How to NOT be distasteful when it comes to marketing your book

Every Friday I write a post on the Self Publishing Advisor blog.  Today’s post may be applicable to those of you who are always trying to find the right balance when it comes to marketing your book using social media platforms.  Here it is:

★★★

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with an author who is in the final stages of writing his book.  He was trying to get prepared for the publishing process and get an idea about how book marketing will work.  He made it very clear that he thinks an author marketing his own book is distasteful.  Once the book is published he wants to do absolutely nothing to promote it and wants to sell one million copies.  He asked if I thought this was reasonable.  In a word?  No.

As a self-published author, your marketing efforts are the most important thing when it comes to your book sales.  You could write and publish the most amazing fiction story with beautiful formatting, an eye-catching cover design, have it edited to perfection and available for sale (print-on-demand).  If at that point you choose to sit back and watch the sales grow without putting any effort into promoting your book, chances are there won’t be anything to watch.  Sure, someone might discover it and share it with a few friends and you might have a few sales here and there, but it is unlikely that your sales will gain momentum.

Is marketing your own book distasteful?

Not if it’s done right.  Constantly talking about yourself and your book can certainly be a turnoff for most people.  Subtly promoting your book is very different from constantly cramming it down everyone’s throat.  For example, if you are using social media platforms to promote your book (such as setting up a Facebook page for your book), you might choose to “like” other pages on Facebook that give you the opportunity to promote your book even more.  You can choose the distasteful (spam) route of posting a link to your own Facebook page, website or listing for your book on Amazon every day on those other pages.  OR you can present yourself as an expert in your field, whether it be as a writer, or something more specific to your niche audience, and get involved in conversations, comment on what others are saying and post your own unique comments and discussion questions.  You might ask: how does this promote the book?  As you begin to interact with people more, they will want to know more about you.  They might choose to “like” your Facebook page or visit your website (assuming you have a link to it on your Facebook page) and there they will discover your book.  Having already been won over by your excellent comments, advice and discussions, they are instantly interested in buying your book.

What if I’m not promoting my book online?

I gave an online marketing example above because marketing with social media is becoming more and more popular every day.  It’s easy and it’s free!  If you aren’t using social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the same idea applies for face-to-face marketing.  Every author should have business cards with their cover image on one side and their website URL included in their contact information.  If you pass out your business card to everyone you pass on the street, chances are the majority of those cards will get thrown in the trash.  The key is to give away your cards to people you’ve already engaged in conversation about your book (when the time is right).

So, is marketing your own book distasteful?  Absolutely not!  You need to find the balance when it comes to promoting your book.  Don’t cram it down anyone’s throat, but take the opportunities that come to you.  You don’t have to make marketing a full-time job, but you do need to make sure you are promoting your book as much as you can in order to increase your sales, if that is your ultimate goal.

DISCUSSION: Let’s make this fun this week!  Tell me your best story of distasteful online marketing.  Our comments will be a list of “what NOT to do!”  Have fun!

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About Kelly Schuknecht

Kelly Schuknecht works in publishing and book marketing. As an avid reader and blogger, Kelly posts book reviews at Read & Tell Reviews (www.readandtellreviews.blogspot.com) and writes here about writing, publishing and book marketing here.
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One Response to How to NOT be distasteful when it comes to marketing your book

  1. Tony Maxey says:

    Thank you for this. As an author aspiring to be published in the future who has spent years in internet marking, I cannot conceive of having any success unless I am willing to work pretty hard to promote my work. Cold calls, never, a web site with my personal ‘brand’ and an active effort on my part to obtain traffic are in my view absolutely essential.

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