When it comes to book marketing, there are a lot of fallacies. And by fallacies, I mean outright book marketing lies.
Indie authors hear — and tell themselves — a lot of things that either don’t work, or simply aren’t true. In fact, the list below could go on and on, but instead, I’ve decided to pick some of the most common book marketing lies and share how you can improve. So let’s start by identifying these challenges, and then we can start changing the conversation! So you want to sell more books?
Ready to see which book marketing lies you’ve been telling?
Read on to find out what book marketing lies you need to stop telling yourself, effective immediately.
Lie #1: I’m not good with computers or social media and I don’t know how to do all of that stuff!
When authors tell me that, I encourage them to learn. If you don’t want to learn, then you’d better be prepared to hire someone to do all of this for you. Spoiler alert: it won’t be cheap. If you want to just keep writing, that’s fine, but know that your books will never reach any kind of success. Why? Because books don’t succeed on their own. Your book isn’t the field of dreams, just because you wrote it, people won’t beat a path to your door.
If you’re going to publish a book, get ready to take responsibility for all of the stuff you don’t like to do, or maybe don’t have time to do. You have a few choices: Learn and make time, or spend the money on hiring someone to do all of the book marketing work – including social media – for you.
Lie # 2: I need a lot of early endorsements.
Having big names endorsing your book is a great thing. But it’s not, by any stretch of the imagination, the way to pull in more book sales. I’ve honestly never seen a direct correlation between a heavy-hitter list of endorsements and selling more books. I often speak with authors who want to hire us to get them early endorsements for their book and are ready with the wish list of big names. Here’s the thing: if you don’t have a particular connection to that person, or persons, I would not make that a priority.
Keep in mind that as book endorsements, blurbs or reviews come in, you’ll find yourself getting reviews on Amazon. By this, I mean that people will likely post them directly to your Amazon book page. And if they don’t land there automatically, you can always add them. To that end, because most of us aren’t printing huge quantities of books, you can also easily redo book covers to add them.
Don’t hold up your book pending a long list of endorsements. Get your book out there and market it like crazy. By being doing so consistently, you’ll find that the blurbs and endorsements will come!
Lie #3: I don’t have a marketing budget. My book will sell on its own.
No, it won’t. No book sells just because it’s pretty or well-written. If you don’t have a marketing budget, of any kind, you should reconsider whether publishing the book now is the right course. You may find it best to wait till you have some money saved up.
Lie #4: I need big reviews from big magazines!
Publishers Weekly is an awesome magazine, as is Library Journal, and others. But having a review in one of those magazines doesn’t guarantee you success. Similarly, not having a review there won’t plummet your book into obscurity. Most of the books we work with have never been reviewed these places and do just fine. Now, if you have the opportunity to get a review there, absolutely go for it. But don’t despair if you don’t.
Lie #5: I have a lot of friends who will help me promote my book.
No, in fact, you don’t. And all those people who said they’d buy your book probably won’t. I know you may think I’m an awful person for saying this, but statistically its very true. Of all the book marketing lies that authors complain to me about, this is the biggest. Don’t rely on advanced promises from people you know. It’s not that they don’t care, but everyone is busy. Expect to not sell a single copy to your friends and family. And then any books you sell, will be a bonus. Managing your own expectations is key here and will help you avoid some serious hurt feelings.
Also, you can ask your friends and family to share your book on their social networks, but will that really move the needle on book sales? It might, if their audience resonates with your book. But in all likelihood they may not have a reach to your readers. So any support from friends and family should be a bonus, not a marketing cornerstone.
Lie #6: I’m a writer, not a marketing person.
You’d better be both because publishing is a business.
When I first started my business, there were a lot of things I didn’t like doing, but initially I did them all. Eventually I was able to make enough revenue that I could start hiring people to do some of the stuff I wasn’t very good at, but at first it’s all you. Even if you hire a book marketing company to help you, you should always be engaged in your own success because very few people can afford professional help full time, and for the long haul.
Lie #7: If my book hasn’t taken off in the first month, it probably won’t take off at all.
This is completely untrue. Some books take time, and others take a lot of time. When we work on book marketing campaigns, we sometimes see books that just take off while others take awhile. How much time? Well, that’s anyone’s guess. But keep in mind that most of the more successful campaigns are built on the long runway of book promotion. What’s that? Well, if you’ve ever flown in a plane you know that most planes need a long runway to take off, right? Book promotion is a lot the same way. You need a good head of steam, and a long runway before your book will start to soar.
Lie #8: I’m doing all the right things and my books aren’t selling.
Then you probably aren’t doing all the right things. Maybe it’s time for a solid assessment of what you could be doing more of. Is your book cover strong enough? Is your book synopsis pulling in readers? Do you have enough reviews?
If you answered “not sure” to these three questions, then you probably aren’t doing enough and should add a few more things to your marketing activities. Alternatively, you could spend some coaching time with a professional to get a sense of what else you might be able to do to pull in more attention to your book.
Lie #9: I’m going to write one book and see what happens.
I can understand just wanting to write one book, but my advice is to write more if you want to be an author for a living. You can’t stop with one book. Always have something else in the funnel to give to your readers. Most first books don’t sell like gangbusters. Some don’t sell well at all. But the second book, once it’s out there, often helps to sell your first and so on. This works even if the books aren’t in a series. None of my books are a series, per se, but each book release helps to revive interest in my backlist.
Lie #10: Each marketing effort I do should pay for itself.
Let’s face it, most marketing efforts don’t pay for themselves. Most marketing efforts do well because there are several pieces of marketing going on at the same time. Assessing whether one thing you did in marketing was successful is often pretty tough to do, which is why I recommend that you have several things going on concurrently. Plus the old adage still rings true, that buyers need on average, at least 7 impressions with a product before they buy it, so don’t assume you’ll be an exception to the rule.
At the end of the day this list of book marketing lies sums up some all too common excuses that are preventing authors from being successful. Yes, it’s hard work. But starting any business is hard work. And if you didn’t realize that becoming an author was the same as starting a business, this article is even more important to your continued success!
I want to encourage you to turn problems, or roadblocks, into opportunities.
If something isn’t working, find a new way to go about it, or replace it with something new that make end up working really well for you.
If you don’t know how to do something, learn. Knowledge is power and pretty much required for success. Have more book marketing lies I forgot? Or that you think should be included? Feel free to add them in the comments section! And if you found this helpful, be sure to share!
And if you’re unsure of next steps you can certainly check out our assessment, where we’ll give you some in-depth feedback on key areas of your platform, and what you can be doing to improve your position in the market!