes that aren't very useful.

To the title of this thread: Indie publishing will have run its course when people stop reading. Simple as that. You can turn out a book on your own that is indistinguishable from those in bookstores. So the fate of this method of publication rests with the fate of all publication. And I don't see reading going away in our lifetimes.
 

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No matter how bad it gets, it will NEVER be as hard as it was five years. Except the one thing will hold true--the only writers I know who didn't make it are the ones who quit. The reality is that this gig has always sucked for the average writer. The trick is to not be average. Keep the faith.

 

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T. B. Crattie said:
Robert,
Your sales are really impressive. Has any type of marketing worked for you?
I've done very little of the traditional marketing type stuff, so I don't usually comment one way or another on its efficacy. I've seen people market and generate amazing results (Phoenix Sullivan, Lindsay Buroker, SM Reine, Joe Nobody and Liliana Hart come to mind) and I've seen other people throw themselves into it headfirst and have nothing happen. As with everything else, your mileage is as individual as each book.

For my marketing, I shouldn't say I do *none*. I do very low-resistance stuff, which is to say I have two novels that are perma-free that have been reviewed well by readers. As a result, my book Alone has been picked up once by ENT, once by Bookbub (I didn't pay them, they sent me an email saying they were featuring it because they had an open slot and would like me to consider them if I did paid advertising in the future) and then once by PoI. That said, most of my sales come from Amazon.uk where I have done NOTHING and yet my book Alone still sits in the Top 20 free, where it has sat for about the last eight to twelve weeks (except when they take it off permafree, the jackwagons) driving the sales of book 2, 3 and 4 in that series.

Other than that, the only thing I do is keep a mailing list that I send to when I have a new release (here's some helpful info on that: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,124433.0/). I think I've done two interviews (because they're the only two who have asked me) and the next guest blog post I do will be the first. The only strength (if any) I've got is that I write pretty fast, and I seem to be able to draw people along to the next book. For my career, it looks like the best thing I can do spend my time getting more books out the door; but again, that's what works for me.

Everyone's career is different, and I'm not sure I'd suggest anyone do what I do, because it looks like a recipe for sweet, sweet failure from the outside.
 

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Nooo! That's it? It's over? Aw, man! This reminds me of that time I drove across state because this store was advertising that the the first 100 customers would get a free Ginsu knife -- you know, one of the cool ones that cuts through beer cans and broomsticks. And I was next but they ran out. I had to stand there as the chipmonk-cheeked chick in front of me gave me that "Aww, so sorry. Sucks to be you" look. Of well, guess it's on to my next big idea, reusable toilet paper. It'll sell, I'm sure of it. Just think of all the money you flush down the toilet weekly that you could be pocketting. Just rinse and wring, and you're ready to go.  
 
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glutton said:
Why is there such strong anti-marketing sentiment from some?
It's not marketing I'm opposed to per se, so much as all of the indie promotion myths that are promulgated like gospel from people who really have no clue what works and what doesn't (which, in the end, is all of us).

There's plenty of marketing that, in my view, is good and necessary. Generally, it's the kind of stuff that you can do once and forget about. Getting a good cover, writing a good book blurb, keeping an email list to update fans on new work--these are all things that take relatively little time to set up on their own and keep working for you while you're writing other things. Social media and blogging can be great if it's something you already enjoy doing--so long as you don't let it take away from your writing time. But doing some kind of promotion technique because you feel you "have" to do it--as if it's some kind of moral obligation--that's just stupid.

As long as there have been books and writers, there have been publishing myths. Today, the myths are proliferating, and driving more and more writers to have unrealistic expectations or to waste their time on things that do nothing to advance their careers. There are so many opportunities right now, but with opportunity comes uncertainty, and with uncertainty comes fear. Fear drives these publishing myths, and that's why they make me angry. I refuse to be driven by fear.
 
