Gary Scott Beatty of Indie Comics Magazine had some words of wisdom that I thought needed to reposted – if you’re an indie creator, it’s worth a read:
Maybe you pay a marketing firm to keep your name in the public eye, but most of us indie creators depend solely upon our own devices for promotions. Below are some basics that take little time. You can expand upon them when you think it’s needed.
THE LIST: YOUR TARGET MARKET. First, list what market you are “targeting.” This is an important first step to avoid overspending time and resources. When someone contacts you about buying advertising, for instance, you think, “Will this venue reach my target market?” and “How targeted IS it (How well will it reach my specific market)?” Write a list and hang it on your studio wall for reference!
My list, for example, targets different groups.
• Colorist and letterer, publication production: Publishers, creators.
• Publisher: Retailers, customers, creators (for content).
• Advertising rep for Indie Comics Magazine: Businesses focused on indie comics, creators.
This shows me there is no reason for me to advertising my coloring and lettering services on a website that targets Marvel and DC superheroes. The site may be comic book oriented, but not focused enough on publishers and creators.
COLLECT NAMES. You can’t get more targeted in your marketing than people who have signed up to hear about what you do. There are many ways to LEGALLY collect emails for your fan list (No one likes spam and if you spam emails, you will drive fans away). Some legitimate websites are set up to help, like MailChimp at http://mailchimp.com/
PARAGRAPH DESCRIPTION. Next, compose a short paragraph that describes what you do. Place this paragraph at the end of all your correspondence, beneath your address and contact information. I save mine on my desktop so I can pull it up quickly and easily.
This is the paragraph I’ve been using since Diamond orders came in for (Indie Comics Magazine Presents) The Envy:
Pre-order Indie Comics Magazine #7 in August 2013′s Previews comic book catalog, under Aazurn Publishing, at your local or online comic shop. Indie Comics Magazine #7 is ONLY available through pre-order with Diamond Comic Distributors! http://indiecomicsmagazine.com/
Now that orders are in for Indie Comics Magazine #7, I will go back to a generic paragraph about my coloring and lettering services until the next publications hit Diamond. Those of you with comics coming out every month have more to say, but keep it brief!
ALSO: You are in business! Unless you are replying to some rabid fanboy your full name, email and website should appear on every correspondence (Phone number is up to you). Make it easy for people to get back to you!
CALENDAR SCHEDULE. Everyone in publishing should have a large desk calendar with notes on it. I refer to mine every day so I don’t skip important tasks. I have scheduled dates to send news releases, post to Facebook, send to my fan email list, post on chat rooms, etc. If I’m not deep into talking up the latest Aazurn Publishing book, I’m letting potential customers know what I do. There’s always something on the calendar!
Review copies should go out to media five weeks before customers can order from Diamond (Note, the date Previews is delivered to comic shops is never the first day of the month!). Two or three news releases can go to media between then and the Previews release date. If your publisher sends news releases, ask how you can help expand their efforts with interviews. The last two weeks before Previews is crunch time to reach readers and your fan base — any earlier and they may forget to order! After Previews is in comic shops, contact retailers you’ve established relationships with to see what you can do to help them sell books (and convince them to order).
GOOGLE ALERTS. Track when your name comes online with Google Alerts! I have alerts set up for my name and the names of my products. Google sends me an email when their crawlers run across them. Without this I would have never heard about any of my online reviews. I’m also able to respond if someone mentions me in a chat room. You never know where your name is going to pop up online! Honestly, this should be mandatory for anyone tracking their career. http://www.google.com/alerts
FACEBOOK. What’s great about Facebook is you can post video, pictures, over time. Schedule posts so you can spread them out over the last three weeks before your release, to reach the widest audience.
I discovered that if I join Groups on Facebook, I greatly expand the number of people who see my posts. Just be sure your posts are relevant to the Group — read the “About” section before joining. Then, post to your timeline, then “share” that post with your groups. The more “likes” and sharing a post gets, the higher it stays on the page, longer.
Post artwork and/or writing (Strong panels of art are better than whole pages — make sure they kick!). Fans love to see sketches and preliminary drawings. Be sure your Paragraph Description (above) at the end of anything you post!
OTHER. If you want to see what other kinds of promotions could help your book, visit the Newsroom I set up for Indie Comics Magazine #7. This isn’t for fans, it’s a single place to send media for graphic downloads, information about the publication, and more. http://aazurn.com/newsroom/icm7.html
AAZURN PUBLISHING. We are set up here to promote indie, to promote you. We split costs on Indie Comics Magazine and Indie Comics Horror, then split the Diamond invoice. Plus, we’re now offering a few full books through Indie Comics Magazine Presents. Check out http://indiecomicsmagazine.com/ and click on Submissions!