Fiction doesn’t make money, right?

I mean, look at all the damned competition out there. 3.4 million e-books on the Amazon Kindle is insane.

And then you walk into any bookstore and get immediately overwhelmed with all the choices. As an aspiring fiction writer, you’re likely to hide in a comfy armchair at the back of the store and cry.

What’s the point? Is it even possible to sell fiction and make any money today?

Today we’re going to talk about marketing yourself as an author. Should you even try? Let’s find out.

1. Are You Going eBook or Traditional?

I’m not here to extol the benefits of either market. But I really should define my terms today.

I’m still not familiar with the traditional publishing marketplace. This article will cover how to market yourself as either self-published or an ebook author.

If you’re an ebook author, congratulations. Your competition just shrank exponentially.

3.4 million ebooks seems like a lot, but consider this: Amazon sells over 48 million books. 3.4 million is less than 10% of the book market.

This makes marketing to your vertical manageable. No need to panic. You’ve got this.

2. Start Promoting Yourself Even if You Don’t Have a Book

One of my friends owns a board game production company. When he first started out, he learned a valuable lesson.

You can’t run a successful Kickstarter campaign if you don’t already have an audience. He refrained from crowd funding until he built a significant following.

His first crowdfunding campaign was a roaring success.

If you’re a DIY eBook author, take note. You can’t rely on the luck of Amazon’s algorithms and the kindness of readers/ratings to sell your books.

Even if you have no books on the market, you need to start ASAP.

3. Build an Author Platform

If you’re a self-published author, you’ve chosen a particularly laborious path.

Think of it this way: when publishing in the traditional market, you’re giving up a portion of the profit to pay the publisher. They take care of the printing, distribution, marketing, etc.

When you’re self-published, you do all of that yourself or you hire someone to do it for you. You’re either investing time or money in your fiction.

We call the marketing involved in author promotion an “author platform.” This includes every aspect of your public persona and this is mostly online.

Before you start, learn more about what kinds of results you can get out of building an author platform yourself.

Some Simple Ways to Get Started

While building and maintaining your author platform on your own will take time, it’s easy to get started. All you need is a connection to the internet.

Pick Two Social Platforms and Stick With Them

I’d recommend Twitter and Instagram. Both rely on the hashtag system to disperse posts and you can quickly build an audience on these platforms.

Post Every Day

With Twitter, you’ll need to post more than once a day to aggregate an audience.

You can automate your social media to an extent, but you’ll have to craft your content for your readers. Consider what genre you write and who your audience is. What would they love to know about?

Start Blogging Now

Use your own site or start a page on Medium.

While you can blog about writing fiction, I’d recommend picking a related niche. If you write horror, write about cliche horror tropes and monsters.

And Go!

Podcasts, Goodreads profiles, Reddit, Book signings, etc. There are so many ways you could promote yourself.

Narrow down your choices to what’s most effective. Remember, your time is money.

For more marketing advice, check out Shoemoney’s Shoeintology!

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.