I get it. You’ve spent weeks, months, or even years writing this lovely book, you’ve finally finished it, and you’re so proud of the final outcome, you just can’t wait to share it with everyone and sell millions of copies.
So, naturally, you take to social media, your blog, or your newsletter, and you begin doing everything you can to get people to buy your books.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach book marketing. And since there are so many articles and posts out there that claim to have all the answers on exactly how we SHOULD market our books, I’d like to take a moment to talk about what you SHOULDN’T do when marketing your books.
First, let me say, I know all too well what a fine line it is to walk between trying to get the word out there and being too pushy. I don’t think anyone goes out there with the intention of being too salesy and overwhelming people.
In fact, you may have even heard the statistic that states that it takes consumers about 15 times to hear a pitch before they’ll ever commit to purchasing.
Some people take this statistic and run with it, thinking they have to basically advertise 15 times more than the average author if they want one person to actually buy their book.
Couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, avoiding these “sales tactics” may actually play to your advantage. Why? Because if you push too hard and you’re TOO loud about wanting people to buy your book, it will backfire on you, and you will actually wind up losing followers, not gaining readers.
Think of it this way.
Have you ever been in a room or at a party with a group of people, and there’s always that one person who talks louder than everyone else? Louder even than the music or everyone else’s voices combined? And what do these people also do? They repeat themselves ad nauseum. They tell the same not-so-funny story over and over again.
And what do you do? At the very least, you mentally tune them out. You go into a zone of some sort and just nod your head every few minutes to pretend you are listening. If you’re really brave, you’ll even excuse yourself politely and walk away. Worst of all, some people might handle this situation by telling this loud talker to please shut the eff up. That would be rude, of course. But it could happen.
So, to avoid being the loud talker at the party who repeats themselves over and over again, and to avoid turning people away rather than pulling them in, try NOT to do these things:
- Do not intrude in people’s groups and ONLY post about your book sale.
- Do not invite people to “like” your author page if you have no intention of engaging with them.
- Do not send a few emails saying “buy my book” to your subscriber list, then disappear.
- Do not copy and paste the same “buy my book” posts in several different groups.
- Do not send people you don’t normally chat with instant messages about your book sale.
- Do not ever post about your book sale without including a purchase link.
- Do not make it impossible for people to find and contact you (have a website with contact me page)
- Do not ONLY send out salesy emails to your subscriber list.
- Do not sound needy in your pitches (“I need more reviews” or “Please check out my book”)
- Do not ignore people who comment or message you; always reply/respond.
- Do not throw together a cheaply made book cover then brag about how awesome it is (it’s not).
- Do not mention or talk about negative book reviews. Ever. Period.
- Do not pressure or guilt trip readers into purchasing a copy of your book.
I could go on and on based on some of the atrocious things I’ve seen authors doing daily on social media platforms. It never ceases to amaze me how these authors never stop and self-evaluate. How do they not realize these things are working against them?
If you post “buy my book” in several different groups, and you notice you get maybe one or two “likes” but no really engaging comments or sales from the post…what does that tell you? Either something is off with your sales pitch OR you’re selling too much, too frequently.
Instead, try to go with the 80/20 rule. In my business, for example, I try to make sure that 80% of my emails and posts are informative/helpful/useful to authors and only 20% are pitchy/salesy. People in the marketing industry call the 80% “nurturing.” Why? Because that’s what you’re doing. Rather than selling, selling, selling, you should spend most of your time nurturing your relationship with readers and followers. THEN you can go in and throw in a good sales pitch here and there.
Trust me. This is a much better way to get the word out, and it’s much more effective than constantly shouting in everyone’s virtual face that they MUST buy your book. It won’t work. It never does. And, as I said earlier, it may work against you.
You’re supposed to be building an online presence that makes readers feel like they can relate to you, connect with you, and find kinship with you. Once you build and foster those relationships, THEN you can go in and politely suggest, “Hey, so, not sure if you heard or not, but I recently published this book. Let me tell you a bit about it…”
That would be so much more effective than shouting it from the rooftops and just hoping and praying that someone will hear you off in the distance and run out and buy your book, just cuz, you know, you said to. That’ll never happen.
So, don’t be the annoyingly loud, repetitive talker in the group at the party.
Instead, find a group of like-minded people you want to get to know better. Approach them at the right time. Be polite. And engage with them over whatever interests THEM. Then, when the time is right, after you’ve spent some time getting acquainted, THAT’S when you can pull them aside and quietly say, “Hey, by the way. I wrote this book…”
I hope this gives you some food for thought, and that you will heed my warning to not be that loud, annoying car salesman who turns people off the moment they open their virtual mouth.
If you ever have any questions on how to appropriately market your book in a way that is respectful, relatable, and effective, always feel free to reach out to me or my team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.