Don’t fall for these 3 book promotion myths

unicornThere’s a frustrating amount of “myth”-information out there about book promotion.

I don’t know how the book promotion myths get started, but I do know that they spread pretty quickly.

Because I’m constantly educating authors about myth versus reality in author online discussion groups and in my courses, I thought it might help to share three of the most common myths here along with a nice dose of reality.

Which one of them resonates with you?

Myth 1: You will succeed if you just copy what other authors are doing.

I received an e-mail this week from an author asking me if I could refer him to a book that “will function as a 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.

It’s just 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 finding them where they hang out.

If you’re certain that your author friend 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 exactly 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 2: It’s OK to wait until the book is published to start the marketing process.

boxesDon’t feel bad if you’ve done this. The world won’t end if you didn’t think 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.

To enjoy the most success and exposure for that wonderful book you’ve written, you want to start the marketing process early. Learn exactly what you should be doing as soon as possible in “When should you start promoting your book” on this blog and discover “7 things you can do to promote your book as soon as you finish that first draft” in my guest column on the ASJA blog.

Myth 3: You must have a Facebook page.

Nope.

A Facebook page for your book is a good idea only if the people in your book’s target audience — those people most likely to buy your book — are regular Facebook users. Even then, you have to know what kind of information to share on your page, and how to share it, in order for it to be worth your time.

Too many authors rely almost completely on their book’s Facebook page for buzz building. That’s not a smart strategy unless you’re a sophisticated user. In addition, what would happen if Facebook disappeared tomorrow? It would take your entire book marketing campaign with it. You don’t want to be in that position.

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 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.

Book marketing isn’t hard, but you do have to know which tactics are the best for your book, and you need to know how to execute them.

Let’s do some more myth-busting! What other book promotion myths are you seeing or wondering about?


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested. Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” and you’ll also receive the free weekly “Build Book Buzz” newsletter loaded with book marketing tips and advice.
12 Responses to Don’t fall for these 3 book promotion myths
  1. Cari Noga
    February 6, 2014 | 5:10 pm

    It’s a myth that you need critical reviews. Those are so far out of your control compared to reader reviews. Focus on getting the readers. Just blogged on this today: http://www.carinoga.com/2014/02/05/99-and-counting/

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 6, 2014 | 5:33 pm

      Good point, Cari! I agree.

      I’ll add, though, that while most self-published authors don’t have a shot at critical reviews, they’re still an option for those who are traditionally published. (Not a guaranteed option, but an option….) For example, one of the novelists in my October Book Publicity 101 for Fiction course just snagged a fantastic review from Publisher’s Weekly for her book being released next month.

      One of the free tools in my new free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” download at http://buildbookbuzz.com helps authors generate those important reader reviews. And hey, congrats on the high scores from your reviews! That’s great!

      Sandy

  2. Magdalene
    February 7, 2014 | 8:48 pm

    Hi Sandra,

    Thank you for this. I was recently hired by an author who has self-published one book. He was formerly partnered with a publisher but now handles everything himself (or I do). Libraries, wholesalers/distributors, booksellers, etc. now show the book as out of print. I have been applying to these but there is no marketing plan & I am trying to establish one now. We are behind the eight ball but I am trying to turn this around. We did a bunch of books to Scholastic and the author did a Ted talk but no cigar afterward. It’s an education graphic novel. Any suggestions? I really appreciate!
    ~Magdalene

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 8, 2014 | 10:56 pm

      Hey Magdalene,who’s the target audience for the book? Start there. My best guess, if it’s an educational graphic novel, is that it’s not people who watch Ted Talks, but I’d need to know more to be sure.

      Sandy

  3. Gabriel
    February 8, 2014 | 6:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this. It’s very helpful!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 8, 2014 | 10:57 pm

      You are so welcome, Gabriel!

      Sandy

  4. Jennifer at WriteKidsBooks
    February 12, 2014 | 7:53 pm

    I agree that a copycat approach is often unhelpful. Targeting your specific readership can save SO much energy. Thanks for all these tips. Three is the kind of manageable number I can concentrate on even at the end of a long day. 🙂

    Thanks!

    Jennifer at WriteKidsBooks

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 12, 2014 | 7:57 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Jennifer, particularly about focusing on 3 myths rather than 23 of them. That’s helpful to me.

      And hey, I LOVE your head shot. Adorable!

      Sandy

  5. Laura
    February 26, 2014 | 6:42 pm

    #3 is a great point. The same is true of twitter. There’s a large demographic that use facebook but not Twitter. Knowing your target audience’s technical and social media demographics can help you focus your marketing strategies.

    Laura Hedgecock
    http://www.TreasureCHestofMemories.com

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 26, 2014 | 6:55 pm

      Good points, Laura! Thanks!

      Sandy

  6. Helen Partovi
    April 20, 2016 | 9:15 am

    Many thanks for this, Sandra. I think it will be very useful to remember these points – they are simple and concise.

    Helen Partovi

    • Sandra Beckwith
      April 20, 2016 | 9:28 am

      Thanks, Helen. I’m glad it was helpful.

      Sandy

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