I've been in the self publishing industry a good couple of years now and one concept that's always baffled me is the issue of marketing.
When I published my first book, marketing it was all I could think about and I consequently felt overwhelmed by the contradicting plethora of advice on the internet. I spent months and months and months reading so much information and when I put it to practise none of it seemed to work.
So then I changed my tactic. Instead of spending my time doing all these marketing efforts with no real results, I started to follow writers like J.A. Konrath and Bob Mayer who have been in this industry for decades to see what advice they could give.
And they said one pivotal thing: no matter what you write and who you write for, the best marketing technique is to write another book.
When I read that advice it felt like a huge cloud had been lifted. Finally something I could do and I know I could do well and that is to write my next book. It sounded so simple.
Now four years on I have just finished my third book and for the last several years, I've always promised to put my writing first over any aspect of marketing. I really do believe that Amazon and other retailers have so much control over how our books sell than we'd like to think. I spend time in the Kindleboards writers' forum to hear other authors mention the direct impact Amazon's algorithms have had on their sales. No matter how much marketing they do sales seemed to be stuck at a certain number.
So many writers spend so much time trying different marketing techniques trying to keep up with these pesky algorithms. But not many of these writers can measure the effects of their marketing efforts with much success. Even writers like J.A. Konrath say that when they spend time promoting sales results often aren't instant. It can take weeks if not months for promotion to have any effect and I think that this is what makes it so difficult to have an accurate measure for these results.
One thing I'm not knocking is paid advertising. However, I still have to try that but I've spoken to many writers who have said that this method has had spectacular results for them. Maybe because it's paid - I don't know. But one thing I do know is this. Self publishing has become so popular these days anyone can put their rubbish out there and it takes a lot for any book to become visible.