You Suck at Book Marketing: How Not to Market Your Book Online


I’ve got something to confess.

I suck at marketing.

Not because I don’t know what I’m doing. I COULD market well. Hell, you could call me a marketing expert by now. But I’m lazy as f**k.

I don’t want to spend the time to write my blogs, post on social media, set up the PPC, build the funnels, monitor the traffic, write the marketing emails, blah, blah, blah. I’d rather someone else do that.

But that’s what it takes if you’re going to publish your book independently. And if that’s your plan, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m here to gleefully tell you what you’re doing wrong (and how to fix it). Ready to get roasted? No? Well, I’m gonna do it anyway. Let’s get crackin’.

1. Just Publish and Hope

I’ve seen this a lot. Like, A LOT.

If you write it, they will buy is complete B.S. And too many people believe their name is Ray Kinsella.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers. As of last year, there were over 6 million ebooks on Amazon alone. Now, whatever genre you’re writing probably represents at least 25% of that.

Now you’re at 1-2 million or so for competition.

Honestly, better odds at being found than publishing a video on YouTube. But certainly worse than the odds of becoming class president in high school. And were you class president in high school? Odds are, you weren’t. (If you were, congrats. Now you’re probably just as anonymous as the rest of us.)

Now, Amazon won’t elevate your work unless you get at least 25 reviews. If you’re not getting the word out about your novel and specifically asking for reviews, you’re going to stay at the 8,000th slot in your genre.

Is this enough to get you moving? Alright. Now let’s talk about how you’re marketing wrong. Ready?

2. Fill Your Twitter With Book Links

Nobody on Twitter cares about your book. If you’re part of #writingcommunity, they might care about your process. But everybody in that community has written a book and if they’re really curious, then they can click the link in your profile.

Social media is about community. Start communing.

If you follow any established author, they’re talking about what’s going on in their lives. They’re writing snippets about their dogs, their opinions, their failures, their successes.

Social media is entertainment. And if you’re an author, you’re in the entertainment industry. Entertain your followers. Be creative. Be weird. And above all, interact.

If you’re not commenting on other people’s Tweets and posts, you’re not doing it right. You need to be talking to people. Networking is about communication.

Lastly, if you’re following agents hoping to get a contract, don’t bug them with questions on Twitter. Be their friend; treat them like people. Leave the queries to email or agent query events.

3. You Use Your Blog as a Writing Journal

It’s fine to have a polished fiction section on your website. If you want to give away free stories, feel free. But don’t go journaling online like an emotional teenager on MySpace.

Instead, learn more about how to do content marketing the right way.

First, find a niche you’re interested in. One misconception I’d like to dispel right now: you don’t have to write about writing.

For the longest time, this misconception held me back. Something deep inside me still says I should be just as meta as all those “other” authors out there.

There’s no reason to write about writing if that niche bores you. If you’re into Star Wars, write about Star Wars storytelling. If you’re into crocheting, write about crocheting in the most creative way possible.

Why? Because you’ll build an audience. With an audience, you’ll get ranked on Google more readily. Also, it stands to reason that at least a few of those people interested in crocheting are readers. They might just wander your site and discover your book. You never know.



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