Sunday, September 15, 2019

Merchandising and the Indie Writer.

"Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money is made!"
So sayeth one of the greatest minds of our time.

Marketing is an extremely crucial part of being an indie writer. After all, who's going to want to read your story if no one knows it exists? Whether you self publish on Amazon Kindle or go the POD route, you're going to have to get out there and sell, sell, sell! After all, coffee is for @#^% closers!

Of course, for us socially and social media awkward types, marketing can be one of the most difficult aspects of indie writing. I know I'm not a fan. However, something that is often overlooked is that marketing doesn't have to be boring, grueling or even expensive. There's a way to have fun with marketing and it actually has many benefits to you as an indie writer beyond selling books. I'm talking, of course, about merchandising!

Now, when I say merchandising, I don't mean mass-market licensing or anything like that (although that's kinda what the literal definition is). I'm talking more along the lines of faux merchandising; you know, arts & crafts type of projects that you make at home. Things like your own toys:

 Prop replicas:
Heck, even candy:

These are just a few examples from my own personal, but really there is no limit. If you can think of it, you can slap your book onto it. Not only will your merchandise be fun for you, but it'll be fun for your fans as well and help generate interest in your book. Having some merchandise available to show-off at your next book signing or display on your webpage or blog (!!!) is a great way to attract attention. Certainly anyone passing by is more inclined to take a second look at your table if there's something physical to attract them. It will also greatly assist in explaining what your book is about. If you have something to physically represents the characters (ie. toys, posters, etc.) you can point to the merchandise every time you mention said character. The physical representation will help the listener to follow along (their minds won't have to work so hard to recall who you're talking about) and it will stick with them longer. They'll be able to focus more on your book and ultimately increase your chances of making a sell. You could even use your merchandise with a promotion; a drawing or contest such as 100th person to purchase my book this merchandise (don't forget to sign it!).

Merchandising also helps you, the indie writer, with your writing. Having that physical representation can help you feel closer to your story and your characters. Hit a wall of writer's block? Work on a merchandising project. It'll give you a much needed break from the pen (keyboard?) without taking your mind off the story. It's also a fun way to get excited about writing. It's all too easy to get burnt out writing, but a merchandising project will give you something to focus on while simultaneously heightening your excitement with your story. It'll also give you a sense of accomplishment that will give you confidence in your story.

In these "Merchandising, Merchandising!" articles I'll be detailing my own merchandising projects. How I made them, why I made them; that sort of thing. Hope you enjoy!


My life as an Indie Writer - What the duece is an Indie Writer?

What is an Indie Writer?

An independent writer, or quite simply an Indie Writer, is a writer that is published but not with a traditional publishing house be it big, moderate or even minuscule. An Indie Writer is a writer that takes their stories and publishes them on their own. Perhaps they publish their work on their own website, maybe on a blog very similar to this one, maybe on Amazon Kindle or elsewhere on the web. Maybe they have the skills to produce their own ebook, or maybe they produce their own physical paper copies either through a Print-on-demand type of company or the old fashioned office copier. However the Indie Writer chooses their own method to publish their work, the key point is “their own.” Some might call this self-publishing, but I feel indie sounds so much sexier. Besides, that is exactly what we are: independent. Just like the indie film maker, the indie musician, or any indie artist, Indie Writers ply our craft ourselves by the sweat of our brows. We all have a story that is so dear to our hearts that we want to share it with the world. Our story may be one that changes lives or it might just be a silly little thing to entertain, but either way the story is our very reason for being. Our purpose. Maybe our purpose is not quite so...insane as Ego the Living Planet's, but it is a grand purpose none the less.

We put more energy than we can spare into it. We risk our very sanity for it. Through things like our own marketing, promotion, and our efforts to see our work in print, electronic and/or physical, our story sucks our money up like a vampire but we gladly feed it our very soul. Writing is our blessing and it is our curse. Some days we love our writing and some days we hate it. Sometimes we even just want to say screw it all and give it up forever, but we never do. As Indie Writers we are indeed writers. Writing is what we were born to do and writing is what we shall continue to do until the day we die. We couldn’t, wouldn’t want it any other way.

That is what an Indie Writer is.