Where oh Where has my Marketing Gone Where oh Where can it be?

It has almost been one month since Highway to Hell hit the shelves, and as of yet I am still to get together a marketing scheme for it. I send out the odd tweet or Facebook link, but that it is about it. For the rest, my plans have kind of stalled. This is not through choice, or because I don’t want to sell books, but rather for a number of reasons that I am sure every writer can relate to.

I have no money to invest in a marketing campaign, I cannot pay for any advertising, and it would seem that every book reviewer I look to approach is either only accepting hard-copy, which I cannot afford to send out – and don’t currently have –  or are closed to submissions. I have searched around, and sent out press releases like a mad man in the first week, but never heard anything back, so the level of their success is unknown.

Another thing that holds me back is that I just don’t know what I am doing. I get overwhelmed by the whole marketing concept. I just don’t know what to do, or how to sell myself. This is something that I have to work on as I am sure all writers do, but once again, as with so many things, it comes down to time and money. Every internet search I run tell the same things, plus the majority are written with the focus being on a non-fiction book.

Everybody seems to be lyrical about the power of Facebook and Twitter when it comes to selling books, but me, I don’t see it. I have as good as stopped using twitter because the only thing you see is a constant stream of self promotion. The number of conversations you see has drastically decreased over the last 12 months and I don’t like it.

Living in a Non-English speaking country, and a small coastal town to boot, I have lost a lot of personal promotional opportunities. No interviews or paper articles, etc. will help because there is no real gain there. OK, maybe in the big cities like The Hague or Amsterdam, but I don’t have the money to pay for the gas or train to get me there in the weekend to do anything like that.

Blog tours are another thing, and while I have sent out several requests, the response was less than great, however, that being said, I had a run of guest posts a week or so ago, appearing on ‘foreign’ ground I think it was seven days in a row. What was the net gain from this?


I gained no new blog followers, and didn’t sell a single copy of my book. I haven’t sold a copy – as far as I can tell from Amazon rankings – in over two weeks. Am I doing everything possible to sell books? No. Am I doing everything within my means in terms of knowledge, time and budget? Pretty much.


Why we head back to the drawing board, and come up with a new approach.


I only have one published title out there, that isn’t much. I have the second Highway novel schedule for a June release, and if the wonderful people at MayDecember like the short stories I have sent them, I hope to have 3 eBooks and one collective eBook and Paperback set of short stories coming out around August time. However, that is still not enough.

More titles means more exposure. One fan likes a story, searches and tries something else. This is far easier to accomplish with more than one title available. So, here is my plan.

Novellas! I am in the middle of writing a 9 novella zombie series, that looks not at the zombies themselves but where they came from, what caused it. Each novella looks at a different survivors perspective as they are flying – being evacuated – away from the UK and to the ‘safety’  of the mainland.

Each novella will be around 11,000 words and will answer some questions, and pose ones that will be answered by the following character. In the end, all of the answers, will pull together to form the central answer to the question of How, When, Where and Why, the dead rose. The twist, there is always a twist, will come through in the final installment. That I will not even hint at.

The plan is to write and release these as soon as possible. I am writing one a week at the moment, and keeping my wonderful editor very busy. The cover art for all nine is done, and ready to be used.

I also have another 6 novella set that will see Robin Hood in a world of Monsters and Mutants, rescuing the classic Disney Princesses while continuing to thwart the Sheriff of Nottingham who lives in a walled city, controlling the survivors like a true dictator.

The details for this are yet to be ironed out, but with eBooks, and paperback (if I decide to self publish, I can turn a profit on the paperbacks by selling them for $3.99 (the individual novellas)) I could have as many as 35-40 different things out by the end of the year. Of course, that is a big ask, and will depend largely on whether I self pub it all, self pub the novellas and look to find someone willing to publish the compendiums, etc.

I am talking to three different publishers about the possibilities, so that is exciting.