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glutton said:
Why is there such strong anti-marketing sentiment from some?
Because most people think of marketing as acting like a used car salesman. It's sort of like the starving artist mystique. "Oh, I don't care about the money! It's all about my art!" *place back of hand to forehead in dramatic display of artistic angst.*

My never humble opinion is that the anti-marketing crowd falls into a few distinct groups:

The "Marketing is about placing ads, right?" people: Most people don't know the full scope of what marketing is. They recognize commercials and paid ads as marketing, but since they can't afford or can't practically use those options, they assume they can't market or don't need to market. These folks generally aren't really anti-marketing per se, they just don't see how their understanding of marketing relates to what they do. Or they don't understand that sometimes it can take a long time for a marketing plan to come to full fruition. Or they walked in with unrealistic expectations of how much they could sell to begin with, and there early marketing efforts fell short of those expectations. If you expect to sell 100,000 copies of your book, and you "only" sell 10,000, you feel the marketing "failed."

The professional marketer who "never" markets: This is the guy who claims he's never done ANY MARKETING EVER IN HIS LIFE and yet has done a few hundred guest blog posts, has a big Twitter following, sends out books to dozens of book reviewers, etc. These folks are amazing marketers, but for some reason either can't bring themselves to admit that they market or have internalized the starving artist belief that good books shouldn't need marketing and therefore they feel "dirty" being so good at marketing. Weirdest thing is that this is a group that is generally really good at the PR and promotion aspects of marketing, but for whatever reason don't want to acknowledge it.

The "I don't know how to do it, therefore it is useless" folks: We all know someone who doesn't read. In fact, we all know someone who not only does not read, but is almost PROUD of the fact that they don't read. They make us sad, because we all know how valuable and wonderful reading is, but they insist they don't need to read because they "have a real job" or some other lame excuse. In reality, most of these people are semi-literate or suffer from full adult illiteracy, but they are too proud to admit it so they go in the other direction and insist they don't need it. The same mentality is found in this group of anti-marketing people. They don't understand marketing, and instead of admitting to that lack of knowledge they instead go the opposite direction and insist that it isn't important.

The timid: They don't want to appear as being pushy. Or they are afraid of rejection. Or they are just too shy to actively go out there to promote themselves. They see marketing as a scary way of exposing themselves to rejection or failure. So they cling to the believe that they can just quietly upload their books to Amazon and, over time, people who will like them will find them and they won't have to be exposed to the "mean" people who won't. If you upload a book and nothing happens, you can tell yourself it will happen "eventually" if you just keep writing. If you spend two weeks marketing and nothing happens, you exposed yourself to tons of rejection.

The cheapskates: They don't want to spend money on ANYTHING. Not advertising. Not editing. Not book covers. These people are anti-editor, anti-anything that might cost them money.

The unique snowflakes: So what if there are over 300,000 trade published books released each year? So what if there are over a million digital books on Amazon right now? I AM UNIQUE! I am a happy little snowflake and eventually everyone will realize how wonderful I am by osmosis or whatever. They have no idea how competitive the industry is. Everyone else is beneath them. Only those authors "inferior" to them need marketing.

But no, indie publishing hasn't run it's course. The gold rush may have finally burst, and I'm fine with that. Self-publishing was not invented by Amazon. It existed before Amazon. And there have always been people who made money doing it. The real issue is simply that self-publishing has always been a double-edged sword. The good news is, anyone can do it. The bad news is, anyone can do it. The cost of entry is nominal and nobody will tell you "no." Imagine if the NFL allowed ANYONE off the street to show up at the stadium and play professionally? You'd have guys lined up by the thousands for a chance to suit up and get in the game. The majority of them would fail horribly (or get injured badly). A few who actually walked into the stadium knowing what to expect and who were prepared for it would actually surprise everyone and do well. And nobody would look at the majority of people who got injured. They would look at the one or two that succeeded and say "Hey! I can do that!"

So no, indie publishing hasn't run its course. It is simply that the flood of folks who jumped in thinking it was easy have realized that it is not. But it never was.
 

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Hugh Howey said:
That's a great question. I think a balance is in order. I have no idea what that balance is, however.
Personally I always wonder why there are so many marketing threads, but very little to do with writing. I mean actual writing skills, not just I wrote X number of books/short stories/flash.
 
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