How NOT to Market Your Book

How NOT to Market Your Book

How many times have you been scrolling through Twitter and seen one of those people on your feed who tags a bunch of people individually, replies to tweets, and copy/pastes a poorly-written advertisement that’s more hashtag than text? Well, this week we’re talking about how not to market your book. And that? That’s definitely one way not to market your book.

A tweet repeated three times from the same author in the same minute shilling their book with poor grammar.
Don’t do this.

Marketing is a challenge for authors. We are, at heart, writers and artists, and most of us bristle at the notion of having to talk to people. Introverts unite… separately… at home. However, as per my previous blog, we aren’t able to ignore it and be successful. This, however, doesn’t mean that all marketing is equal. Bad marketing is, in some ways, almost worse than no marketing because bad marketing will let people know your book exists, but it sure as heck won’t engender goodwill toward you or your work!

With no further ado, let’s talk about what not to do.

  1. Spam links with no explanations.
    Sharing links to where your book is sold is part and parcel to marketing yourself, however, if you are flooding your various social media outlets with links to your book without further content, it’s just going to irritate people. Make sure if you’re sharing the link to your book, you at least say a little something about it. Also, I’d only share to certain hashtags or outlets once or twice a day. While I’m not a Twitter algorithem expert, I can tell you that as a Twitter user, scrolling through the same advertisement thirty times in an hour makes me want to scream. I always mute that person, and I am not alone in that.
  2. Try and hard-sell people your book.
    If you’re approaching strangers on social media (or other places) and trying to force your book on them, it’s not going to get you anywhere good. Cold sales aren’t really an effective sales strategy, and it won’t do much to get people interested in you or in your work. Nobody likes the social media equivilent of a telemarketer.
  3. Spam groups or hashtags.
    In writing groups, it’s an extremely common occurance to have somoene join, drop links to their book with some marketing pitch either once or repeatedly, and leave. They don’t engage in the community, they don’t talk to people, they don’t offer any value. They just drop and jet because they have fifty other writing groups on their list to do the same thing to. This isn’t the venue, they’re not your audience, and if you aren’t engaging with people, all you’re doing is looking like a jerk.
  4. Start petty fights on your author social media accounts.
    This is a delicate line to walk. I’m not talking about politics or big issues here where speaking out can get you in trouble, I’m talking about being mean or childish and being unkind to people who don’t deserve it.
  5. Develop a massive ego.
    Publishing a book is a huge success, and you have every right to be proud of yourself. Truly. A healthy amount of the “good feels” is necessary when selling your book because you have to fend off trolls and jerks and lettheir nonsense slide. However, this healthy amount of self-esteem sometimes turns into authors thinking they are, in fact, the next Tolkein. You aren’t probably. Does that mean you can’t be darn good? Absolutely not. But remember that you aren’t going to get more book sales by stepping on others.

How to market your book is a huge discussion for which I always feel under-qualified despite reading a lot of marketing books over the years and watching countless videos and so on. I never feel like I know what I’m doing, but from my understanding most folks feel like they have no idea what they’re doing behind closed doors. So I’m not that far behind the curve, I guess.

Regardless of that, ultimately, the things to avoid when marketing are things that add no value to the person encountering the post or marketing method. Give people value. give them something more, something to enjoy. If you’re just screaming into the void without targeting it appropriately or acting like that MLM friend who invites you to dinner but then tries to hard-sell you into joining their scheme, it’s not going to earn you favors.

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11 thoughts on “How NOT to Market Your Book

  1. Also, comparisons to authors way out of your league is not a good method either. Nothing turns me off more than when an author says something like “If you like Jim Butcher and JRR Tolkien……” or “In this book Serenity meets Space Odyssey 2001”. If I wanted to read those Authors/Stories, I would. This kind of advertisement sounds like FanFic and turns me off completely.

    1. While I definitely understand that, the reason people do this is because it gives people an idea of what the story contains using media most people know. Though I don’t blame you for grimacing a little when you see it. I do too!

      1. You’re not wrong, but it was a good teachable moment where I can help authors a little. I just muted the person and moved on with my day (which is how I handle spammy marketers). However, if I can help others learn better ways to market, I’m all about it. 🙂

      2. I only know that we have them. We have a few yellow ones, some really dark violet ones, and some mid-purple ones. I know nothing else about them but that they’ve been on the property for nearly a hundred years. The same with our daffodils!

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