Should an Indie Author have a Marketing Plan?

Seems like every writer’s conference I attend or blog by an “apparent authority on self-publishing” that I read encourages a newly published author to have a marketing plan. Everything they propose sounds great – like doing a book tour, submitting for book reviews, sending out press releases to a media list, having a book trailer, reaching out to local book clubs, seeking bookstore placement, offering special discounts through online book sellers, or even giving away copies. The ideas are as numerous and tempting as Halloween candy assortments.

On paper, a marketing plan can look great. Implementing it becomes a matter of hard reality. Like how much are you willing to spend up front? What can you expect in sales? What are the time commitments? One has to consider the very same outcome as a publishing house – can you recover your expenses and make a profit? I’ve dabbled in a number of approaches to market my work. For the most part, they have been “learning experiences” and have educated me as to the business aspects of being an author.

When I know I have produced a truly compelling and breakout novel, I’ll sharpen my pencil and look at a marketing plan from a clearer perspective. See where to focus my effort and which way the profit needle might swing. Maybe I’ll just find an agent and go the traditional publishing route. Then again, would it be any different than self-publishing? Those same experts are quick to tell you that marketing is at least fifty percent of what an author does these days.

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