How to Promote Books successfully? How not to ”sell your soul” while doing so? Should writers only write and not spend any time on marketing the book? These are questions of major importance and, sadly, there is a ton of bad advice on the internet. There are ton of Myths perpetuated by jealous people. Here are those Myths exposed and the correct way to Promote your Book suggested (with examples):
1. Promotion – Good? Bad? Neutral?
Lots of Authors believe Promotion is Bad… Promotion is not Bad or Good. Promotion is neutral. It’s an amplifier. Is promoting a cure for cancer bad? No. Is promoting shitty medicine bad? Absolutely. So is it promotion in itself bad that is bad or the product and person behind it that is bad? Separate the two and apply for books. For some it also becomes and excuse to not do anything but just write, if Promotion is Bad then surely you shouldn’t be doing and everyone who is doing Promotion of any type is selfish sellout bastard surely..
Same happens in Music industry (which is super similar to Publishing industry), the people at the top get dirt thrown at them just because they are more successful than others. Is it true, or is it jealousy talking? Most of the time it’s jealousy because new artist comes in and says:
‘‘I’m better than that guy, it’s not fair, I should be there. HE’S A SELLOUT, he must have sold his soul and is an ass kisser..And those Music Fans are stupid because they listen to that shit..”.
The artist just judges music genre he doesn’t like (at the same time thinking he is the best thing since sliced bread). That’s commiting biggest sin in Creativity – judging the fans and what THEY want. Just because he hasn’t YET succeeded at getting known doesn’t mean other people are bad.
In reality, most of the time it’s both luck AND talent that wins. Sometimes bad stuff goes to the top. It crashes down fast. But most of the top talent is successful because readers/fans actually like them. I liked reading ”DaVinci Code” and some Author came and said that it was shit and that it’s not fair it sold well. Is it bad literature or jealousy talking again. I don’t know, it was a good read, I enjoyed it and so did a lot of people. That’s all that matters. Author bad-mouthing the book was just jealous probably..
It’s better to take Responsibility and action to get discovered, not sit there hoping for some magic to happen. You increase your chances with promotion, that’s all, if you do it right, you are not selling your soul or liver or brain.
2. Writing VS Promoting
Then there is argument of whether Authors should only write or focus on promotion. Neither way is right. You can’t be just writing or just promoting. Both are missing the point. There is a Middle Road:
Write AND Promote…
Wow!!! Revolutionary concept isn’t it?!..
It seems so because most Authors in their hearts (not on superficial level, where some agree that promotion works, but deep down inside) believe that you either do one or the other.. And it’s because they haven’t been taught a better way – to balance both.
It is better to spend more time writing more books as it’s the craft that sells books. Once one book sells well, others will get exposure too etc. But to get that initial discovery you would be better off spending some time Promoting book. You can’t sit in the basement waiting for lightning to strike or fairy to show up, it’s not Cinderella story, if no one reads your book then you won’t get discovered and then Word-of-Mouth won’t kick in to promote it. Promoting is meant to help you start that word-of-mouth thing going.
How much time to spend Promoting?
You don’t have to slave away at your computer all day sending tweets, Facebook messages etc, not only it’s wrong promotion technique, it’s too much time. You can succeed with just 1 hour a day! Or 2 at most. Other time is available to write and improve your skills/create new stories. That’s not much time, done right it can work!
Wrong Definition of Promotion Screws up Authors
Those who get through the previous issues, get bad advice on how to actually promote the book. Intentionally or not doesn’t matter. Here are wrong ways to promote your book:
Twitter – tweeting that your book just came out is not promotion.
Facebook posts – letting your friends know that your book came out is not promotion.
Uploading Books to Amazon/Smashwords etc. – getting your book distributed is not promotion, your book is now on the shelf, humongous sized shelf between hundreds of thousands of other books!
Writing blog posts – blogging that your book is out is not promotion.
Going to GoodReads.com – posting an updated there about your book is not promotion.
Real promoting is meeting new people everyday. Meeting them, talking to to them, not sending ”Buy my book” with your first tweet to them. Same for Facebook or any other website/social network. It’s a Long-Term commitment if you want a Career in Writing. Think 1000 days at least. In a row. 1 hour daily. In addition to writing daily. Social Media is there to be used slowly, it’s not a magic pill that sends you new readers the moment you tweet…
Long-term commitment means talking books, talking basketball, talking knitting, talking movies, that’s how you get to know people slowly and they start actually caring about what you do. You do not pitch them your book at all. When asked about what you do you say I’m a writer of books in [insert your genre]. Or they will go to your website even without asking and then will wonder what your book is about. If you spend 1 hour a day meeting new folks that you enjoy talking with, you will start gaining readers and fans. Not at once, not the same day most likely. But this way you will enjoy your tweeting because you talk about interesting things to you and the other person.
Let’s see how we can apply this situation in real life:
As a book cover designer I have to find Authors who need book covers done. I can go to Twitter, go to Search and start putting in words like ”book cover, writing, books, authors, etc” to find authors talking about publishing and books. Then I can send them tweets suggesting that I can make them book covers. How would you react to that tweet? You’d probably ignore it.
Same for Facebook or GoodReads etc. It doesn’t matter that I am designing covers. Not because it’s bad or anything, but because that tweet comes from someone you do not know, like or trust. Would you buy a thing from someone who came up to you on the street and said the same words? No you wouldn’t. Same thing here.
That’s why reviews on Amazon.com sell the books, that’s why Book Blurbs from famous people work. Good recommendation from a friend means I will get a good book because while I don’t know the Book at all I trust my friend and know him (if he likes same books as me then it fulfills all 3 things in that buying ). Those are substitution for long process. They make word-of-mouth possible to spread faster. But you have to get the first ones going, slowly. And if you keep meeting people and getting your fans manually even when you have some fans already, then your word-of-mouth effect will be bigger, faster and better. You will be gaining momentum and maybe after those 1000 days you will have a full-time income from your writing career.
Take away things:
Analyze your mindset. Are you believe these things deep down inside? Are they getting in the way of actually enjoying the process of right promotion strategies? Do you know Authors like that? Hopefully, you don’t have these problems. If so, please share this article with your Author-friends so this nonsense stops! Publishing industry would be a lot better and much more people would end up reading books if all Authors knew about this.