Over the years, I’ve had books to sell. I’ve learned a lot about, but certainly not everything, about marketing.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I think a good marketing author is always prepared to talk about their books, but timing is everything. You may not be ready to market.
1. Your book may not be that good. Do not assume that because you got it on paper that it deserves to have readers. If you have put shoddy work on the marketplace you are being disrespectful of writers, of the art of writing and readers everywhere. Go do what it takes to make it excellent. Need editing help? Check out this page we’ve created to connect you with some amazing editors from around the world.
2. You haven’t made a marketing plan. A plan includes thoughtful strategies on targeting your market, connections with local resources, guest blogs, and many other things. A good marketing plan spans months, not days. A good marketing plan has measurable goals. A good marketing plan is something that you work on a regular basis.
3. You aren’t interested in people. Many sensitive writer types are reclusive J.D. Salinger wannabes who never leave there house and think checking Facebook is enough social interaction for a decade. I get that. But if you want to sell then you’re going to have to get out of the house and talk to people. Readers want a connection to writers. You’ll need to make an effort. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t be surprised that your cats’ Amazon reviews of your book are the only ones you get.
4. You’ve targeted the wrong market. Marketing means finding the right people who are interested in your product and selling it to them. Many newbie writers just think people who read are a good target market. Um, no. A good market is specific. The market for my book Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day are busy people, usually educated and middle class or higher, who are creative. Many times they are stay-at-home moms who want to write around their home and child responsibilities. This market is different from the market for Falling For Your Madness. Because I kind of understand who would like my book, I need to make the effort to find them.
5. You haven’t done any research. Just like nearly everything else we do in this process, you need to learn how to market effectively. You need to take the time to use Twitter and Facebook well. You need to talk to other writers. You need to know what local resources can help you.
6. You’re not good at reading emotional cues. While I’m always prepared to talk about my books and sell my books and connect to readers, it’s not always appropriate for me to do so. If I’m so focused on me that I neglect the others’ around me, then I’m just noisy and I’ll turn off more people than I”ll ever sell to.
7. You have a cheap and amateurish cover. I think that the cover art for self-published books is one of the greatest indicators of blind spots in this industry. Get many opinions before you decide. Trust professionals. Ask artists and designers for help. Let go of your vision and let them play around with it. Study graphic design, even for a little bit, and try to understand why some art works and some make us want to poke our eyes out with a fork.
8. You think that one book is all it takes. If you’ve written something and had no training, no advice or no coaching, then it’s likely that it’s not any good. Best selling writers are those who have labored over their craft for decades. Don’t be so arrogant to think that because you can write a sentence that you can tell a great story and respect the art form of novel writing.
9. You think you’ll make real money. I had a writing friend tell me recently: “She wants to leave her job this summer. She wants to know how long it takes to write a book and how soon will she be getting a livable wage from it.” We both picked up ourselves off the floor from laughing. Most self-published books by unknown authors sell less than 100 copies. Here’s an article by Chuck Wendig that should be a reality check for you about the financial success of self-published authors. Sadly, it’s likely the only check you’ll get.
10. You don’t have much confidence in yourself. This is a tough one to get over, but if your book is amazing and your cover art is gorgeous and you’ve edited it perfectly, you can’t sell a copy unless you believe in you. People are attracted to confidence. Readers will be more interested in you if you hold your head up high. I’ve seen how amazing this is and I’ve conquered a lot of fear in my life. I know that believing in yourself works miracles.
Marketing should be a long-term, thoughtful process. Take the time to do it right and you’ll be more pleased with the results.
Have you ever marketed at the wrong time? What lessons did you learn from it?