Ah… advertising. What a hideous beast of fallibility that eats nothing but money and occasionally defecates a spike in sales. How on earth are you supposed to wrangle such a creature?

Honestly, take tentative steps until you find something that works for you.

I’ve spoken before about the basics of advertising but it never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t do these things. Start there because it helps prepare you for the next phase, where you will need to start paying a bit more, and this is where it can really hurt your wallet but also your expectations. It can be a daunting task when you’re self publishing so I recommend a quick stop here to ascertain if its for you.

Are we good? You’ve got a grasp on the fundamentals. Now what?

After all the other fees associated with publishing a good book, the forefront of which is usually editing for those of us self publishing, (and no less important), it’s a bit of an ask to then state; pay MORE money.

… except you don’t always have to. There are sites out there that will advertise your books for free, provided the books are free. I am not listing them here because there are many, and they are very genre specific. Instead I’ll stick to paid sources for the time being.

  1. Where you can advertise

The source, the actual link, the places where most bloggers hint at concrete links and then… poof. Nothing.

If you google “advertising ebook” you come up with a hundred thousand million trillion sites offering to advertise your book to thousands of social media follows that consistently begs the question; “is it worth it?”

You have to figure that out for yourself but here are the ones I’ve used in the past with mixed success;

Butterfly Books – I did not feel like I got my money’s worth here, but I got a deal based on a few recommendations from fellow self publishers.

Fussy Librarian – The last time I used them was a couple of years ago but I plan to use them again because it was very good.

Ask David – Very good last time, but its changed a bit since I last used it.

Books Go Social – I cannot recommend these guys enough, they have a variety of advertising options, including NetGalley deals which is a GREAT way to start getting reviews. They have a range of packages and a very professional attitude.

SOOP – I’ve had mixed success with these guys in the past.

Bookbub – I haven’t done one of these yet, and I do plan to, but they are VERY pricey. The consensus is that they are worth it but after you have a stack of reviews on your book.

Facebook Ads – Mixed success. For my first books series for fantasy/steampunk I did fine, but for a recent ad series for QoS it was very… meh.

Amazon Ads – I have yet to do this, but I seriously recommend you take some of the many free courses floating around on how to do it because with all Amazons little rules it can trip you up, and its done it to me in the past too.

Using these services usually requires discounted or free books but it’s a good way to get the numbers up on your sales, and also to see if you can’t get some reviews too. Many sites will demand you have reviews a well – and to a certain level of quality too. This can be hard but finding people to review your work isn’t impossible.

2. Other sources

I’ve waxed on about the Alliance of Independent Authors being a damn amazing place, but they have a book of resources that speak for themselves, not just on how to find advertisers, but how to find EVERYTHING you need to self publish;

This book is absolute chock full of really good resources I have trusted and used before, and they’re held up to the standards of ALLI meaning you know you can trust them too. If anything goes astray its worth telling ALLI about it as well.

3. Patience – and a book every six months

Damn – after those other two points was this supposed to be the miracle one, isn’t it??

Well it fucking is, and this is how many of the authors swanning around twitter will tell you they can write full time. Its how many erotic authors do the same thing. They write a niche, they release regularly, they keep feeding the voracious appetites of their readers.

See, there is a broad and wide chasm of writing styles and tone. No, I’m not talking about editing which fixes words, or dev editing which fixes plots. Just regular writing.

You have quite a indepth series of prose on a book about a woman finding herself in an emotional journey of self healing after the death of her spouse. It can be deep. Intense. Soul searching and heart wrenching.

But on the flip side you have your light romances, your bodice rippers as my mother calls them, but I’ll stick in my own generations obsession with paranormal romance. I’m not there to be dragged into epic prose. I’m there for witty banter, high stakes and hot couples.

In fantasy you can have epic sweeping tales that go into lavish detail of world building, landscape, history, tone and feeling.

…or you could just pick up a Terry Pratchett and laugh yourself sick while learning a deep lesson.

The tone of books is about WHAT you want to write, which is vastly different from person to person. You certainly do not have to write and publish a book every six months if you don’t want to. Even a year works for many people. But that’s still a long time to make it a full time career.

You need to decide what you want to get out of it, first and foremost. And the only person who can decide that is you.

The only advice I can give you is this – don’t put in more than you can afford. Time, money, energy, slivers of your soul. Ask yourself what giving them away to the void is going to cost you before you let go. Because there are no guarantees in this industry, no magic bullet, special sword, or potential potion you can take. There is just the ever present hope that someone enjoys the tales you tell.