Book review: 5-Minute Marketing for Authors

The bubbles above the title on the cover of 5-Minute Marketing for Authors: Get More Sales for Your Books in Just 5 Minutes a Day by Barb Asselin hint that it could use another phrase at the end of the subtitle: “by Using Social Media.” 

This free, short (62 pages) Kindle book is a helpful resource for new authors who have limited book promotion time and choose to use it on social media. The overview of KDP Select’s free days and Kindle countdowns is helpful for anyone who hasn’t been exposed to that piece of the Kindle puzzle yet.

I like the links to online resources and a list of Twitter handles to include in a giveaway tweet in hopes that those accounts will re-tweet your offer.

The sample 90-day/five-minutes-a-day book marketing plan and corresponding template undoubtedly help those authors who are continually searching for a plug-and-play solution to book promotion. Following this example, or, more importantly, personalizing it so it focuses on the right social media networks for your audience, will reduce your planning time and help you structure your time. All good.

On the other hand . . .

marketing for authors 2The book is well-written and offers enough information to be worth reading. I suspect that Asselin focused on social media rather than taking a broader approach because it’s easy to tweet, post, and share in five minutes or less.  Still, a few things surprised me in 5-Minute Marketing for Authors:

  • The author recommends copying and pasting the same post with all social media networks — sharing the same text on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for example — and that’s counter to best practices. It’s time efficient, but it’s not the best way to use social media.
  • All content suggestions for social media activity focus on sales messages — “My book is free today!” or “Kindle countdown this week!” Effective social media use for book promotion involves way more than “buy my book” posts.
  • There’s nothing about how to connect with fans in ways that will support future book sales.
  • It doesn’t cover what you can to do build relationships or reader engagement.
  • It doesn’t address the importance of selecting social media networks that reach your book’s target audience. You’re better off using all of your five minutes a day on two social networks that reach your audience than you are spreading that precious time over six networks that don’t.
  • It lacks information about what you can do to get reader reviews on Amazon (or anywhere else).

Still, the book has value in that it acknowledges that authors don’t always have a lot of time for book marketing and helps them zero in on specific things they can do in just a few minutes a day.

My advice would be to mix into this some of what you know already about how to use social media effectively, how to build relationships with readers, and how to position yourself as a writer whose books are worth reading.

When you’ve got just five minutes to do something to promote your book, what do you do?

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  1. I also read this book Sandy and, as a marketer, had some of the same concerns you did. These type of books are very popular and catch the eye of authors with titles that may not be realistic for everyone. For authors that are very tech-challenged and not marketing savvy, the premise of 5-minute marketing as presented here is not realistic without a big learning curve. I do think the book presents solid marketing basics that authors should tackle and I wholeheartedly agree with the principle of time management when it comes to marketing tasks. They can be a time suck. And as the author says, you’ll be more successful in the long run if you devise a system that keeps you on track.

  2. One thing I do is post an article on LinkedIn each week. I don’t know that anyone goes to look at my series of books from those, but it builds credibility by demonstrating I am a writer.

    1. Virginia, what do you link to in your weekly articles, usually? I love LinkedIn Pulse — I’m getting lots of engagement and that’s fun — and because I include links to pages on my site, I can track traffic with Google Analytics.

      If you’ve got an email opt-in offer on your site (which I recommend), you can link to that page.


  3. Thank you, Sandy. I especially like this:
    * There’s nothing about how to connect with fans in ways that will support future book sales.
    * It doesn’t cover what you can to do build relationships or reader engagement.

    I appreciate that YOU know that readers want info that will involve and help them, not deliver marketing messages. They’re constantly evaluating our messages with “What’s in it for me? Why should I pay attention? Why should I follow this writer?”

    You, Sandy, do this so well: You give us content that helps us, and if that helps you in the end (because we welcome your posts and messages), you’ve achieved your marketing goal while giving us something of value.

    1. Joan, Joan, Joan,

      First, you made my day. Thank you so much for noticing. I’m so grateful for that warm feedback!

      Second, I’m glad you understand how it works. Yes, somebody will occasionally buy from one of those “buy my book!” messages, but if that’s all you’re putting out there, you’ll be missing out on sales potential. I don’t mean “you” of course — I mean those who are far less informed than you. You’ve got it figured out and I know that from watching.

      Third, I can’t make it to ASJA this year and I’m so bummed. Will you be there? If yes, pretend I’ve hugged you outside a workshop room!



      1. Oh yes, I’ll be at the ASJA conference — I’m giving a workshop titled “Blogging Isn’t Dead: How to Attract Readers and Media with a Rule-Breaking Blog,” based on what I’ve learned over 11 years of blogging about senior sex at http://www.NakedAtOurAge.com and interacting with my readers/followers.

        Sorry you won’t be there — I always love seeing you and learning from you.

  4. Useful review, thanks Sandra. I got the book because it’s free, but I agree with your assessment. But if I get one useful hint out of the book–hey, it’s free.

    And I struggle a lot with taking time with social media promotion, like other authors.

    1. Thanks, Conda. It IS hard to find the time for social media. It might help to do it at the same time every day, and to set a timer. And thinking of it terms of “just 5 minutes” might make it easier, too — you just want to spend those 5 minutes doing the right things!


  5. Thank you very much for the book review Sandra. I usually promote on social media every morning. I don’t see it as a time waste/suck as I strongly believe that using social media is a necessity for everybody now who has something to sell. Not to mention, there is truth to the saying that all writing is an opportunity to write – even in a limited number of characters:)

    1. Thanks, Sandra. How do you use social media to promote, and is your book fiction or nonfiction?


      1. Hi Sandy – I’m writing my memoir. A very unromantic, non fluffy, actually truthful account of my time living in the wonderfully up and down city of Paris. My perspective is from that of me – someone who sold everything to move to Paris for (well it’s been over a year now!) and who uses a motorised wheelchair because I have the disability of quadriplegia.

        I use social media to promote my blog posts, post quirky images of things I come across during my adventures, give my two cents worth on life, promote other writers/blogs/people, share articles I read, create support networks, learn about writing and to let people know about me.

        To me being a writer is not just about scribbling away in a corner. That’s why I think social media should be embraced.

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