The self-published author’s dilemma: writing or marketing?

I want to write, but I need to market. I’m a writer. I’ve been doing it all my life. Writing should always come first. I shouldn’t have to choose. But when I decided to self-publish, I committed myself to marketing my books. I write trashy books and I write them well, but no one will read my books if they don’t know about them, so I must market.

Marketing should be easy. There are thousands of resources available to authors. Where do I start? What methods are most effective? How do I decide which ones to use? Do I post on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or all three? Don’t forget about Good Reads. Ack! Getting overwhelmed is the easy part.

Writing is never easy. If it was, I wouldn’t enjoy it so much. No day job has ever challenged me as much as creating new characters and new stories. Nothing makes me happier than writing a story that makes me smile (or in my case, gets me hot and bothered).  And I love hearing people tell me they like my stories. It never gets old. Some of them even call me talented. Woohoo!

But then I check my sales reports and ugh. Those are the days when I just want to run away to my happy place with nothing but a pen and my notebook and never come back. Let my books sell themselves. I wish. Must put my writing aside and do more marketing, dammit.

So how do I choose? I don’t. Balance is the key. I am a writer and a salesperson. My books aren’t going to sell themselves or write themselves. I have to find a way to do both. It’s not easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. But I can only wear one hat at a time if I want to do both writing and marketing well. Focus. Breathe. Get organized.

Oh…and be patient!

Authors: what marketing methods work best for you?

Readers: what’s your favorite place to find out about new books?

About ameliajamesauthor

Amelia James started reading steamy romance novels in junior high, but her mom took them away from her, so she started daydreaming instead. After she got married, she wrote some of her naughtier daydreams down and sent them to Playgirl magazine. Two of them got published. She kept daydreaming and writing stories until her dirty stories turned into trashy books. She lives in Colorado, but she’ll always be a loyal Wisconsin Cheesehead. When she’s not lusting after her next bad boy hero, she looks for inspiration in sci-fi and action movies, football players, bloodsucking lawyers, muscle cars, and kick-butt chicks.
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8 Responses to The self-published author’s dilemma: writing or marketing?

  1. You have lots of company! Frustrating, isn’t it? I’m in the same ugly place as you and a lot of our writer friends
    You’re exactly right. One has to find a balance that works. One thing I’ve decided is that I can’t do everything and do it efficiently without jeopardizing my writing time. I’ve accepted that I have to zero in on a few things that I’m comfortable doing and believe in and leave the others behind.

    • That’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve only been doing this since March so I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t. Maybe once I get it narrowed down, my life will be a little more normal. What’s normal? ;)

  2. My best marketing technique was a complete accident. I was having formatting issues and asked for some volunteers from a Kindle-loving list serv to accept my book as a gift and check the formatting. Four agreed, I gifted the ebook, and then waited to hear back re: the formatting. That was a success and off I went. A week later, my Kindle sales went wild. I buzzed around the ‘net trying to figure out which (if any) of the blogs I’d submitted to had posted a review. None had. I found out later that evening that one reader–one!– had commented back to the list serv that she loved my book. It went nuts. I sold 100 that month. Bottom line: luck and word of mouth are the most powerful tools available. However, if I hadn’t been working to get my book “out” there, I wouldn’t have lucked into this opportunity. It’s a dilemma.
    Donna White Glaser

    • I’m still waiting for that lucky accident, hoping someone will notice me. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to get my books out there, but it’s hard not to get discouraged.

  3. Vanessa says:

    Hi Amelia, yes, you must be patient. Sometimes it is enough just to tell someone you have written a book. Don’t expect them to read it immediately. You sow a little seed, then you wait. It is important to keep writing regularly because in the long term you will make more money by having more books. I write every morning for one or two hours before I go to work. This is my precious time. After that I am free to play with social media. But the writer’s life is all about patience and having that little haven to go to, where the world drops away and you simply write.

  4. Phantomimic says:

    I hear you Sis, I am not yet to the point of publishing or marketing but keeping up a blog consumes a lot of my writing time (I also have a day job). If you don’t mind spending money on marketing you can try Pixel of Ink ( or Kindle nation ( I understand Goodreads also has a pay-per-click program for authors.

    Talking about marketing, did you get my e-mail about the John Locke book? Just checking.

    Take care.


    • I got the email, but I haven’t had time to comprehend it yet. It’s on my to-do list. I’m busier now than when I had a day job (baby sees to that). I may need to spend some money on marketing so I’ll add those sites to my list. Thanks!

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