Okay, so I just completed a ten-part series on marketing your book. I’d had a lot of folks ask about the process, so I simply went back to a recently published “Intro to Marketing” textbook, and walked through the basic information in ten steps. (You can find them by wandering back through the last two weeks of blog posts.)
Now here’s my question for you… What lessons have you learned about marketing your book? What has worked? What has not worked? What advice would you give to other authors? What parts of the process did you enjoy? Which parts did you despise? And as you approach your next book, what do you plan to do?
I hear all sorts of questions from authors about book marketing. Some love trailers, others hate them. Some love doing blog tours, others find them a waste of time. Some spend hours on social media pushing their book, others find all that effort amounts to nothing. Some love talking on the radio, others feel uncomfortable and believe they’d be better off writing something. So… give me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what lessons you can share with others about marketing your book.
And I’ll start: The single most important lesson I’ve learned when marketing my own books is to create a checklist and work through it. When I fail to do that, I skip some things or duplicate others. I also tend to push off the tasks I don’t enjoy. So make a checklist, have each task clearly written down, and assign it to a person and a date. Then work your checklist. The most helpful thing I know.
And if I can share a second thought, it would be don’t expect everything to work. It took me awhile to figure out that marketing is like baseball — if 30% of the things I do are successful, I’m going to have a hit. But that means a lot of the stuff I do won’t seem to have much effect on sales or name recognition. That’s just the business, and it’s too much wasted energy to get worked up over it. Just accept the odds and keep pushing forward.
I was talking with a new author this morning — someone who has landed a big deal with a major New York house, and is excited to be working with them. My advice to her was simple: Take charge of the marketing of your book. Study how to successfully market a book to your readership. Create a to-do list. Work the plan. Don’t expect everything to work. Appreciate everything the publisher does for you, but DON’T expect them to do everything, because they won’t. They’ve got a bunch of titles releasing, so they’ll do what they can, and some of it will be things you can’t do yourself (like send out review copies, try to line up some major media, maybe talk about buying some front-table placement at Barnes & Noble), but take charge of your own marketing, and invest in doing a bunch of the work yourself. Nobody else has as much at stake. Nobody else knows the book as well as you do. Nobody else cares as much as you do about this book. So say thanks for the good stuff they help with, but take it on and do it yourself.
That was my advice. What about you? What lessons would you share with others?