Authors are usually quite skilled at writing a book’s creative aspects, from developing an interesting concept to developing a compelling story arc to fleshing out authentic characters. But part of being an author who self-publishes is getting the word out about the book they have written to potential readers while avoiding book marketing mistakes.
While marketing your book may not come as naturally as writing does, learning what not to do while pitching your book to potential readers can help authors grow their readership and fan base while connecting authentically with potential readers. So let’s look at book marketing mistakes you need to watch out for to maximize your marketing efforts and get your book into more readers’ hands.
Book Launch Mistakes
Your marketing push doesn’t begin just when your book is printed and ready to sell. Part of your marketing strategy will be to develop ways to get your book into the hands of potential readers.
But authors can miss the mark on launching their book sales with these book marketing mistakes that minimize the opportunity for readers to meet the author, see the physical book, or hear about the book directly from its author before the book is even ready to sell.
- Being Shy About Your Book: The right time to start hyping your book is when it is in progress. Don’t wait until you have a finished book in your hands to tell others about it. Common book marketing mistakes include authors who are shy about letting potential readers know that their book is on the way, missing a golden chance to build excitement about their project.
- Missing Pre-Sale Opportunities: Authors don’t have to wait for their books to be printed to sell them. A pre-selling period of 3-6 months prior to publication is a great way for retailers to gauge interest in the book which may lead to future sales if it is successful.
- Not Having a Concrete Marketing Plan: A key book marketing mistake some authors make is not crafting a solid marketing plan that includes in-person events, digital marketing, and a comprehensive social media plan.
- Waiting to Market Your Book until the Physical Launch: Delaying marketing until you have the physical book to sell will reduce the amount of time you have to reach potential readers and build your own brand as a writer. Book marketing starts early and can continue as long as there is interest in your book (or you sell out!).
Book Marketing Mistakes — In-Person Event Mistakes
A key part of marketing includes setting up and seeking out in-person events to meet potential readers. When authors make these common book marketing mistakes, they miss out on reaching new audiences and connecting with potential readers where they are already located.
A fully digital marketing plan for a children’s book may not reach the target market completely unless the author plans in-person events with kids and parents in attendance.
And some markets like anime or comic books already have huge attendance at annual conventions, but authors who don’t include in-person events in their marketing campaigns will miss out on meeting fans in person and potentially reaching a much wider audience than a digital-only campaign could.
- Avoiding Live Stream Opportunities: Anyone with a smartphone can stream to almost an unlimited number of people. Missing out on this instant connection opportunity with fans to talk about the book, answer questions, or just connect with fans is a big mistake for authors who want to grow their fanbase in a modern way.
- Not Being a Podcast or Video Channel Guest: With the wild popularity of podcasts and video channels like YouTube, authors can miss the chance to connect with a wide audience of potential readers who are already on these platforms. Writers can reach out to their favorite podcasters or video hosts to offer their time to talk about their own expertise, their book, or the genre or content of their book.
- Passing Over Library Visits: Many libraries have meet-the-author events as well as provide slots for authors to promote their books or even read to kids or youth programs. Authors that don’t take advantage of this free marketing idea are missing the chance for readers to learn about you and your book or even to hear some or all of the book’s contents to help you build your fan base for current and future books.
- Skipping Book Signings: Many times a fear of “no one will show up” keeps authors from holding book signings. While not every signing will be wildly successful, meeting readers in person is a great way to get to know your fans.
- Shunning Author Talks at Schools: Library author talks, career presentations, and literary clubs are regularly seeking authors to speak to students. By avoiding these types of in-person events, authors miss the chance to meet young readers as well as educators and parents who might also become fans of your book.
Book Marketing Mistakes — Newsletter Mistakes
The time-honored newsletter is a great way for writers to speak to their readers regularly and keep track of their fanbase’s interest in their work.
- Creating Compelling Subject Lines: The subject line of an email can make or break a newsletter. Fewer people open boring ones, and a compelling or intriguing subject line can snag the attention of some new readers.
- Making Emails Impersonal: Your emails containing the newsletter should reflect your voice as a writer. If it seems impersonal, it will just sound like an ad rather than genuine communication.
- Not Cross-Promoting with Other Authors: A great way to invigorate your newsletter is to swap book promos with another author. By sharing a highlight about each other’s book or upcoming project, authors can create authenticity by not only promoting their own writing and giving readers another reading experience, avoiding book marketing mistakes.
- Not Tracking Newsletter Data: Authors who don’t track who opens their newsletters and try to figure out why some are more interesting than others are missing a huge opportunity to learn more about what their fans love (and don’t) about their marketing.
- Not Using Anti-Spam Strategies: Nothing kills your newsletter data interpretation like finding out a number of newsletters have been going straight to the spam folder. Avoid spam filters with basic strategies like addressing emails to a recipient’s first name, avoiding cliché words in the subject line, and requesting recipients add your email to their address books.
- Only Promoting Your Book: Include a variety of meaningful information in your newsletter in addition to a sale link for your book. If the newsletter’s only purpose is perceived as selling your book, recipients will quickly tune out with these book marketing mistakes.
Book Marketing Mistakes — Social Media Mistakes
No book marketing mistakes list is complete without discussing how authors can miss out on golden marketing opportunities with social media.
- Avoiding Social Media: Social media is such a big part of marketing that every author needs to at least test out a few social media strategies. Not only is it free, but readers are also easier than ever to find with things like hashtags that help content creators and consumers meet up for conversations and live online events.
- Not Strategically Posting Content: Don’t let social media turn into one big ad. Instead of just posting about your book, create content that shows readers who you are, more about your genre or the content you write about as well as some about who you are.
Authors can safely project their brand image while still being real with their followers to use social media as a strong marketing tool. Use the 5-3-2 rule: in the span of 10 posts, 5 should have some educational value, 3 should be about your book, and 2 are personal brand-building posts.
- Posting Too Much or Too Little: Spamming your followers with low-quality content or going radio silent and not posting at all are both book marketing mistakes. To avoid these common errors, set up a social media posting schedule to stay on track.
Book Marketing Mistakes — Producing a Book to Market
Whether your book is just an idea you are developing or you are in the final editing stage of your work, partnering with a trusted printing company is the next big step in becoming a published author. Authors that avoid book marketing mistakes start with quality content and a beautifully bound book.
Dazzle Printing has helped authors transform their writing into printed books for decades. But marketing your book begins long before you send off your final draft to the printer, so you need to avoid book marketing mistakes. Authors who develop a strong marketing campaign can expect to connect with more potential readers to build their brand and create lasting fans of their writing.