book marketing

MARKETING 101 for Indie Authors

Hey, ya’ll. My name is Anne C. Miles, and I’ll be doing a series on marketing for the next few days. If you have questions you can email me at, I’m happy to answer. I wrote a fantasy book called Sorrowfish. It won Best Fantasy 2019 from Indies Today. I have run a graphic/web design/marketing company for 19 years.

Marketing is the art of creating lasting relationships and being relentlessly helpful.

Tim Grahl, Founder of

Thou shalt love thy book.

When I first published my book (and for several months after), I had a really hard time marketing. I couldn’t understand why. I’ve done this for years for other people. It was genuinely hard to get out there and push for attention. My pitches were half-hearted. I felt embarrassed to talk about the book. My husband finally took me to task.

“Look,” he said. “You’re indie published. If you don’t believe in this book, no one will. What’s your problem?”

I didn’t know. Well. I did know, but I didn’t want to admit it. I was afraid my book wasn’t very good. All I could see about it were things a few people had said, things I did not even agree with. I dwelled on those things to the point where I doubted my work.

I went home, and I read a debut fantasy book by an author that had just swept the awards at a writer’s conference we had attended. The book was okay.

That’s it. It was just okay. I didn’t love it.

I read my book again.

…and this time, I loved it. I could see once again all of the character development, the Easter eggs. the plot structure, the jokes…all the reasons this was a GREAT book. It is. I couldn’t have done any better. If I hadn’t written it, I would love this book. Honestly.

I had done my very best.

I have no doubt I will improve as a writer, the more I write. But Sorrowfish is a great book. Until I decided that was true, I couldn’t promote it the way I needed to. And neither can you. Whether you are selling fiction or nonfiction, if you don’t love your book, no one else will either.

The good news? As Indies, we have the unique ability to revise, even after the darn thing is published. So if you do not love your book, go fix it. Do whatever it takes, but fix it. Then come back and keep reading my marketing series. If it needs an edit, edit it. If it needs to be taken down, take it down. If you need a new cover, replace the cover. If you do not love your book, do whatever it takes to love it.

Sometimes you won’t need to do anything but confront the accusing voices in your mind and answer them very honestly. We all have imposter syndrome. Beating it is a matter of being very honest and not running away from it. In my case, I just needed a reread.

This is the first and greatest marketing commandment. Love thy book.

Tim Grahl says marketing is the art of creating lasting relationships and being relentlessly helpful. You cannot do it until you have in your heart of hearts the certain knowledge that your book is the best you can make it. You will know when you’re there.

All right. More tomorrow.

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Cheryl Murphy is Asian with brown hair in a single braid and a smirk.

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