to put on the back burner. So how does a self-published author sell more books? They learn how to market it themselves. They find out what to do and what not to do. Here’s our list of 10 Major Book Marketing Myths and how to avoid their wrath. Enjoy!
Myth #1: Thinking anyone and everyone is your audience.
There’s a tendency to want to keep your audience open, not limit it. But here’s why you shouldn’t... it makes marketing messy and less effective. You can’t have a call to action or marketing piece that will appeal to everyone. Different fonts, colors, images, and calls to action appeal to different audiences. A middle-aged crowd has very different taste than pre-teens. Fight the urge to keep your options open and define your audience instead. If you really do have a large one, segment it and cater different messages to each.
Myth #2: Once my book is on Amazon, people will buy because it’s good.
One of the biggest mistakes we see indie authors make is this - they write their book, have it edited, pick a cover, and put it up on Amazon. Then they wait to see if it sells. What indie authors need to know is that building a following takes time. And getting the word out about a new book takes effort. Sure, you may sell some books just by putting them up on Amazon, but you’ll sell a lot more if you put the time and effort into your marketing.
Myth #3: Marketing is easy.
Marketing is not quantum physics, but it’s not so easy either. It requires planning, informed strategy, time, and effort to do it the right way. Some authors think marketing is just telling people about your book. Others know it’s more, but they don’t know exactly what to do about it. Mistakes and wasted time can be avoided by doing plenty of research, taking a marketing class, and polling an audience with A/B testing.
Myth #4: You can’t market your book until it’s done.
This is one of the worst and most devastating myths that most authors believe. The time to start building your marketing platform is the moment you decide that you will finish and publish your book. You don’t have to know all the details or even the final title, but you do need to know the essence of the story, it's message, and your audience. Once you are firm on your decision to complete the book, here's what to do: start building your personal platform, create a website, build your social media accounts, and start your marketing plan.
Myth #5: It doesn’t take that long for things to build.
Piggy-backing off of Myth #4 is this - the reason you cannot afford to wait to market your book until it's done is that building an audience takes a long time. The people who are going to buy from you are the ones who feel a sort of loyalty to you. And gaining loyalty takes time. Building your social media following takes time. Creating your website or saving up for someone to do it for you takes time. You’re getting the point here, right? This whole marketing thing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes planning, effort, and time.
Myth #6: You don’t need to spend money marketing your book.
Another myth is that you can ‘do marketing’ without spending money. While that sounds great, it’s just not true. Whether you’re spending time or actual currency, marketing does have a cost. You can’t simply post on social media to your friends and family and sell tons of books - you need to promote the posts and have an author page with fans. You’ll want a website and possibly advertising on social media or other relevant sites. You’ll also want reviews. While it is almost never worth it to pay for a review, you will need to cover the cost of the book itself and shipping. Sure, there are free ways to get reviews and if you’re really tight on money, it will do. But if you want reviews from influential people, spend the money to send them a real copy of your book.
Myth #7: Getting publicity is easy.
As an author, you may already know that getting interviews and the attention of the media can help to boost sales. But how do you land that interview, get your story in the paper, or be featured on a show? There isn’t an easy answer except this - you work for it. You send letters with a copy of your book, you contact show hosts, you write a press release and research to whom to send it. Nothing you can’t do, but it all takes time and a little hard work. The more you send out, the better your chances at getting exposure. And selling more books.
Myth #8: Promote your book using every possible avenue.
Another common myth is that you should promote your book on every single social media channel, every website, every place you can possibly find. While it is good to be present on as many sites as you can, that’s the key - as many as you can. Make sure you are able devote enough time to each channel that needs attention or it's detrimental. Quality is still better than quantity when it comes to marketing. And in reality, there are virtually limitless ways to promote your book. It is all about finding a good fit for you and your audience.
Myth #9: If I have a publisher I won’t need to market it myself.
This used to be much closer to the truth but now, it couldn’t be further. Traditional publishers do take on some of the marketing and publicity efforts, but with limited resources and a flooded market, publishers are now spending less time and money on your marketing. That leaves you to pick up the slack. You’ll want to build your platform, social media accounts, and work your own angles. The time to sit back and sell millions of copies is no longer. Unless you plan to hire someone to do the marketing for you.
Myth #10: I don’t know how to ‘do marketing’.
One of the main comments we hear when we ask indie authors about marketing is: “I don’t know how to do marketing.” Don’t let yourself make this excuse! Do your research, take a marketing class, or seek personal advice from a professional. While we’ve already said that this whole marketing thing isn’t easy, it’s not so hard that you can’t learn how to do it yourself! Sure you can pay a company to do it for you, but if you’re planning on making a career out of being an author, why not invest in yourself instead?
Do you know of any other book marketing myths or mistakes? Have questions about the ones we talked about? Leave us a comment! To learn more about marketing your book, skim through our site! :-)
This post was written by Karah, our Social Media Sensei. Karah is a social media specialist and marketing professional, formally educated in advertising and public relations. She stays up to date on the latest industry knowledge and welcomes questions or conversation! Leave Karah a comment below or talk to her on Twitter @the_idea_girl. She'd love to hear from you!