Friday, February 16, 2018

How Authors Can Build An Indie Empire—How You Advertise Matters

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

*Disclaimer from Traci. This series is about following rules. I know that indies don’t have to follow rules. That’s the whole point of being indie. But indies who pay attention to what rich and famous authors do, have a much better shot at fame and riches.*

Have you ever heard of a loss leader? The grocery store has 18 eggs for just 75 cents! Limit 3! You would never pass up that deal, even though you are clever and know it’s just a trap to get you to come into the store and buy a bunch of stuff marked up enough to make up the difference in the cost of the eggs.

This is what you have to do with your books. But how do you do it?

1. You’ve followed all of my advice from part one and you now have a series following a delightfully sympathetic main character—let’s say a bookish young man of around twenty with a limp but brooding eyes who has to find the cure for his baby sister’s rare disease. Or something.— You set your first book at a ridiculously low price, considering the time and effort that went into researching the genre, writing and editing the book, and the money involved in all of that as well. It pains you to set this book at a dollar fifty, or free, or 99 cents or whatever your research has shown you is the right price for your first book. But you are going to do it, because you will make up the loss in volume sales of your regular priced books.

2. Now you need tell everyone about your amazing book at its criminally low price. The most effective site for this move is Book Bub. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s expensive and picky. Try. And keep trying until you get it in.

3. Stack other, lesser ads with it. If you book that Book Bub ad, follow it up with other sites in the week or two that follow. You can find a great source for these sites at the Author Marketing Club. Google it. It’s worth your time.

4. Did it? Good. You can’t do the same thing every month though. Ad sites don’t like it, and readers want new deals too. So you need to “price pulse”. You have a series. Every month you drop one of the books’ prices, probably to 99 cents, and advertise it, following the same method you did for your first book in series. If your series has six books it means you can drop the price of each book in your series twice a year and have a nice stream of advertising and income flow. 

You will not make money if you do not invest in advertising. You have to do this. Period. End of sentence. It is a requirement for building an indie empire. And it is as simple as I have made it out to be. Your first book in series needs to be permanently cheap to get readers to test you out. You need to advertise this book. Then, you pick a book a month and discount it, too, investing your money in advertisements.

Your traditionally published friends do not have the freedom to do this with their books. They will have to have launch parties and Facebook parties and book signings. They will have to work ten times as hard as you do to get the chance to sell a small percentage of what you will sell doing this, so even though discounts and the cost of adds can feel intimidating, they are a real and true blessing of the indie world.

How authors can build an indie empire—how you advertise matters - @TraciTyneHilton (Click to Tweet)

Advertising tips for #IndieAuthors from @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven RomanticMysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at

Don't miss the previous posts
How Authors Can Build an Indie Empire—What You Write Matters


  1. Great advice, Traci! Thanks for sharing.
    Elva Cobb Martin
    VP ACFW-SC Chapter

  2. Wow. It sounds so simple..... (haha) Thanks for this easy read and a great idea.

  3. I'm always a little embarrassed by how simple it is. The only complicated part is actually getting the ads you want. Lots of competition out there! :D