We are surrounded by “myth” – information about book marketing. Social media makes it worse – one person sees one of these myths in a tweet or post, accepts it as truth, and spreads the myth even further.
What’s fact and what’s fiction? Let’s look at three of the most common book marketing myths and understand the impact they have on your book’s success in the marketplace.
Myth 1 – You should wait until your book is available for purchase to market it
This has become the norm in part because many authors do something else for a living and barely have enough time to write a book, let alone market it at the same time they’re writing. That’s understandable.
Here’s the solution: Take occasional one-week breaks from writing your book to work on your platform and establish connections with influential people who can support your book launch.
It’s really that simple. Stop writing and start marketing. After a few days spent with marketing challenges – figuring out where to find your target audience or connecting with key bloggers you’ll contact later for a virtual book tour – you’ll be ready to switch back to writing.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve waited until your book was done before you thought about promoting it, though. The world didn’t end because you didn’t learn about the marketing process until after you uploaded your book to Amazon or accepted delivery of so many book cartons that you’re using them for furniture, right?
Learn exactly what you should be doing as soon as possible as well as what you can do to promote your book as soon as you finish that first draft as you move forward with the next book and you’ll do just fine.
Myth 2 – You can save time by copying what other authors are doing to market their books
An author emailed me to ask if I could refer him to a book that “will function as a (marketing) to-do list.” It’s a legitimate question. This author is smart enough to know that he doesn’t want to spend any more time than necessary figuring out how to market his book. (And I don’t blame him.)
I couldn’t help him, though, because no book can tell any author to do this, then do that, then do the other thing.
That’s because it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Your book marketing to-do list will be based on your book’s target audience — those people most likely to buy your book — and getting your book title in front of them. What I do to promote my niche nonfiction e-book doesn’t mirror what you should do for your sci-fi novel, for example.
If you’re certain that the author you want to copy is targeting exactly the same people as you and has been very successful, then following her lead could make sense. If she’s trying to reach the same people as you and not selling books, you’re smart enough to know that you don’t want to do what she’s doing.
Learn as much as you can about who is most likely to buy your book, then learn which tactics you’ll need to get your title in front of those people.
Myth 3 – You’re sunk if you don’t use social media
Sure, it helps, but is it absolutely necessary? Nope.
A lot of people don’t like to post, tweet, share, or update. Let’s be honest: If you’re one of them, you’re going to be a reluctant marketer if you have to do something that you don’t enjoy or that doesn’t make sense to you. What’s more, if you don’t understand how it works or its value to your book, you probably aren’t going to do it the right way, anyway.
I’m not saying “Stop using social media,” especially if you’re seeing results. What I am saying is that there are effective alternatives. People marketed and sold books long before social networks existed. It can still be done without them.
Take time to learn
As with everything else related to the book publishing industry, knowledge is power. Take the time to:
Learn as much as you can about book marketing and promotion long before your book is published.
Consider the source of the information you find rather than accepting what you’re seeing as fact.
Think before you do. Ask yourself, “Does this make sense for my book? Will it help me reach the people I know will love it?”