Starting my publishing career on the cusp of a world-wide pandemic certainly wasn’t great timing. On the flip side, not having the opportunities to share my books in person has forced me to learn some things about how to market my books in ways I wouldn’t have thought of in a “normal world.” The trial and error of marketing my book series is pushing me to new experiences.
Many indie authors focus their efforts on Amazon sales. Which makes sense considering that anywhere from 50-80% of all book sales in the US occur on Amazon. But that also means that 20-50% of potential sales outside of Amazon don’t happen for those Amazon-only focused authors. My dream was always to see my books on library and bookstore shelves. From the beginning, I published wide. That allowed me to experience two new things I couldn’t have done otherwise. The first was not only to see my books on library shelves, but also to hold book signings at libraries.
In September, I practiced responsible social distancing and signed books on the back porch of my hometown library. In December, I had another library signing opportunity in another nearby small town. And my books are usually checked out of my local library. As of this writing, both Talisman and Bard were not on the shelf with Warrior, Prophetess, and Druid.
Not focusing my books exclusively on Amazon means that I see them on the shelves in my local indie bookstore. I never tire of walking in and catching my books on display ready for some new reader to discover them.
Right before the Christmas season, I took advantage of a chance to put my books in a catalogue targeting indie booksellers. It was such a thrill to receive my copy and find my book page.
There’s something about advertising my books in a catalogue that makes me feel like I’ve arrived as an author. Beginning with the Scholastic catalogues I poured over as an elementary schooler to the indie book catalogues I mark up with potential additions to my personal library, I’ve loved book lists. Knowing that others may be marking this page in the indie booksellers’ list gives me all the feels.
In this time of digital dependence during the pandemic, I’ve found some ways to connect more personally and physically with readers. Ultimately, it’s the personal connection that’s most important. I would have pursued these experiences even without the pandemic, but it feels even more important to have had them now.
What personal connections have you made or maintained during this pandemic? Leave a comment.
Yours in taking a risk (or thirty),
Tam DeRudder Jackson
Author of the Talisman Series, paranormal romance