Should You Market Your Books?

Many authors are reluctant to actively be seen to market their books. Some go so far as to never market their books, but work very hard nevertheless on their blogs and other social networks. I haven’t tried very hard to sell my books, but I usually do mention them and occasionally run promotions, which always results in sales, and keeps them ticking over in a small but comforting way. I haven’t done anything at all for the past two months, and for the first time in years my sales page on Amazon for this month is a totally flat line. Which just goes to show. If you don’t market your books at all, they are unlikely to be bought at all.

There are different kinds of selling in the business of sales. When you are selling a product for a company, and meeting up with potential clients who are in the market for your product face to face, you have a good chance of closing the deal if you’re good at what you do. It’s a bit harder to attract passing trade with books though, so internet face to face is a real thing these days. Just like any other job, you have good and bad sales people. One thing seems to be universal though, and that’s that not many people are going to buy anything from a seemingly desperate bully unless they’re terrified or goaded into it – if that’s the way a sale is got, don’t expect returning custom. As writers, that’s the only one other thing that we need to know apart from the fact that, yes, we do indeed need to market our books. Selling isn’t a dirty word if you’re not jumping out at people from doorways and holding them down with your book in their face. It’s a part of the way we as a society operates, and the main way that buyers find things to purchase that they want or need. We just need to go about it in a polite, professional, and nice way.

People follow you on your various social networks for various reasons – hopefully because they like what you have to share. They’re all online at different times, so unless they make a point of checking, they’re unlikely to see your one weekly tweet about your book. If you tweet about the same book thirty times every day, they’re very likely indeed to see several of those. It’s true that familiarity can sometimes breed contempt, and having your feed so assaulted on a daily basis is going to have you clicking that Unfollow button smartly.  Try and hit a happy medium, but don’t be afraid to share your book with your followers every day. Not necessarily every network every day, but definitely at least one, and try to make them different each day.

Use small excerpts of your book, and images that relate to the story. Run promotions. If you have a book that you can offer for free while discounting another at the same time, definitely do that – this works wonders for simultaneous sales of your other published books. If you only have one published so far, run a Goodreads giveaway, or a blog or Facebook party where you can offer other swag and fun stuff. Make use of advertising. Not all advertisers cost as much as Bookbub. Some will promote your book for as little as ten dollars.

Plan your book’s journey in advance. Write out your plan of action for the next three months. How often will you tweet and share on your Facebook and G+ pages? Collect your excerpts and pictures by spending a couple of hours getting them together, so you don’t have to do them every day. Once you have them together in a folder on your computer you can rotate them on a monthly basis.

Make it fun, and know that you’re not being spammy or conning people out of their cash when they buy your book. You wrote the best book that you can, and there are people out there who would be very glad to buy it and read it, and very possibly love it. They can’t if they don’t know it exists though, so be proud, if not overly loud, and sell those books that you put all your love and years into creating. Market away.

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16 thoughts on “Should You Market Your Books?”

  1. Good advice, all. I do readings at book stores, for book clubs, and have a marketing group that gets me dates and interviews. I am not a fan of marketing but if you want to sell books and get yourself out there, it has to be done. Some of it can actually be fun!

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  2. Nice post 🙂
    I’m in the process of launching my very first book and I’m currently running a preorder campaign. I am indeed a bit worry about how much I should promot my book. I try to do what you suggest, I tray to share more than push. It’s my very first attempt, so I don’t know whether this is working at the moment, but this is the way I want to walk.

    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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  3. lol – I’m a flatliner! When I talk about other things I know people will generally find something worth listening to [most of the time]. But talking about my books? Meh…sooooo hard to do.

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  4. I think a lot of people – in all consumer sales areas – had a flat January. Mine certainly went to zero two days before Christmas and then perked up on Jan 30th – not quite back to last year yet, but doing just fine for me.
    But I do believe in marketing unless you’re writing books that sell because they are easily found. My one that sells without me doing anything is a non-fiction aviation history memoir. Very niche! The rest need to be discovered, and that’s where the markeitng has to come in – even markeitng your blog if you rely on that to sell your books – people have to find you.
    Great post, Jo!

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  5. Excellent blog. We keep being told not to push our books too much. As a result I’ve been a little afraid of being thought to be spamming so probably don’t mention my books enough. I’ll mention thema little more in future I think.

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