I called this blog Indie Thinkin’ because I am an independent author—an ‘indie’—and because as I learn the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of being an independently published author I like to have somewhere to share what I’ve learned.
But you don’t need to be an indie author to appreciate how publishing your own work can be a complicated endeavour. Apart from the little aspect of coming up with a gripping novel or inspired non-fiction ‘angle’ you’ve also got the whole ‘how-do-I-get-this-into-people’s-hands’ marketing, promotion and publicity aspect.
In my last post I shared a bit about how I am using Goodread’s giveaway feature to spread the word about my latest novel, Zippin Pippin, but today I’m going to share another way to promote your book, an even simpler and more direct way to get word-of-mouth action on your latest opus. Do this:
Take a walk along the river.
This new book marketing approach occurred to me whilst I was out jogging this morning. Though it is Spring here in Melbourne, it was a very chilly morning but I was not alone in my desire for a bit of exercise. I saw a few familiar faces but one in particular stood out, a woman whom I now know by name, Denise Illing.
On my first lap jogging past Denise (I run from where I park my car to a bridge a couple of kilometres away and turn around) I noticed she was carrying her usual plastic bag which I assumed she used to carry peripherals for her fancy camera with long zoom-lens I’ve often seen her with.
But today no camera.
Then, when I returned for my second lap and passed Denise again I saw she’d stopped and was showing another couple of interested locals a book. As I got closer I could see over their shoulders. It was a soft-cover, full-color, coffee-table book with pics of nature and dogs in nature. I assumed—and rightly so, I found out later—Denise had made a book of photos she’d taken on her many morning walks.
A bit later, after deciding I was satisfied with running three laps, I decided to walk the final one for a cool down. As fortune/fate/the-sliding-door-that-invites-us-into-what-becomes-our-life would have it I bumped into Denise and we had a bit of a chat.
Yes, it was her book, self-published. Yes, she took all the beautiful photos of all the dogs she’s ‘met’ in Warrandyte. No, it wasn’t for sale on Amazon or up for review on Goodreads. Yes, Denise sometimes sold it at the local market (like I had done once for my first novel, The Last Great Day). No, it didn’t have an ISBN but you could buy it at the local post office and another couple of local shops.
Denise called her book Canine Characters of Warrandyte. Here it is:
The thing that most impressed me about Denise, was how she obviously had a great love of dogs, nature and photography, and had turned that into something she could share with, and bring joy to, others. On top of that she donates any profits, from sales of her book, to Blue Cross, an animal welfare group.
And although I probably wouldn’t describe myself as a ‘dog person’ (I inherited two cats when I met my wife but I would have loved them as much if they went “woof-woof” instead of “I was on this chair first”), looking at Denise’s beautiful photos, capturing not only each dog’s individuality but also the photographer’s deep affection for her subjects, I could possibly become one.
That little book of Canine Characters of Warrandyte didn’t need a complicated marketing strategy or social media presence to find its way into my hands and heart—it sold itself. Well, almost.
All it needed was for Denise to go for a walk along the river and for me to stop and say “Hi!”
- Visit Denise’s website to check out more and/or purchase your own copy of Canine Characters of Warrandyte
- Visit Blue Cross Animals Society of Victoria to learn more about what they do to help rehabilitate and re-home lost, abandoned, sick and injured animals.