There are lots of mistakes that authors can make when it comes to book promotion. Undoubtedly one of the biggest ones is not taking time during the book publishing phase to create a professional and high-quality book, but that’s a topic for another day.
Let’s dive into the top mistakes we see author’s make (that they don’t even realize they’re making) when it comes to promoting their book.
Mistake #1: Not Doing it Enough
Too often authors get hung up on “launch week.” They are eagerly anticipating that moment when their book goes live on Amazon and they’ve calculated how many books they need to sell on day one to become a #1 Amazon category bestseller. They have newsletters ready to go out announcing the book, social media content prepped, and have even lined up some podcast interviews for the week of launch to create a buzz around the book.
Now let me be clear: all of this is great work and all authors should do it. But probably the number one mistake we see authors making is sinking all their energy into launch week and failing to think beyond that first week. Which is why we tell our clients “it’s not launch week, it’s launch year.”
Launching a book, especially a self–published book, takes hustle. It requires a multifaceted approach to keep selling books regularly that might include using social media, running special promotions, getting out to local libraries and bookstores, contacting local media, reaching out to podcasts, and asking for book reviews. And then, once you’ve done all these things, you turn around and do it all again.
Mistake #2: Not Budgeting for Book Promotion
Another failure we see is that many authors who choose to self-publish– particularly if they hire a company like ours to handle all the logistics for them– forget to leave some room in their budget for marketing.
While there are lots of marketing efforts that are technically free, there are some paid book promotion strategies that are worth considering depending on your book genre and ideal audience. This could look like running Amazon Ads for your book, dabbling in Facebook ads to build your audience, or running a promotion to get your ebook in front of thousands of potential readers.
Other paid promotion strategies might look like paying for editorial reviews to add to your book listing page, or booking an interview on a TV program to discuss your book. While you might not make your money back in sales, it’s a good idea to determine a marketing budget upfront so that you’re not caught off guard when you realize you also need to market your book.
Once you have your budget, determine how you will measure the success of your book (sales, readers, more business, etc.) and come up with a realistic marketing plan to meet those goals.
Mistake #3: Not Being Your Biggest Fan
To be not only a successful writer but also a successful marketer you need to be your biggest fan. If you don’t believe in yourself and your book then who else will?
So what does being your biggest fan look like? It looks like strategically placing your book behind your computer chair so that everyone on your Zoom screen can see it. It looks like contacting local media and telling them you wrote a book. It looks like reaching out to your friends who have a podcast and asking if you can come on and talk about the subject matter of your book. It looks like asking your friends and family to purchase a copy (not just giving them one for free) because you believe in the worth of your book. It looks like contacting local book clubs and suggesting your book as their next read. And, it looks like asking your friends, family and followers to leave you a customer review.
Mistake #4: Expecting Amazon to Do All the Work
Lots of authors publish their book through Amazon KDP or IngramSpark and just expect that people will find it. They may even have hired us or another company to get their book formatted and uploaded to Amazon KDP then are shocked when they type the name of their book into the search bar and it doesn’t even pop up.
How can you get your book to stand out in a sea of hundreds of millions of books listed on Amazon? Well, it’s hard. And thinking that the right keywords, categories, or catchy book description is enough is just old fashioned thinking. While you can’t skip those steps, you also can’t assume that Amazon will start showing your book to potential customers just because you followed all the best practices.
Unless you are sending people a link to your Amazon book listing – whether in your newsletter, or on your website and through social media – people are not going to find it organically right away. Amazon is just too big and there is too much competition. So keep finding ways to send people to your book listing page.
If book marketing still has you stumped, schedule a free consultation with Joel Pitney to help strategize your book marketing roadmap.
Or, if you’re not quite ready to talk to someone take our Book Launch Roadmap course.