My theory being, if I get enough titles out there, my marketing options will also expand. I might be wrong, but at least I am focusing on selling books by doing what I enjoy and understand… writing them. It also gives me the time to read up and learn more about marketing. I am not going to stop trying to sell Highway to Hell, far from it, but I am going to start playing to my strengths while I master my weakness, rather than allowing myself to be consumed by it and lose focus across the board.


16 thoughts on “Where oh Where has my Marketing Gone Where oh Where can it be?

  1. I’ve just begun my marketing journey so I’m still learning Twitterese but, it strikes me that the more times your /name/ appears in lists of one sort of another, the greater your overall profile will be. I think you’re onto a winner Alex. Don’t envy you the huge workload though. Good luck. 🙂

  2. Great post, Alex! I’m sure so many other writers feel your pain and it helps to know everyone is not alone. It is a daunting new world out there with self publishing and I find it kind of sad that the writers, not marketers, are left to market their books.

    I do like your plan to write more books. I believe you are correct that having a back list will help you in the long run. Best of luck to you!

  3. Great post, Alex! I’m sure so many other writers feel your pain and it helps to know everyone is not alone. It is a daunting new world out there with self publishing and I find it kind of sad that the writers, not marketers, are left to market their books.

    I do like your plan to write more books. I believe you are correct that having a back list will help you in the long run. Best of luck to you!

  4. Have you tried getting on with Goodreads.com? You can get some reviews there and have others help spread the word. Goodreads is free and reviewers there may simply ask for a loan or free e-copy of your work to review. It’s helping boost the reviews for me on Amazon and Smashwords.

      1. Good, there are a couple of Horror and Paranormal groups on Goodreads you can get on with that might help. I know the group Lovers of Paranormal like to do Read-To-Review, where the members can be set up to read your book for free (gift it or make it available to them) and they will do reviews that will be posted on Amazon as well as on Goodreads.

  5. You and I are kind of in the same boat, Alex. I really dropped the ball on my own marketing campaign for my book, though I’m still doing a few “soft marketing” things like leaving copies of my book at train station book carts and purchasing a few copy whenever I buy other books on Amazon. I’m starting to do a bit more…offering free copies for reviews and the like…but I think the real next step is to just publish more. Get that next book out. Build the momentum with that one. Of course, I’m a pretty slow writer, so it’s going to be a while before I get to that point, but the more you have to offer, the better the chances, right?

    And, of course, I always have to remind myself that self-publishing is a slow build. I came across a quote from Lee Child about overnight success being just ten years away. Gotta keep on it, keep going, and remember that we do this because we love to write, we love to share our stories, and even if those stories have only been shared with a few people, well, that’s better than nothing.

    I’m also trying to get back into the saddle on being more involved on the Internet, so if you’re interested on doing a guest post or an interview on my blog, I’d be happy to have you! I want to start having more things like that.

    1. Ironically enough I just reposted an article that was based around that Lee Child quote. It is one I like. I have plans to make 2 releases every month if I can, but now deciding whether or not I want to self publish or not, or maybe self publish the individual novellas and look for a publisher on the compendiums etc.

      I would love to drop by your blog, and in return would love to have you stop by here and introduce yourself 🙂

  6. Alex, I have the same angst. I have one novel and 4 shorts out I tweet, I facebook etc. But I spend more time promoting rather then writing, which annoys the hell out of me. I do a weekly blog (byrogers.com) where most of my posts are about the writing experience. Today, I will be blogging about a book I found by a fellow who was in the same boat we are some years ago and when he did to turn it around. He swears by it so I contacted him and got permission to blog on it. I am going to follow his plan and see if it works for me. If nothing changes, if I see no significant increase in sales, then I am just going to write for the pleasure of writing and let it go. Strange how we feel compelled to write, even when our promoting fails, isn’t it? I would rather write anyway, but the indie path requires more. I am not sure I want to pay that price, but time will tell. My best to you.

  7. sounds like a plan – good luck with it – I have sim problem but am slowly building aback list – it is getting the reviews which is difficult and it seems without them sales are slow – but we plug on – will watch your progress with great interest:)

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