Monday 25 May 2015

Self-Publishing: Is It For You? Part 3: Marketing

with Marilyn Forsyth

Hi Catherine and welcome back for Part 3 of Self-Publishing: Is it For You? This time we’re discussing the hot topic of Marketing.

Marilyn: What steps have you taken to make your Cooper and Quinn novels, 'Dark Heart' and 'Dark Past', ‘discoverable’? How do you intend to market 'Dark Past'?

Catherine: At this stage I’m still in the product creation phase of my self-publishing journey, so I’m more focused on getting a few more books out than on discoverability and marketing. But having said that, there are a few things I have on my list to do this year.

As far as social media goes I’ve enjoyed figuring out Twitter, and I’m going to make an effort to engage more with people on that platform. I prefer Twitter to Facebook, where rules keep changing and confusing me. A lot.

I’ve promised myself to get involved on Goodreads this year. I’ve dabbled there, but never really engaged. As a reader, I think the idea of a forum to discuss and discover books is great, and I want to get on there and meet people who like the kind of books I like to read and write.

image courtesy of

Now that I’ve established my blog I’d like to post more often; I enjoy having a place where I can say what I think about whatever I like. I don’t think blogging is necessarily a good way to be discovered, but I do think it’s a great place to let the people who do discover you find out a bit more about who you are and what interests you.

How do I market my book? Where do I find readers? These are the questions all authors are asking but there are no easy answers. Well, there is one answer, but it’s not easy: word of mouth.

Word of mouth sells books. The internet and social media have made it a lot easier for word of mouth to travel now, but you still have to find people who like what you do enough to tell other people about your books. I’ve read a ton of information, listened to podcasts, attended writers’ conferences, and chatted on social media, all about how to get eyes on your books, and what it comes down to is for someone who’s read your books to recommend them to someone who hasn’t.

Reviews and recommendations sell books. Constantly tweeting or talking about your own books yourself doesn’t. The best advice I could give, and the thing I want to do more of myself, is to engage with other people. Other writers, other readers, other social media users. It takes time, and it takes commitment, but it is so rewarding. Much better than blasting people with ‘buy my book’ tweets or status updates that everyone got sick of years ago.
Image courtesy of

There’s no sure-fire method for getting thousands or millions of people to buy your book. But if you take the time to engage with others and live up to the social part of social media, then it will happen. One reader at a time, which is good enough for me.

Marilyn: Thanks so much for this insight into your self-publishing journey, Catherine, and good luck with your next book, 'Dark Web'.

Catherine Lee

Check out her website:
her blog:
or follow her on twitter: @CatLeeAuthor

Do you have a question for Catherine regarding her self-publishing journey? She'd love to hear from you and is happy to respond to all questions and comments.

Love to Love: binge-watching TV. Netflix, Stan and Promo are all fantastic additions to our TV landscape.
Love to Laugh: at the 4-year-old I look after. Kids are hilarious.
Love to Learn: as much as I can take in about self-publishing from blogs, podcasts and books.

Our own Karen M Davis, together with authors Jenn J McLeod and Tricia Stringer, is taking part in The Australian Voices in Print Tour, beginning May 24th and travelling through 11 NSW towns. Click on the link to find out when they'll be in a town near you.


  1. Catherine, what you say is so true! Word of mouth is terrific in getting the word out about books. But I do enjoy Facebook notifications as well, I confess, and emails that pop into my inbox.

    1. Hi Malvina. Many people love Facebook, and I think I'm getting better at it. It's about working out the places your audience are most likely to hang out, and then engaging with them there. For a lot of readers, that's definitely Facebook.
      You make a good point about emails, too. Starting an email list and sending out a regular monthly newsletter to that list is apparently one of the best promotional tools available to all authors, not just the self-pubbed among us. I've only just started looking into this, but everything I read and hear says that the email list is one of the best tools and author can have. Thanks for bringing it up, it's good to hear that you like receiving them!

  2. I agree, Catherine. Word of mouth and reviews are my go-to sources when I want to buy a new-to-me author. I also think Facebook is a great promotional avenue for self-pubbed authors, but only if it's not overdone - when I see the same promo for the same book several times a day in my newsfeed I'll probably look at it the first time but after that I tend to skip over it. Goodreads, despite its faults, is a good source for new authors, too. And I find the ARRA newsletter terrific for romance readers.

    1. Great point about not overdoing it on Facebook, Marilyn. It's so easy to lose people when your page is full of self-promotional stuff. I like to use Facebook and my blog to promote other authors rather than myself, because I figure if I find a good book or a good author who's new to me then chances are my readers would like to hear about them as well.

    2. I know all authors are expected to self-promote these days but there really is a need to draw that line between letting people know you have a book out there and over-promotion.
      We bloggers at Breathless, like you, love the idea of promoting other authors - hence our published-author guest bloggers once a month and our decision to take part in the Australian Women Writers Challenge.

  3. Hi Catherine. As a new author myself I find that marketing your book is a bit of trial and error. I've read so many blogs that say do this and don't do that and it gets so confusing. Your advice is calming and keeping it simple seems the best approach. Writing books is the best advice of all I think. I use Facebook, Twitter and Google+ but it can be extremely hard to get your name out there. Goodreads is great but not so much for e-book authors as we can't do giveaways on there and that seems to work well for trad published authors. I've enjoyed reading your posts.

    1. Thanks, Cassandra. I definitely agree that above all else the best advice is to write more books! I sometimes get caught up in it all, wanting or trying to do everything, but I always come back to the simple approach in the end. Write good books, slowly spread the word, and I'm sure good things will come.

  4. Hi, Catherine Lee! Thank you so much! I've learned heaps from your three part interview with Marilyn Forsyth! I agree that word of mouth is one of the best ways of marketing (but only if you've got a 'good' book--LOL). I guess I'm a bit old fashioned...I still like a good book cover--something that grabs my attention initially and compels me to read the blurb. But...if after reading the book, it didn't keep my attention or the blurb or the cover didn't gel with the actual book then I revert to word of mouth, telling friends and colleagues how the book let me down.

    1. Thanks, Dee, it's great to hear that the posts have helped. Great point about covers — I'm actually in the process of re-doing all mine to create a new brand image — it's so important in the self-publishing world that your cover makes a statement and quickly conveys what your book is about. And yes, word of mouth does work the other way, doesn't it? I recently read a book by a well-known Australian author that was so bad I couldn't finish it. I didn't hesitate to warn friends and family not to bother!

    2. I look forward to seeing your new covers, Catherine, although I really did like the originals.

  5. Hi Catherine. Very informative posts, thank you. When deciding on books to read, blurbs and the first few pages and word of moth are my preferred method of choosing. I read reviews too. Self promotion is a great tool if it's not overdone.


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