Like any other business, selling books is difficult. It is especially difficult for those who are doing it all by themselves without professional assistance. If you have a big-name publisher looking out for your interests, things would go much smoother for you and a lot of avenues would be opened. But not everyone gets the opportunity. Following are some commonly made mistakes by authors seeking to promote their books.
1. Not knowing the market
Treat writing and selling books like a business. If you were in any other business, you would know exactly what your competitors are doing, what the market trends are, and what would bring in profits. There is no excuse for not doing the same thing with your book. Keep yourself informed of what is in demand and what is not, and you will get ideas on how to promote your book and to whom.
2. Selling to everyone
There are very few books, if any, that would appeal to everyone. Some books have a wider appeal than others, but nothing is so generic that everyone will be buying and reading it. So marketing your book to everyone means you are using up resources in campaigns that will have no return on investment. Instead, identify your target audience and find out where they hang out, and accordingly tailor your marketing campaign. Marketing is all about knowing what to market to whom and how.
3. Not engaging the readers
Actors, sportspersons, authors, nothing is sacred and inaccessible any longer. With the internet in general and Twitter in particular, everyone is expected to stay connected in order to woo their fans. If you are new to the business, it is even more important. Engage your readers in various ways. If, as an indie author, you are not responding to your readers’ emails, contributing to their Facebook discussions on your page or group, or not taking the opportunity of building up relationships when they comment on your blog or website, you are making a huge mistake and leaving a huge opportunity to build long-term relationships.
You can be putting in a lot of effort into networking and marketing and still doing it wrong. Potential readers do not want to be spammed by authors, no matter how beloved. This especially applies to social media, where too many authors think that consistently posting the same promotional posts is going to get people to buy their books. It’s not! Even if you post fewer things, the content must be interesting and useful to potential customers. You can add a mention about your book in there somewhere to vet the reader’s interest. Even if you have thousands of followers, people will probably just ignore your spammy posts if they get no value from it. So concentrate on making your posts interesting. It’s hard work, but no one said marketing was easy!
5. False reviews
Too many authors think that consistent five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads will boost their sales. If you are one of the authors getting your family and friends to post reviews on your book, please understand that it is futile. Readers are not stupid and they understand that glowing reviews by a handful of people means just one thing – false marketing. Nobody believes those reviews and you will lose a lot of potential customers. Instead, ask your readers on your website or blog to leave a critical review. And please don’t reply to those reviews even just to thank the reviewers. And definitely do not tell reviewers who aren’t fully impressed with your book that they did not understand it or try to defend your work. Stay out of it. A few three star reviews will do wonders for your sales, because those reviewers are more likely to give a detailed and truthful analysis of your book.
Image credit: Harsh Agrawal on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IMG_20141217_101736441.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Kavitha is a freelance content writer and French translator, and has been working in this field since 2008. She has degrees in computer applications and international business and has a background in business and international trade. She enjoys learning languages and is currently learning Japanese. Her interests vary from books and writing to travelling and history.[/author_info] [/author]