Indie & Small Press Book Marketing: A Review

Indie & Small Press Book MarketingIndie & Small Press Book Marketing by William Hertling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An excellent primer, but in need of an update.

William Hertling’s book is a wonderful, systematic and focused approach to book marketing for self-published authors. “Indie & Small Press Book Marketing” makes an easy-to-follow path in the maze that is book marketing, but it is not all-inclusive, and due to not having an update in over two years, is also a little out of date.

I really wanted to give the book five stars. I enjoyed the banter of the text, and the simplified formulas for making sense of sales figures, however, the lack of mention of any platform beyond Amazon, LinkedIn, or Goodreads (nothing on LibraryThing, Shelfari, Smashwords, for example) as a venue for marketing was a little disappointing. I was also looking for more tips on how to find industry “influencers”, either through directories like “The Indie View”, or mentioning other large book sites, such as Shelfari, Book Riot, etc.

In addition, despite the title of the text, the book heavily leans towards self-publishing authors, as the most important tactics for gaining the initial reviews in Phase 2 require interpersonal relationships with friends and family. Book marketing practices for indie presses, as a business, are practically nonexistent, except for targeted marketing on FB or Goodreads (which I imagine has changed quite a bit since 2011). Considering the fact that I bought this as a study tool for an indie press I work for that is just starting out, I found the info lacking on that end.

However, for authors who are looking to promote their own work, this is a great, simple resource that points you in the right direction. I definitely recommend it for authors who are writing either non-fiction, or clear-cut genre fiction. Hertling has created a free tool for download on his website, a checklist, which you can check out here.

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4 thoughts on “Indie & Small Press Book Marketing: A Review

  1. Andrew says:

    My issue with books like this is that they rarely tell you anything that you don’t already know. They also generally deal with the author’s own experiences (“here’s what I did”) which has limited value. There’s rarely any real data collection or research involved. I want research, not anecdotes.

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      I do agree with that, in general… but I don’t know; it’d be pretty hard to get some accurate market analysis (at least enough for a book) for the novel/fiction market. I think there’s probably too many outliers, like genre, age groups, format, etc to get anything more than anecdotes. Even the Harvard marketing book that I had to read as a prerequisite to a Masters program was just a collection of five different “studies” (surveys) of five different selling platforms.

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      • Andrew says:

        My wife is a data analyst, so I’m pretty sure if someone wanted the data it could be had. I think actual data would not be very popular, though, because it would show that there is no “way” to get ahead. People don’t like to know that there isn’t a secret trick, and if you wrote a book showing that the only way to succeed was to use a bunch of bunch of paths and hope to get lucky people would accuse you of lying or worse.

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