Fatal Book Marketing Myths to Avoid at All Costs

If you’re a newcomer to the world of self-publishing, there are few things scarier than book marketing.

While most authors have a lifelong passion for the written word, far fewer have a deep love of marketing!

No matter how you feel about it, your ability to market your book directly determines its success.

There’s an abundance of books in any genre you can think of. Readers are spoiled for choice.

So while your first job as an indie author is, and will always be, to write a fantastic book, your second priority is learning how to get it into the hands of the readers who will love it.

Successfully promoting your book is as much about knowing what to avoid as what to pursue. 

Buying into any of these book marketing myths is a mistake you can’t afford to make, so avoid these harmful beliefs at all costs!

A Good Book Will Market Itself

Your book is not a supernatural baseball field – if you write it, they will not come!

A lot of new indie authors have the mistaken belief that readers will gravitate towards a good book without the need for proactive marketing.

In reality, nothing could be further than the truth. Even the biggest books from famous authors have a carefully planned marketing campaign behind them. 

The first book you release will be the hardest for you to market. This is essentially down to two reasons.

First, book marketing is probably entirely new to you. As much as you might have read about it, there’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty and learning lessons firsthand. 

Second, as a new author, you have no reputation or readership. You have to start entirely from scratch.

Thankfully, you don’t have to reinvent the book marketing wheel. As soon as you accept that marketing is crucial for your book’s success, you can seek out and follow proven processes. 

So what are some useful starting points for brand new book marketers?

  • It’s never too early. A major mistake new book marketers make is leaving marketing to the last minute. In truth, it’s never too early to think about marketing. How will you get the word out about your book? Which marketing channels will you use? You should be pondering these questions as soon as you’re committed to a book project.
  • Reviews are essential. Readers don’t only provide invaluable social proof to persuade readers to check out your book, they also trigger the powerful promotional algorithms of stores such as Amazon. Getting a good number of reviews close to the time of your book launch is one of your most important aims.
  • Adopt a growth mentality. Don’t expect to become a master marketer overnight. Adopt a growth mentality and realize you’ll learn from your failures as well as your successes. 

While no amount of marketing will make up for a bad book, even the best book is destined to fail without it. 

The sooner you accept the importance of book marketing, the sooner you will experience the success you deserve. 

Readers Won’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Put yourself in the shoes of a contemporary reader scrolling through their favorite bookstore app. 

Unless they’re looking for something in particular, they are probably browsing through a category or a page of search results fairly quickly. 

One way to capture this browser’s attention is with your book cover. A good cover can make a potential reader stop scrolling and take a closer look.

By the same token, a bad book cover can cloud someone’s judgment of your entire book.

As much as you want someone to judge the quality of your writing, they might never get that far if your book cover isn’t attractive.

So how can you make sure your book cover doesn’t repel a potential reader?

  • Follow convention. As a new author, your name means nothing. To give readers a sense of what your book is about, it needs to follow genre conventions, regardless of if it’s a work of fiction or nonfiction. The cover should convey the tone and mood of your book. If in doubt, find commonalities among successful books of the type you’re writing.
  • Avoid clutter. Cluttered book covers are never effective, and this is especially true in our era of smartphone or tablet browsing. Your text should be impactful and any images should be immediately clear.
  • DIY can work. While a professionally designed book cover is always the best way to go, it’s not always affordable, especially for new authors. Thankfully, DIY covers can be effective. Just be sure to use a template and follow proven genre conventions.

At the very least, an effective book cover shouldn’t stand in the way of a potential reader checking out your work further.

On the other end of the scale, a good book cover is a true piece of art that complements and deepens a reader’s enjoyment of your writing. 

Authors Should Try All the Latest Marketing Methods

If you’ve never marketed a book before, it might seem tempting to try as many methods as possible. 

This belief can be compounded by the problem of information overload. There are many indie authors and each is likely to have a slightly different approach to marketing their work. 

When it comes to book marketing, trying to do it all is one of the fastest ways to fail. You risk becoming a dabbler who halfheartedly tries everything but sees results from nothing. 

If you feel tempted to try every book marketing method you’ve come across, keep the following points in mind. 

  • You have limited resources. Book marketing is an intensive process, especially when you’re new to it. You have limited time and energy. If you try to pursue too many marketing methods, you risk spreading yourself far too thin. You will end up failing at all of them and feeling jaded about self-publishing altogether. 
  • Always think about ROI. Any book marketing tactic involves an investment of time or money, sometimes both. Always think about the return you are likely to get from that investment. Seek out book marketing methods that have proved fruitful for other authors of a similar type and stature to yourself. 
  • Master the fundamentals. Rather than focusing on flash in the pan marketing fads, invest your time and energy in the fundamentals. Start with learning how to title and subtitle your work, how to craft an effective book description, and how to write an interesting author bio.

As you become more familiar with book marketing, you might come to appreciate it as an art and science. 

Although it might seem sterile at first, book marketing is nothing less than helping connect readers with books that make their lives that little bit better.

If you ever become jaded or disillusioned with marketing, think of the feeling when you discovered one of your favorite books. 

Book marketing is how that magical moment happens. Surely that makes it something worth doing properly?

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