Today's author isn't done working when they type The End at the end of their book; in fact, they're just getting started. Authors are responsible for getting their books created and put into readable form, getting them published, and even marketing the books to make sure they sell. No one is an expert at every part of the book business, so savvy authors know to hire experts for crucial tasks they can't do well, like book cover design and editing.
There's a real need for a wide variety of assistants for indie authors. The problem is that some entrepreneurs try to take advantage of this fact by offering services that authors don't really need. Trial and error can be an expensive proposition when it comes to bringing out a book, so here are some services you can afford to skip or do yourself.
1. Social Media or Email Blast Services
It sounds great: pay a fee and someone will email thousands of potential readers all about your upcoming book. If not email, what about posting it to their Facebook page? While widespread advertising may sound like a good idea, it's usually a waste of time. You're not marketing to your ideal audience, and most of these recipients consider the ads as spam, deleting them as soon as they find them.
2. Classes With Industry Secrets
If you're tempted to drop hundreds of dollars on a class that teaches you all about how to guarantee your books to be bestsellers, or how to make millions selling books you don't even write, pay attention to the old advice. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look carefully at any class syllabus, and look for reviews from fellow authors who have taken the class before.
3. Buying an Audience
If you're looking for more followers for your Facebook page, don't fall into the trap of paying for clumps of followers. There's no guarantee that you'll get humans instead of bots, if you do get humans there's no guarantee they like to read what you write, and many random name lists are made up of email addresses that were stolen, not legitimately acquired.
4. Bestseller List Services
Want to make the NYT bestseller list? Who doesn't? It isn't too difficult to find companies that guarantee to put your book on that lofty pedestal. But there's a catch. You'll have to buy thousands of copies of your books, which can put your book on the list but can also brand you as a fraud. It's not worth the five-figure expense.
5. Professional Publicist Services
If you're Stephen King and you have a 35-city book tour including major newspaper and television coverage, you definitely need a publicist to keep it all on track and on time. If you're bringing out book two of your newest trilogy, you can handle all the book marketing you need all by yourself. There are some exceptions to this rule, but for many... you're not there yet.
6. Promotions on Your First Book
Face it, you want your first book to do well. Unfortunately, it can be a waste of money doing a lot of marketing if you haven't got a back catalog. (mostly talking about fiction here) Wait until you've got at least three books available online. You want to make your marketing money go as far as possible, so advertise your first book when you've got books two and three for readers to buy, once they finish reading your first. More bang for your buck.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!