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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Indie Author Book Marketing Might Get a Lot More Expensive! – Here is What You Can Do

In this blog, I will compare two different types of events; please bear me, there is a point to this.

Story 1:

Monday morning I awoke to the unpleasant news that my computer’s power supply fan was dying. When I turned on the computer it made a nasty noise.

Since I had heard this characteristic hum before, I knew what to do. I turned the computer off, disconnected the cables, loaded it into the car, and drove straight to the best repair shop in town. As I got to the shop, I extended a friendly ’hello’, described my problem, and asked only two questions: “How fast can this problem be fixed?” and “How much is it going to cost?”

“Tomorrow at 3:00 pm. The part is $35, plus labor it'll be $85.”

“Thank you, let’s do it.”

Naturally, I had the reasonable expectation that paying $85 would lead to a guaranteed positive result. Which is what happened. Thirty hours later, my computer was running just fine.


Story 2:

Recently, I got drawn into a Facebook author group discussion about seeking book reviews. I got tagged because I am an Amazon top reviewer who also penned an award-winning book about this topic; I have also been interviewed by multiple news outlets (including Bloomberg) about this topic.

So, I entered the discussion and did what colleagues do - I answered the posted questions, thoroughly. Still, one of the involved authors had more questions. This author had purchased Netgalley’s services which resulted in only very few reviews of his/her book. Netgalley does not guarantee any specific results.

I had already invested quite a bit of my personal time in answering the questions and so I wrote this author a note, “I recommend my book NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews.” (This book costs $2.99.)


Since this author is not American and most likely doesn’t shop on the .com site I know that s/he did not buy the recommended book.

Which leaves the question:

Since the author’s attempt to get many reviews via Netgalley wasn’t successful and s/he did not buy an expert’s book for $2.99 in order to learn best DIY-practices, what’s the plan? HOW does this author want to get reviews? 

[Maybe, by engaging in review exchanges which Amazon does not allow? Then again, we can only guess, we don't know.] 

At this point, you might be thinking, “Just another crazy story.”

Not so fast.

This story points to a much bigger problem.

Remember my issue with the power supply fan? When I experienced the problem last time, in 2012, the repair would have cost $385. Then, I decided to pass that offer and bought a new unit.

In the meantime, the costs for new parts and labor have gone down. One reason is – though I did not elect to learn how to repair my own computer, millions of people have done just that. In fact, today, kids learn how to perform simple repairs in high school. Many of these kids solve most of their and their friends’ computer problems DIY.”

The price for this specific repair has gone down by 77%.

Which is typical for almost every industry. Eventually, the costs of goods and services go down.


In contrast, the prices of everything related to indie author goods and services have gone up. 

Most of all - the costs for finding semi-professional reviewers.

In 2012, book reviews were free. Zero dollars!

Amazon gave top reviewers the opportunity to list their email addresses so authors (and vendors) could contact them. The top reviewers lined up to write insightful 7-paragraph reviews because many of them competed for a spot in the glamorous, top-10, top-100, top-1000 et al.


But, as more people published books, too many of them followed bad advice and best practices, and the people and organizations who performed free services reacted. 

Amazon tightened their algorithm due to never ending cheating efforts of thousands of indie authors and hundreds of Amazon top reviewers made their profiles invisible. (They don’t want to be caught in the crosswinds of Amazon’s tightened algorithm.)

As a result, in 2018, many indie authors see no other option than buying Netgalley’s services.

The increase from $0.00 to $100-and-up can’t even be expressed in percentages.


The Naked Truth

The publishing industry is an industry like every other. This implies that the industry follows the Law of Supply and Demand.

If indie authors are willing to pay $100-and-up instead of learning and DIY, then that’s what’s being offered. Most likely, prices are only going to go up.

The trend is obvious: As free book marketing opportunities are disappearing and are being replaced with paid options, indie author goods and services are getting more expensive by the year. 

The trend does not look good - Things will probably get worse. 

The only way how indie authors can stop this trend is by doing best research.

Please share your thoughts.


Gisela Hausmann is a 29 yr. self-publishing industry veteran, an email evangelist and a top reviewer. 

Her work has been featured in regional, national, and international publications 
including Success magazine (print) and Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg, The Innovation Show  a show for Square Pegs in Round Holes, "The Brutal Truth about Sales & Selling"-podcast, and Austria's Der Standard and Das Wirtschaftsblatt. 

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Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

© 2018 by Gisela Hausmann 

1 comment:

  1. Insightful and timely, as expected. IMO, Indie authors (1) need to skip that next latte at Starbucks, invest a big $2.99 and read your book, Naked Truths, (2) Get creative, after all, we're supposed to be the most creative writers around--find ways to get solid, meaningful reviews without adding to the spending spiral the industry wants to catch you in, (3) come up with new ways to market your writing. (4) learn to ignore con artist and hucksters. And in all this, remember who you are and what you stand for. Ultimately, the only person you ever have to sleep with is yourself.