Should You Take that Book Marketing Advice?
People want to help. Really they do. But sometimes even well-intentioned marketing advice is just not for you. I found this out after publishing my first book, Living the Thin Life, which helps people develop their own customized plan for maintaining a healthy weight. Once I got over the shock of realizing sales weren’t going to magically happen just because my book was available, I began my journey of learning how to market and sell.
It’s is a road I’m still traveling on.
Since I was completely new to this business, I sought advice from many people—friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers. Others offered their wisdom unsolicited. But I have to admit my go-to source of marketing inspiration was the internet.
Despite all these fabulous sources of info, these “surefire” strategies and techniques just didn’t work for me:
Promoting your book on a radio or TV show. Great advice if you like to talk and are able to think on your feet. That’s not me, though. I’m not comfortable with public speaking and I usually go blank when put on the spot. Embarrassing!
Setting up a Facebook page. And a Twitter account. I guess I’m just not clever enough to think of interesting things to post or tweet every day. I use Facebook mostly to look at pictures of my grandkids and the occasional cat video. “Everyone” (meaning all the internet articles) said I needed an author Facebook page. So I created one but haven’t posted any content in years. It’s probably not helping me get any book sales.
Setting up a booth at craft fairs. Again, if you love to talk, especially one-on-one, this might be a great idea. I do like to interact with people so I’ve had some fun with craft fairs, but they usually cost more in set-up fees than I make in sales. It’s tough to compete with home-grown produce and hand-knitted baby blankets.
Spending lots of money on the wrong online ads. People are shopping online; you just need to get your product in front of them, right? Wrong! At least for me. Turns out most people don’t click a book ad on Google or Facebook. By the time I realized that folks were looking for information or social connections instead, I’d blown through my ad budget with only a few measly clicks to show for it, and even fewer sales. Some people I know managed to break even on Facebook ads (which sure seems like a hard way to make $0!), but no authors I know have had success with Google Ads. I was never able to crack the code to where I spent less on an ad than it netted me in sales, so unfortunately, I had to abandon this technique. People shop for many products on Google, but the same doesn’t hold true for books. Ads on general sites won't be nearly as targeted or effective as ads on niche sites (like BookDaily!), so plan your budget accordingly.
I’m not saying these strategies, or similar ones, won’t work for you. What I’ve figured out is that everyone is different and needs their own customized plan they can feel comfortable with. Kind of like my personalized diet and fitness plan in Living the Thin Life. I provide a quiz to help folks identify their eating personality in order to pick which techniques are most likely to apply to each individual. The five types are: deer, rabbit, gorilla, lion, and koala. Hmm, maybe I should invent a quiz to help people figure out their marketing personality…
What’s the best (or worst) marketing advice you’ve received? Have any of the above techniques worked better for you? Spill your secrets!
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About the Author:
Elle Marie wasted tons of time and loads of money figuring out how to market her books, Living the Thin Life and Chronicle of the Mound Builders. She hasn't quite mastered it yet, but she's come a long way. She shares her embarrassing failures and a few proud wins in her book Sales & Fails: 3 Ways to Succeed at Book Marketing and 36 Ways to Fail. When she's not writing or researching new book marketing techniques, she enjoys spending time with her husband in their hometown of St. Louis.