Marketing is getting harder for self-publishers

I had an email from Bookfunnel a few days ago to warn me that Outlook is blocking stuff from MailerLite and other platforms as spam. This matters for authors who send out newsletters and other promotional material via these platforms. It also matters to the likes of Bookfunnel and Instafreebie because their selling point for authors is that you can gather reader emails with their Giveaways then send those readers information about your other works. If Outlook is blocking you as spam, you can’t. They give a work around for the problem but it’s still a pain.

As far as I can tell, nearly all the tried and tested methods of marketing your self-published book no longer work. On Instafreebie and Bookfunnel the Group Giveaways are very successful at getting books out because you have loads of authors all boosting the same weblink to pull in readers, and who can resist a freebie? Unfortunately, you can Giveaway until your heart’s content but it doesn’t do any good, at least, not for me. I’ve given away hundreds of free books. Do they ever get read? Who knows? Do they lead to new sales? Absolutely not. I only give away a preview now. That doesn’t lead to sales either but I’m only on the free plan, not gathering emails, so it costs nothing and doesn’t hurt. I keep some links on the website to Instafreebie previews for my millions of followers.

Any market is finite. More authors do not mean more book sales, it just means fewer sales for each author. In general, writers love writing and, as Stephen King said, would probably do it in secret even if it was against the law. Small sales are no reason to stop creating. However, if I had one piece of advice for anyone launching a self-publishing career now it would be this: ignore all the hype about how many millions you can make and keep the day job.

Of course, if you get a big publisher they do the marketing. Every time I open my email now (Outlook – it keeps me safe from self-publisher spam) I get an advert for the latest James Patterson book. I guess he needs the money.

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