I like to think I'm a pretty good publisher. I'm not the biggest or the best, but for a company that has yet to celebrate its third birthday, we are doing well. I find some really good stories, or stories with good potential. I care about my authors who have entrusted me with their works; probably more than what is good for me, truth be told, but they're happy and that makes me happy, so I'm not changing that anytime soon. I have amazing, talented, loyal people who make up my core team, and while I don't credit myself AT ALL for their talent or awesomeness, I've somehow earned their loyalty and that says something. Our books are attractive, and well-done.
Do you know what I can't seem to figure out, though? Marketing. It's my Achilles heel. Don't get me wrong; in person I can sell books like crazy. I somehow get over all of my social "AAAHHHHHHHS" and find a way to make people spend their hard-earned money on book that they didn't even know existed. That's pretty cool. But at some point I want to be able to sell books without spending weeks living in a tent, or putting on make-up or standing for 14 hours at a time talking to 45 different versions of Captain America. I want the books to sell while I sleep. I want to watch those numbers climb seemingly by magic. That? That I can't seem to get. One of the problems is the timeline. You see, to get into any of the big, national book reviews you have to send bound galleys three to four months before publication. Three to four months!That means that the book has to be ready for publication four to five months before it is to be published. My contract states that I have one year from signing to publication, which means then that I have seven to eight months to have the book edited, formatted, and the cover created. Which doesn't seem much in itself. It takes about 3 months after all to do all of this. But see, there's a queue. Books are constantly being worked on but the simple fact is that we are a small press and everyone involved has at least one other job. Royalties happen four months out of the year, and there's no money left in those four to pay the people who need to be paid. So, while we are working towards this becoming more of a possibility, the simple fact is that it isn't right now. Then there's Twitter and Facebook. There are people who understand the analytics and how to make posts turn into clicks and clicks into sales, but I am not one of them. I have hired three PR firms to do what I cannot, but I've also had three PR firms let me down. I'm kind of stumped, there. I haven't seen blog tours do much, despite their popularity. The small press/indie author blog world is pretty darn interconnected and we are all in the same boat, So, while we do our best to support one another, the big numbers just aren't there.
So, for right now I'm pounding the pavement and finding more and better venues to sell in person, because that's what I know I can do. But, I'd like to hear your thoughts. What sort of marketing tools do you use? What works for you? What would you like to see me try?