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How not to market a book

How Not to Market a Book

There’s a tonne of advice out there about how to market a book. I have a whole category dedicated to it.

That’s because the marketing of your book is just as important—if not more important—as the content of your book.

Without a marketing plan, your book won’t reach as many readers as it could, you won’t make much (if any) money from your books, and you’ll probably lose interest in writing all together.

But the thing is, your readers won’t come to you. You have to seek them out.

Failing to actively seek out your readers is a prime example of how not to market a book. Here’s a few more book marketing no-nos.

Make it all about you

I beseech you, read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Yes, most of the content has been repurposed or regurgitated on the internet.

But read it in that book, see it in its original context, and it will have a much greater impact on you. Not just because you’re spending your money, but because the message is always strongest from the person that created it.

The truth is, nobody cares about you.

You have to make them care.

And you do that by making it about them.

What do they want?

How can you help them achieve it?

You could write a guest post that ties into a theme in your book.

You could write a poem for social media about your book.

Do something to entertain or educate your reader. Don’t just tell people you’ve released a book and expect them to buy it just because you wrote it.

Write a crappy book description

Book descriptions matter. I’ve gone through a few iterations of mine now, and truth be told, I still hate them all. But writing book descriptions is an art in itself.

Getting the right keywords into your book description can help you to appear in more categories and get more book sales.

Expect your readers to magically come to you

As I mentioned in my post about self-publishing myths, books do not sell themselves. There is no magical fairy that finds readers for you.

Your readers won't find you - you have to find them.

Your readers will not magically come find you.

Not even on social media.

You must find them.

Reply to their social media posts.

Guest post on sites that they read.

Email them.

Do a reading at their local hangout.

Do something to find them, because unless they know that you exist, they’re not going to come looking for you.

Have no online presence

It’s the twenty-first century. You cannot get away with having no online presence. Even my nan has an online presence (just).

Every action you take on the internet leaves a presence. When you don’t have this presence, it makes you look dodgy.

Everyone from readers to potential employers wants to know that you are who you say you are.

Even if you write under a pseudonym, you need to have some form of online presence.

If you don’t, it’s going to be a whole lot harder for you to sell books.

Without a Facebook page, you can’t do Facebook Ads.

Without a Google account, you can’t do Google Ads or use Google Analytics.

Without a Twitter feed, people will wonder if you’re even human.

Network because you want book sales, not because you want friends

When your networking has an underlying motive, people can usually tell. This makes you come across as shady and slimy, and can put people off.

Strive to create genuine friendships with people, and they’ll repay you with their loyalty.

Create genuine friendships with people, and they'll reward you with their loyalty.

Some of my biggest cheerleaders are my closest friends—they share my content without my prompting (and sometimes with a little bribery), and I return the favour for them. We use each other’s platforms to boost each other up and help us to reach wider audiences. That’s what great networking is really about.

Stare at your stats but do nothing to change them

When you’ve published a book and you don’t see sales for months on end, it’s disheartening. By all means, if you want them to stay the same, keep staring at them.

If you want them to change, stop staring at your stats and go do something about it!

Here’s some tips on how to actually market a book:

  • Guest post where your readers hang out
  • Interact with your readers on social media
  • Put your readers’ interests before your own
  • Be proactive
  • Read at/attend events in your niche
  • Create an author brand that ties in with what you write about
  • Don’t post content that doesn’t fit with your niche
  • Don’t just network, make friends
  • Stop whinging that people aren’t buying your book AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

Over to You

What’s the worst book marketing advice you’ve ever been given? Share your horror stories in the comments and let’s help each other to not make more book marketing mistakes!

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ABOUT
Kristina Adams

Kristina Adams is an author of fiction and nonfiction, writing and productivity blogger, and occasional poet. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Derby and an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. When she's not writing she's reading, baking, or finding other ways to destroy the kitchen.

Her latest book, Productivity for Writers, is out now.

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