Our authors’ answer to their most overwhelming struggle was unanimous: Market Saturation. Their secret weapon? Instagram, Book Bub, email newsletters, and bloggers were amongst the most popular. We also chatted networking and approaching publishers with many authors stressing the need to consider all publishing options before going the traditional publishing route.

This is part three, of a four-part series:

Part 1: Inspiration & Rejection

Part 2: Perseverance, Self-doubt & Isolation

Part 3: Marketing & Publishing

 Part 4: Advice to New Authors

The biggest marketing challenge

‘For new authors, I think that would be visibility in an oversaturated market.’ – Jessica Hawkins

‘The biggest marketing challenge for new authors is getting their names out there.’ – Jennifer Wilson

‘Market saturation is the biggest challenge for new authors.’ – Caroline George

‘The market is saturated with books. There’s no magic formula for finding your audience and being seen amongst the thousands of other books. It requires a lot of patience.’ – Christine Rains

‘The biggest marketing challenge is standing out. When you start using social media as an author you realize how many authors are doing the exact same. The key is to form real connections with people. An automated post every few hours saying 'Read My Book' won't get you far.’ – Abigail Shepherd

‘There are so many authors and books out there, too, and that number is growing every day, which creates a lot of competition.  Getting your books to stand out in that huge crowd is probably the hardest thing about marketing, even harder when you're independent and trying to do it all yourself.’ – Dana Fraedrich

‘Getting your name out there is hard work. You have to walk a fine line between being persistent and just plain annoying at times.’ – Lindsey Ouimet

‘Even if you’re lucky enough to be published by a larger imprint, you’ll have to do some self-promoting. Gone are the days of being able to hide and only pop out when you have a new book. You have to keep people constantly aware of your existence.’ – M. Pepper Langlinais

‘You have to figure out where your readers hang out, and to whom they listen and trust, and then somehow get those outlets to promote you and your book to that audience. But it’s a lot of work and it takes time and often money as well.’ – M. Pepper Langlinais

‘There are just so many of us! In a world a free-reads or 99ȼ books it is hard to compete. Offering a well told and well-edited story is key and of course, a beautiful cover is a must.’ – Megan Gaudino

‘The biggest challenge is simply getting your name out there and trying to make yourself stand out in a crowded market.’ – Rachel Rust

On their favorite marketing tools

Instagram

‘Personally, Instagram has been the best media outlet for me in regards to marketing.’ – E. J. Mellow

‘Instagram is the most effective for me. And blog tours.’ – Alice Rachel

‘It’d have to be a toss-up between Amazon Marketing Services and Instagram.’ – A. C. Hachem

‘Marketing is a gamble. A certain tactic could be used with several projects, yet yield different results. I’ve tried foundational book marketing tactics—media list, blog tour and social media campaigns, but have found more success with out-of-the-box methods. My secret: Instagram. Another secret: Partnerships.’ – Caroline George

Book Bub

‘I have tried multiple paid advertising services and none of them were particularly effective. The only successful means of paid advertisement I have come across is BookBub.’ – Sophie Elaine Hanson

BookBub is the current king’ – Cherie Reich

‘Book Bub.’ – Andrea R. Cooper

Newsletters

‘Newsletter cross-promotions with other authors in my genres.’ – T. F. Walsh

‘Newsletters are the easiest way to connect with your most ardent fans as social media posts tend to get lost more easily than emails.’ – Cherie Reich

Book bloggers

‘My main two marketing methods are social media and influencers. Book bloggers in the YA market are not only helpful, they are invaluable.’ – Christine Rees

‘I have found reader subscription services, particularly e-book subscription services, are great for reaching new audiences. And box subscription boxes, which are relatively new, have also been very effective.’ – C. P. Patrick

‘Joint Author Parties, Giveaways, and professional services. Actually, I should probably state those in reverse. Do NOT skimp on your book cover, layout, or editing. Do everything you can to invest in professional services in order to be competitive and attract and keep readers’  - J. Kowallis

‘I like to do blog tours to get the word out.’ – Krysten Lindsay Hager

‘Book bloggers do wonders for the Young Adult genre specifically, so it helps if you can connect with them.’ – Lindsey Ouimet

On Networking

‘Network with other writers and authors. Join groups and listen to what works and doesn’t work for others.’ – T. F. Walsh

‘As a stay-at-home mom, I had a hard time meeting other writers and craved their solidarity (no one understands a writer like another writer). So I looked up writing blogs and contacted a blogger across the country. She was very kind and convinced me to start my own blog. I met most of my critique partners and beta readers through blogging, many of who I am still friends with today.’ – Emily R. King

‘Network with other writers and authors. Join groups and listen to what works and doesn’t work for others.’ – T. F. Walsh

On approaching publishers

‘Make sure you want a publisher in the first place. Today, there are so many routes authors can take whether it be self-published, hybrid, or traditionally published. Do your research and make sure that going the traditionally published route is the right decision for you.’ – R. S. Grey

‘Learn the pros and cons of the industry and decide what’s most important to you. If creative control is most important to you, then self-publishing, hybrid publishing, or smaller publishers might be the way to go. Learn what signing with the big publishers will mean.’ – Krysten Lindsay Hager

‘Before approaching publishers or agents, please make sure this is the path you want. Then, do your homework by researching the publishers or agents you wish to query. Look at the books they have on their shelves, browse their client list, and read their submission guidelines. Please keep in mind that there is no right or wrong in publishing. We can go with traditional, indie, or hybrid. Authors have far more choices these days. Just be vigilant in your research and be honest with yourself before mapping out your next step.’ – E. Mellyberry

‘Know what the publisher is looking for. Period. Do your research, attend writer’s conferences, listen to publishers talk about their likes and dislikes, read their submissions pages and follow them to the letter.’ – Devri Wall

‘Have a polished manuscript and a killer pitch ready to go. Don’t submit prematurely. Your work is worth the wait.’ – Emily R. King

‘Only approach when you are completely ready. Your manuscript must have been revised and redrafted to the nth degree – until you can no longer do anything more with it.’ – Jodi Gibson

‘Don’t be afraid to approach them, whether it’s through a formal submission or a twitter pitch party. They’re just people like you and me. Put yourself out there and go for it—the worst they will say is no.’ – Rachel Rust

‘Get rid of the fluff. Trim the fat. People are very busy and have limited attention spans these days. Be short and to the point.’ – A. C. Hachem

‘Ensure your manuscript is as close to perfect as possible. To do this, you will need to let your story ‘rest’ before you start editing. The longer you leave your work, the more objective you will approach editing and rewriting. Do not be tempted to hurry the process.’ – Nadia L. King

‘Twelve publishers passed on Harry Potter. The publisher isn’t always right, so don’t get discouraged. Submit, submit, submit.’ – Justin Chasteen