Let’s face it, there’s too many types of social media applications, and software subscriptions, and email providers, and landing pages and funnel pages and squeeze pages and ad nauseum, to learn how to use all of them. Trying to find our way through the business of Internet marketing is a minefield, and we’re wary and insecure. Not only that, we don’t’ have time to learn all that stuff, especially since something new is bound to replace it soon.

So, what is the best way to market books?

ca. 1602 — The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino — Image by © Alinari Archives/CORBIS

Hint: the route does not involve waiting for the Magical Unicorn.

See, that’s exactly what I did when I decided to become an indie author.  I waited for the Magical Unicorn to gallop into my life and lift my books to best-selling status.

I waited.

And I waited. And I waited.

While I waited the first year, I misused social media. It wasn’t good. I was bossy and disorganized, constantly posting about “MY NEW BOOK!” and aggravating my friends and followers, although it did bring in monthly sales of around $500. For only having a couple of novels published, it seemed like the beginning of something good.

When I took time off from social media, sales dropped. And you know what happened then, don’t you? I dropped into a deep, dark, social media hole, because I didn’t know what to do, but I did know what I didn’t want to do. Does that make sense?

If you’re a writer, then you’ve experienced the barriers that we refuse to tear down because we dread marketing.

It’s not in us to be “salesy.” We want to write and let the Magical Unicorn do the rest.

Unfortunately, the Magical Unicorn isn’t going to do the book marketing and promotion for me. I had to take control and push myself into a logical, organized way of thinking. I had to teach myself how to market my books. I

n the past, with my nonfiction history books, the traditional publishers took care of the business-side of publishing. I was content to sit back and let the royalties roll in (well, not that much in royalties).

But once I decided to self publish, there was no book editor to tidy my prose. No graphic designer to create my cover. The marketing department wasn’t there to promote and sale, calling upon booksellers with cartons of freshly published books. The publicist wasn’t sending press releases to the media on my behalf, and the film rights weren’t being negotiated.

When I decided to become independent, the decision included taking on the role of a publishing house, and parceling out tasks to trusty partners like Amazon and iTunes, and the myriad other companies I hired to help me create a book. But behind it all, I’m the one in charge and I’m the one responsible for pushing the buttons.

I’m the Magical Unicorn, whether I like it or not.

I know I have to market my books, but what’s the best way to do it? I’m glad you asked. I’m still working on the solution, but it involves learning as much as I can about marketing, about reaching an audience like you, and being authentic and interesting. If you’re still here, reading this article, then I’ve accomplished three of the four goals.

Like you, I’m still learning.

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