ten book marketing mistakes new authors make

If you are new to self-publishing, avoid making these assumptions, and book marketing mistakes.

You have written your book at last, and it is finally available on Amazon, Kindle and all the other retailers. So the next thing to do is open a Twitter account, start a fancy looking Facebook page and perhaps design a new website, and maybe get back to using your blog, which you had forgotten all about while getting your book written and published. Then the sales will roll in.

So, so very wrong! Here are ten book marketing mistakes to avoid.

Mistake No. 1.

Thinking that you need to sell your book is probably the most common mistake new authors make. Cars need sales people to sell them. Real estate needs agents to sell houses. Books cannot be sold like this. They are bought by readers, with no one pushing a pen and a contract across a desk and pressuring them to sign.

Mistake No. 2.

Thinking that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can help to sell books. Social media is very useful for an author in building an interested following. But in saying that, you need to be seen as an interesting or informative person to gain these followers and friends. People want interaction, information or light entertainment on social media. Not book covers and Amazon links.

Mistake No. 3.

Releasing a book with no marketing plan. Readers can only buy books that they have heard about. A marketing plan is the means by which you plan to make your book known to potentially interested readers.

Mistake No. 4.

Thinking that the world is a huge book market, and that your book will appeal to everyone. In reality, your book, like all books, will only be of potential interest to a very tiny part of the market. This is your niche market. If you don’t know what it is, you need to find out.

Mistake No. 5.

Thinking that having the title of an author will impress people. It doesn’t, and especially nowadays when everyone can or is an author. Basing your online presence around the title of author is not going to sell books. ‘Author of the Up The Spout’, is now so common, it is an instant turn off. Being someone interesting, though, can and does attract book buyers.

Mistake No. 6.

Not understanding the importance of metadata. In some respects, book marketing can be as simple as getting your books in the right place. Books at the front of a bookstore always sell better that those at the back. But today, this means at the front of an online store. To get any attention at all, a book needs to be published with precise metadata, which includes categories, keywords, a short book description, ISBN and title. Metadata is how book buyers can find your book – and buy it.

Mistake No. 7.

Using ‘kill’ words online. These include check out my book, buy my book, check out my blog, get my book for free, free for two days only or five-star reviews for my book. These ‘call to action’ words and phrases might work for dishwashing detergent, but not for books. The mistake many new authors make is in not thinking how they themselves react to these ‘kill’ words. Most often, the honest answer is, negatively.

Mistake No. 8.

If you haven’t invested any money into your book, don’t expect a return on your investment. Money spent on a great cover, good editing (or at least thorough proofreading) and online promotion before during and after the release is money well spent. It does not need to be a huge investment, but you get what you pay for.

Mistake No. 9.

Promoting a free ebook. Why waste time and probably money on promoting something that has no possibility of making a cent in return? The days of giving away 1,000s of free ebooks to help a book’s ranking on Amazon are long gone. On top of that, free ebooks are a great way to attract one-star troll reviewers. Why give them a chance?

Mistake No. 10.

Failing to use your book’s themes and topics as the cornerstones of attracting interest. Telling the world that you book is a crime thriller is of no real interest, but if its theme is about mafia gangs in Naples in the 19th century, this may well be of interest to some readers. Follow blogs related to the theme of your book, comment, interact and inform people of your knowledge and build an audience, but leave any mention of your book aside. If you interest people they will discover your book, and discovery is by far the most powerful bookselling tool in your marketing cabinet. Use it.

Free Bonus Mistake.

Not having a second book underway or almost ready. Relying on one book will rarely bring in a lot of royalties. Writing a second book will help, as will a third. Most importantly, the lessons learned from a debut book can be invaluable in not making the same mistakes again. Writing and self-publishing is a steep learning curve and only those who persevere and are willing to learn succeed.

An Extra Free Bonus Mistake.

Not reading advice articles such as this. There is no shortage of sound advice available on the Internet for new and not so new self-published authors. Use other people’s experience to help you understand how to give your book its best chance of success. Keeping up to date on news in the industry, changes, which are constant, and trends in online publishing all help in making better decisions.

I know how bad the consequences of these mistakes can really be, because I have made absolutely all of them over the years. Take a short cut on gaining experience the hard way, and try not to make my mistakes all over again.

This page was last updated on February 9th, 2017

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5 thoughts on “Ten Book Marketing Mistakes New Authors Make

  • November 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm
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    Great advice. I do try to avoid most of them. I didn’t think saying my books was free was an issue though. I thought people might like to see something free in this current day and age.

    Reply
  • January 9, 2017 at 4:06 am
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    Great advice! Thank you.

    Reply
  • March 7, 2017 at 6:53 pm
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    This is excellent advice. Thank you! I harp on #10 a lot, especially with novelists. I refer to this as finding the “nonfiction nuggets” in your manuscript and using them to connect with the right readers. it’s especially important with publicity and guest blogging.

    Sandra Beckwith

    Reply
  • April 19, 2017 at 1:57 pm
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    As to free books, please take into consideration that there are people who cannot afford the 0.99 for e-books. People on welfare, pensioners, the disabled. So, make your books free when you can. Bollocks to the trolls, most of them only have half a brain.

    Reply

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