Nightscape Series

The Trials of Marketing an Indie Book

David EdwardsComment

While I did some marketing for the Nightscape film and to a lesser extent, the first novel in the series, Nightscape: Cynopolis will be the first release to be accompanied by a concerted marketing effort. My marketing plan falls into four main categories: reviews, advertisements, earned media and promotions. What follows are a few notes in each category so you have a better sense of what I'm up to behind the scenes.

Reviews. Soliciting reviews has taken a considerable chunk of time. I've developed a small, but motivated street team to help seed critical sites with honest (and hopefully, positive) reviews and beyond that, pitched a variety of magazines and websites. To ensure a few well-placed reviews, I've paid for reviews from Kirkus and The Midwest Book Review. I tried for Publishers Weekly but was summarily declined (for what, I can't say, as the magazine doesn't provide individualized rejection letters). The magazine reviews a relatively small percentage of the submissions it receives, so I knew I was up against long odds. (The most recent issue, for instance, features only five science-fiction/fantasy/horror reviews.) 

On the upside, my introductory press release was compelling enough to garner the interest of about ten genre-oriented websites--some magazines, like the Lovecraft-oriented Arkham Digest, and some blogs, like Cuppa Geek. I sent queries to over 70 potential venues and have signed on with a firm that organizes virtual tours, so I'm hopeful I'll see the number of acceptances climb over the next several weeks.

Advertisements. I'm experimenting with a handful of magazine ads to determine if they help drive web traffic or reviews, if not sales. I picked Fangoria for its popularity and Shock Cinema for its indie appeal. I also took out an ad in Xnoybis, a new weird fiction journal edited by the genre's superlative multi-tasker, publisher/writer/musician/bicycle hater Jordan Krall. These ads will be complemented by some online advertising, mainly via three JournalStone properties (HellNotes, BuyZombie, Horror Review and Horror World), along with Facebook. (Curiously enough, weird fiction can be a targeting element for Facebook ads.)

 Earned Media. I haven't made much progress here yet as it's still fairly early given the book's October 20 pub date. But I'm hoping for a few media interviews and/or guest blogs as part of my virtual tour. I also hope to secure an article in a Detroit newspaper as the city figures prominently in the book. This aspect of my plan is probably the least developed as it hinges on a lot of factors outside my control. I'll be releasing a couple of key press releases via PR Log (free) just to maintain some presence among outlets that otherwise might never have heard of the book.

Promotions. I'm tentatively planning on giving away the soon-to-be-released eBook for Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils for a limited period, probably during the two weeks before the release of Cynopolis. If I go this route, it will be the first time I've done a giveaway. But it apparently works for other, similarly-positioned writers, so I'm likely to give it a shot.

In the main, responses to early solicitations for Cynopolis have been gratifyingly positive. But it does sometimes feel like I'm spitting in the wind, especially when some of the most prominent venues steadfastly refuse to consider self-published work. I have no choice but to believe that persistence and most importantly, a larger body of work, will eventually win out despite the systemic barriers. If you're inclined to help me break down these walls, I'm still recruiting street team members, so please contact me. As a member of my street team you'll receive every Nightscape release in advance in exchange for posting an honest review on or shortly after its public release date to one or more websites. Thanks for your consideration!