First, if you’re an indie author in the first five or ten years of your career (as I am), put everything you make off the sales of your books back into your books, into advertising, critical reviews, better and better book covers. Using any of this so-called “profit” at this early stage is like expecting your newborn to chop the winter’s firewood. Your book/s will need all the money it/they can get, and then some.
Second, the internet used to be called the “World Wide Web.” Make your presence on the internet a web. Put your name and the name of your book in every location you possibly can, and, if possible, link it with similar works by more well-known authors. Put your name and novel(s) on LinkedIn, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, Google+, Ello, Niume, Pinterest (I could go on) … Make it easy for Google to find references to you. And register with Google. Get your own website, too. Join blogs and forums.
Third, don’t turn up your nose at Facebook. It’s given me the best bang for the buck over the past four years. And explore/join its many author and genre-related groups. You’ll make some friends, get some great – free! – advice and learn about your competition.
Speaking of which, fourth, join a competition. Don’t be shy. If you can write, it’ll show. If you can’t, you’ll learn. If you’re going to put your book out there for people to buy, you should have some confidence in it. Enter that contest! The worst thing that can happen is you’ll get bounced and everyone will forget you ever entered. But if you win…
Fifth, of course you must read other writers in your chosen genre. Learn from their choices. Think about what works and what doesn’t. But also read unrelated books. Find out what makes any sort of book readable or unreadable.
Sixth, be friendly with and supportive of other writers. I mentioned competition and competitions above, and I fully subscribe to what I’ve written. At the same time, I don’t believe I’m in specific competition with any particular writer or group of writers. My mission is to become the best me, to tell my best stories, in the best way I can. If I can do that, I do believe success will follow…eventually.
Seven, be patient. I have read that is it an author’s body of work and not a single work that sells. Understand that. Realize that you must have several books out there before you become recognized – unless your first book is a phenomenon, like Ready Player One. But even that sets a daunting precedent. Look at the guy’s second book and its reviews, and you’ll see what I mean. Sometimes, early success can set the bar too high.
Eight, be yourself. Some of my early reviews sound too author-y, as if I felt I had to prove I was legitimate. Screw that! Be yourself! Be your wonderful, weird, quirky self. I’ve been doing that more and more of late, and, if nothing else, it’s fun for me!
Best of luck, and feel free to email me with questions!