Reality slowly sets in. No one calls, not one sale blips on the screen and no one shares or likes your enthusiastic social media posts. Radio silence kicks in like a bolt of lightning…

You press “publish” as a first time, unknown indie author. For a second after your book begins uploading, the world stands still, you wait for the phone to ring with congratulations and sales to start ticking over. You sit, holding your breath with excitement. Your heart thuds heavily and the adrenaline rush of this achievement is equal to giving birth. It’s monumental.

Reality slowly sets in. No one calls, not one sale blips on the screen and no one shares or likes your enthusiastic social media posts. Radio silence kicks in like a bolt of lightning…

This is the moment you realise that writing; the actual nuts and bolts of a story; the narrative and world building is only one part of the equation. Suddenly, as an uninitiated indie author filled with enthusiasm, you realise you have to make yourself visible!

No-one told you this – not one word of guidance came forth. You had a story to share but if you don’t do something soon it will sit on Amazon and rot in binary wilderness.

This is where your big mistakes begin. You believe indie author promotion services, you dive in headlong and spend money willy-nilly trusting your book will be retweeted to over 50k accounts every day. You believe people will leave a review when they ask for a free book and you happily post 100s of dollars’ worth of books around the world with high hopes and your fingers crossed.

One financially painful day you realize you’ve been had. You were drawn into a web of money grabbing. You were tricked by people wanting a free book. The reality is zero social media followers, zero reviews, and zero sales. Your heart sinks. You’re furious with yourself and more than a tad embarrassed-you’re an adult after all. You put the brakes on and have a good long think . You forage around social media for clues and answers to the questions you’re not quite sure to ask.

What do you discover? 

First, patience will save you from impulsive decisions that only lead to wasting your time and money. Secondly and most importantly, you learn about networking. You discover an untapped gold mine of free and friendly support on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You find like-minded authors at various stages of their writing career who understand your struggles and mistakes. They offer insights and links to helpful and effective marketing strategies. Most of all, they provide a surprising and fabulous reciprocal platform on which to promote your writing. You discover the thrill of giving your time to support and promote a fellow author often leads to an author returning the favour in kind. You suddenly see more followers on your accounts and a few sales trickling through. You make new friends who boost you up, make you laugh, and introduce you to new genres you haven’t read before. You discover supportive readers who leave reviews and who are happy to pay for your book.

Suddenly, the radio silence has a bit of static and then it begins to sound like a background melody. Eventually, after you type the last full-stop on your second manuscript, you realise the radio silence has become a blaring rock concert of beautiful people who have lifted you up and supported you. The sales begin to tick over, and reviews slowly creep up.

Long gone are the impulsive purchase of twitter promotions that end in nothing, and you don’t pay for Facebook boosts that lead to nowhere. What you have is a full and multi-talented network of people who cross-promote their work with yours. It’s all about the give and take.

If you’re a new indie author, my message to you: network, network, network!

It will be the best book marketing investment you make and you’ll even make friends along the way.

About G.R. Thomas

G.R.Thomas is an Australian indie author of urban fantasy. She is currently working on book 3 of her trilogy: The A’vean Chronicles. G.R. Thomas is happily obsessed with books, horses, and coffee.

Buy Awaken   Buy Surrender

Follow G.R. Thomas on Instagram @grthomas2014 & visit her website