At EditionGuard we are lucky enough to interact with authors nearly every day. Over the past few years we have seen plenty of mistakes derail the success of authors, but one area stands out more than any other.
Most authors do not know how to effectively market their book(s).
Whether you are a self-published author or have gone the traditional publishing route, marketing your book will ultimately be your responsibility.
In an effort to help authors avoid the book marketing mistakes that we have seen over the years, we reached out to several book marketing experts and successful authors to get their opinion on the following topic:
What is the biggest book marketing mistake authors make and what should they be doing instead?
Below are exact answers we received in response to the the question above. If you find these responses helpful, please share this post.
1. Forgetting That Social Media Is Social
“I think the biggest online book marketing mistake new authors make is forgetting that social media is social. They broadcast “buy my book” everywhere and fail to interact with people.
Authors need to remember social media is for making friends, not direct sales. The sales come later. Don’t expect immediate results. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Plus, you’re writers, not marketers, so write!
That’s why I think blogging is an author’s best marketing tool.”
Anne R. Allen is an author of eight comic mysteries and a collection of short stories and poems. She is also the co-author of a guidebook for writers, written with Amazon superstar Catherine Ryan Hyde. Before becoming an author, Anne was an actress, bookseller and the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA.
2. Failing To Interact With Readers and Fellow Writers
“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes authors make is failing to interact with readers and fellow writers as human beings. Too many marketing strategies come across as self-focused and/or robotic. Not only do pushy me-me pitches and mechanical sales-only approaches turn off readers, they are also wasted opportunities.
Approach your marketing with an attitude of genuineness, openness, and generosity. Put yourself in readers’ shoes. What messages would you appreciate from authors? What messages would annoy you?
Same goes for networking with fellow authors. Don’t pitch “trades” (for Facebook likes, book reviews, link promotions) that compromise your integrity, and don’t ask for favors you wouldn’t wholeheartedly grant yourself.
Ultimately, good marketing is about empathy. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and learn to think and feel the way they do.”
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.
3. Not Starting To Market Their Book Early Enough
“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes most authors make is: They don’t start marketing their book early enough. Reviewers need lots of lead time, book tours should be organized months before the actual tour begins, your local book library and bookstore often arrange their scheduled author appearances six months before a book is actually published.
It’s important to have a carefully thought out marketing plan, but the real trick is to put it to work long before your book is ready to launch.”
Betty Kelly Sargent is the founder of BookWorks.com, the Self-Publisher’s Association, an online community and resource for indie authors and professional service providers. Betty is the former Editor-in-Chief of William Morrow, Executive Editor of Harper Collins and Delacorte Press, Fiction and Books Editor of Cosmopolitan, and book reviewer for CNN.
4. Having Vague Goals and Not Having A Marketing Plan
“One of the biggest mistakes an author makes is having vague goals and not having a marketing plan in place. It’s essential to having a marketing plan around your book. Books don’t just sell themselves. This is probably where you’ll spend most of your time and a good chunk of your money.
As an indie or self-published author it’s really important to do your research before making any vendor, retail, or editorial services decisions. It’s a lot of work, but thinking through all the pieces will prevent you from wasting potentially thousands of dollars and hours of time.”
Miral Sattar is founder and CEO of BiblioCrunch, an award-winning author services marketplace that matches authors with quality, aware-winning professionals to get new books and apps to market. She has working in the media industry for 11 years, most recently at TIME where she launched several digital initiatives including an iPad and mobile site, mobile apps, a video and podcast channel, blogs and SEO. Her writing has been featured in TIME, CNN, NY Daily News, among other media publications.
5. Not Realizing That Being An Author Is A Business
“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes is not realizing this is a business. Everything stems from that because if you treat writing, publishing and promoting your book like a business, you make decisions that are aligned with growing a business – as opposed to simply appeasing your ego.
I’m an author myself so I can say that’s a very real thing! If you treat being an author like running a business you will also start to realize that (like a business) things take time. It took me three years to make AME profitable – time and patience and hard work – are keenly important when running a successful business.
