As a book publishing company, we harp constantly about book marketing and how important it is for authors to market their books. More often than not, we get these explanations, excuses, reasons, etc. why authors won’t or can’t market their own books. When we ask authors where they come up with these things, we often hear, “Oh it’s what we’ve been told for years,” or “Honey! That advice is all over the internet.”
So, in an effort to debunk the marketing lies that hold authors back from successfully marketing their books, we list and explain why these are nothing more than lies, lies, and more lies.
1) I don’t need to market my book because it will sell itself: I wrote it didn’t I.
Why it’s a lie: No book sells itself and it doesn’t matter who wrote it. Even the most famous authors around have to tell others about their books.Let’s address the fact that you wrote it for a second. Um, and you are? Nobody cares who you are or what you do. They care about what your book is going to do for them. They care about whether or not your book will entertain them, annoy them, or change their life somehow. Being a celebrity in your own mind will not just sell your books.
2) The celebrities I know on Facebook or Twitter will help me sell my book.
Why this is a lie: First, most of the celebrities such as Puffy, Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, etc. are either authors themselves or have had books written about them. Their focus is going to be marketing their own books long before they market yours. Also, celebrities are too busy growing their own business or running the country to take the time out to market your book. Marketing takes time and when you’re running a country or a conglomerate, marketing some author they don’t know and is just a Twitter or Facebook follower is not going to happen.
3) If I could just get on Oprah’s OWN network or on the Ellen Degeneres show, my book will be a bestseller.
Why this is a lie: There have been authors who have been on numerous national TV shows. There is no denying it is fantastic exposure, and it’s the kind of exposure that most authors who love to have and those that have it work hard on it.However, making one appearance on a TV show does not guarantee bestseller status. If your book doesn’t seem interesting or you don’t come across as genuine or interesting, all the TV shows in the world are not going to sell your books and even if they do, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll sell enough to be considered a bestseller.
4) All I’ve got to do is create a website, send people there and my books will sell.
Why it’s a lie: Having a web site should certainly be a part of your marketing strategy, but it’s only one part of an overall strategy. Authors should use social media sites, do events, blogging, media appearances, etc. to help sell your books. Your web site alone won’t help you sell a lot of books.
5) My book appeals to everybody.
Why it’s a lie: No book appeals to everybody. Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. Take a look at the Amazon Top 100 list or even the New York Times bestsellers list and we’ll bet there are books on that list you have no interest in reading.
6) I’m an author, not a salesperson.
Why it’s a lie: Your book, your responsibility. Your book is not going to sell itself. With publishing comes the responsibility of putting your own name out there and letting folks know you’ve got a book out there and convincing them to buy it. This might mean speaking at your local school, doing webinars, doing book tours, etc., but whatever it is you do, it is still your responsibility to do what needs to be done to get your book out there.
7) If I buy an ad on Facebook, Google (or some other highly populated website) my book will sell tons of copies.
Why it’s a lie: It is true that millions of people use Facebook and Google but hits here don’t necessarily turn into sales. Think about it: when was the last time you purchased something as a result of seeing an ad for it on one of these sites? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably “never.”
8) Once my book is out it’s going to sell so well, I’ll get to make writing my full-time gig.
Why it’s a lie: This is every author’s dream, but unfortunately few writers are able to make a full time living from doing nothing but writing. Most authors make $1 to $2 in royalties for every book that is sold and if you’re selling your book as an Ebook on Amazon, you’re making even less. Plus, since most books don’t even sell 500 copies and even if it did 500 copies isn’t enough to live off of, you won’t be able to quit your day job.
9) My success is going to be immediate.
Why it’s a lie: There is no such thing as immediate success for an author. Not one author alive or dead got immediate success. We know it’s a great fantasy to have but it’s just that, a fantasy. Success is never immediate and when it is, it doesn’t last long. Success takes time, effort and lots of hard work. This lie goes hand in hand with the author believing that just because they wrote the book, they think it will sell. Nope!
10) If my publisher published my book, they will spend a lot of time and effort marketing it.
Why it’s a lie: Please read what we are about to write and take heed to it: The fact is, your publisher has already taken a chance on your book by agreeing to publish it. They have already paid for editing, layout, cover design, printing, distribution, shipping, and marketing. The publishers only responsibility is to make your book available for sale. We know that’s a hard pill for most authors to swallow, but it’s the truth.
Not every title gets a big marketing budget. In fact, few books get marketing budgets, period. These budgets are usually reserved for authors who already have a reputation for producing books that sell. These are authors who have a platform, a fan base that wants to read the books that they write. Publishers are depending upon authors to deliver the fans that will buy their books. Publishers, now more than ever, are expecting the author to do most of their own marketing. If you get a chance to get a publisher the first time around and your book doesn’t sell well because you haven’t marketed your own book, don’t expect to be published the second time around from the same publisher. Investing in an author is expensive and nothing is more frustrating to a publisher than investing in an author that won’t invest in themselves. Investing in yourself means telling folks about your book, marketing your book. It’s your book, your responsibility.
So, we’ve just debunked the 10 biggest book marketing lies ever told. Hopefully, you understand that marketing begins and ends with you. There is also no “one size fits all” approach or magic bullet when it comes to marketing your books. It takes a lot of different things: writing great books, building relationships, hard work, persistence and patience, to achieve success as an author. So tell everyone about your book, consistently tell folks about your book, work hard, don’t give up, and believe that you can and will be successful.
Until the next blog!
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