So don’t sit back and wait for success to find you just because your book is finally up on Amazon. There are over 4,500 books published every single day. An author’s work is not over when the book goes up for sale, in a lot of ways it’s just beginning. Most of us write because it comes easy, it’s the promotion and marketing that are foreign to a lot of people, it’s growing the business that trips people up.
A quick fix is to find trusted sources and commit to not only learning from them, but implementing their tips and recommendations. A step up from that would be finding a company to partner with, that can help take you to the next level. But don’t lose sight of the fact that even if you hire someone, this is still your business to run, so be the CEO your book deserves and do everything you can to aid in its success.”
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Find out more at http://www.amarketingexpert.com.
6. Expecting Amazon To Generate Sales
“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes I see authors make is not doing it at all. They put their eBook up on Amazon and expect sales to roll in magically, then they’re disappointed with the results.
The fundamental thing about marketing a book is the same as marketing any other product; it’s a multi-channel and continuous effort that yields results in the mid to long term. Starting this effort as early as possible, even before the launch of the book itself is of paramount importance.
Also, instead of focusing on just one or two channels like social media or forums, spreading the word out on as many channels as possible is more prudent, as it’s difficult to tell which channels will return the best results and making more informed decisions will be easier with a variety of data at hand.”
Turgay Birand began his entrepreneurial career while still a student in college in 2001. Since then he’s been building and operating many digital assets such as e-commerce stores and SaaS businesses. As the founder of EditionGuard he’s currently focused on helping and shaping the eBook self-publishing sector by empowering smaller authors and publishers with the secure distribution tools they need.
7. Not Obtaining Endorsements Prior To Publishing
“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes many independently published authors make is to wait until their book is published to market it. Instead of waiting until the birth of a book, marketing should start with the conception.
One largely underutilized marketing technique that begins prior to publication of a book is obtaining endorsements. The majority of independently published authors neglect this very powerful and free marketing tool. Endorsements are secured prior to the publication of a book from influencers and other authors who speak to your target audience. They help you sell more books by expanding your audience and signaling readers that an influencer has deemed your book worthy of their time and money.”
Sarah Bolme is the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace (www.marketingchristianbooks.com), now in its third edition. As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (www.christianpublishers.net) she helps independent authors and small publishers market their books in the Christian marketplace.
8. Not Understanding Who Their Exact Audience Is
“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes authors make is not understanding who their exact audience is and instead engaging in general “buy my book” promotion on social media.
Investing time to uncover what makes one’s book special (a subject, interest, theme, or other element) will allow the author to search online to find people interested in this same element. The author can then put their energy toward building genuine relationships with this potential audience using their favorite social spaces. By interacting authentically (through discussion, sharing, and adding value) rather than promoting, the author builds trust and friendship, turning readers into fans and influencers.”
Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, as well as four others. Her guides are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
9. Focusing On The Launch Period To The Exclusion of the Pre-Lauch Period
“The biggest book marketing mistake authors make when marketing books is that they focus on the launch period to the exclusion of the pre-launch period.
Marketing for a book begins the moment you get the idea (or decide to become an author). Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need to build an author platform. That can take years! But it is the foundation for all book marketing. Without platform, you have no audience to which to market.
When you know you have a book to launch–and you know when it will launch, set up promotion for the month prior to that release. This builds up pre-sales, which help the book become a bestseller. When it trends on the Amazon Top 100 list in its category, it gets noticed by potential readers, which increases sales.
With a platform and pre-launch marketing plan in place, develop a launch strategy for the month or two after the book launches. Books are marketed over time. In fact, book marketing is ongoing…for the life of the book.”
Nina Amir is an author, with 14 books written to date, an Author Coach, Blog and Blog-to-Book Coach, nonfiction Book Coach and High Performance Coach. She is also a nonfiction book proposal consultant and editor.
10. Not Realizing That They Aren’t Just Authors — They Are Also In Sales
“One of the biggest book marketing mistakes authors make it not realizing that they aren’t just authors — they are also in sales.
Your book’s success will be based almost entirely on how much you actively market it.”
Ann Handley is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Ann is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and the co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules: How To Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. She is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs: a LinkedIn Influencer: a keynote speaker, mom and writer.