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Book marketing overwhelm: You can’t do it all

Raise your hand if you really want to stop thinking about book marketing and just write your next book.

Without even seeing you, I know that many (if not most) authors reading this have their hands up. You could be suffering from book marketing overwhelm.

Even novice authors discover quickly that it’s not enough to just write a book. If you want people to read it, those readers have to know about it. Getting your book title in front of the right people takes time, knowledge, and effort.

You have to . . .

You have to be using social media effectively.

You need publicity — free exposure in the news media.

You need to plan and execute a virtual book tour.

You need reader reviews. And then more reader reviews.

You need to be a podcaster.

You need to be a blogger.

And this is just a start. There’s so much you “need” to do to promote your book.

Or is there?

Do you really need to be doing all of this? Do you need to do any of it? Can you just do some of it?

Pick just one

book marketing overwhelmHere’s an unexpected idea: How about picking just one tactic and mastering it?

Let’s be honest. You don’t have time to do all of this. You might have a full-time job or personal responsibilities that barely leave you enough time for writing, let alone book marketing.

So give yourself permission to spend a little time upfront learning which tactic appears to be a good fit for:

  • Reaching the people who are most likely to read your book
  • The time you have available for marketing
  • Your skills
  • Your personality

If you’re shy, for example, you don’t need to master public speaking simply because it’s a good way to reach your audience. Guest blogging might be a better option for you, especially if you love to write.

If you “don’t get” Twitter, don’t use Twitter. It’s that simple. Even if you figure it out, if you don’t like it, using it will be a chore, not a pleasure.

But what would be a pleasure? And could that tactic help you reach the right people? If so, learn how to do that one thing better than anyone else.

To make sure you’re not wasting your time, use a simple tracking system to help you monitor and evaluate your results. Customize the sample Excel tracking file in “Social media data tracking for authors in 4 easy steps” so that it tracks what you’re measuring.

More books lead to more readers

Give yourself permission to experiment to find which tactic is the best fit for you, then spend your time on that approach, tuning out the rest (no matter what you hear from others).

That will give you more time to write that next book — the one that will help you build an audience for that one, the one before it, and the books to come.

What do you think of this idea? Would you like to master just one book marketing tactic, not all of them? Let us know in a comment. 

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  1. The best thing I did was to get my website going and develop a habit of posting, Facebook, and Twitter before (now almost 3 years before!) having a novel published. It would be just too much to try to get on top of all of that at once! I like the idea of figuring out one new thing and doing it very well. I can branch out from there, if I have to. Thanks, Sandy!

    1. That’s the right way to do it, Vicki. That way you’re building a platform before you need it — you’ll have a fan base waiting for that first mystery (which I can’t wait to read!).


  2. The information is very well pointed and important for people to understand. Because I made the decision to focus on writing, I am much happier.

    Having said that, I need to add that marketing has always been a pet peeve of mine. In some cases I will be using companies like Iuniverse but add additional marketing to what they provide.

    1. Many people don’t enjoy the marketing process, Merlin, but you can’t ignore it completely. I hope you find a rhythm that works for you.


  3. Sandy,

    Thanks for the encouraging message. I agree authors need to keep learning but to take action. Recently I wrote about When An Event Fails Your Expectations. I tell about meeting the executive director of that library and asking for name of the person who adds books to their collections. I sent that person a book yesterday and heard today they received it and were adding it to their collection. There is always a way to make good things happen.


    1. Thanks for that link, Terry. I love that you made lemonade out of that big lemon — that’s a great reminder for all of us to do the same when things don’t go as hoped or expected.

      And thanks for taking the time to comment. We always learn something from you!


  4. My “druthers” would be to concentrate on the blog on my website and write something interesting, and have lots of guest bloggers, at least once a week. But I can’t seem to hit on the secret for getting traffic to the site. I did recently have a wonderful consultation-provided by my publisher-with a professional marketer who had a few excellent and concrete suggestions: categorized posts; use guest bloggers; choose focused and practical topics; pull occasional past blogs up to the front with new intros. But I still am not quite “getting it.” It’s a wonderful website. I just need to learn how to use it. The social media are sometimes fun and I’ve worked them like crazy but they’re just too much to keep up with, postings zip past and are gone, memories are short, and I don’t think they’ve had a bit of impact on book sales. The other thing is reviews on amazon and goodreads. Even friends and family members, with all good intentions, often just don’t get around to actually doing them.

    1. Blog traffic is a slow build, Dean, which makes it frustrating. Plus, you need to be writing things that people want to read — that’s easier for some than for others. Have you talked to any of your target book readers about what would interest them? Are you sharing links to each post on the social networks that your target audience uses?


      1. Good morning, Sandy,
        Thank you for the suggestions. Here’s where I am with the blog. After talking with a marketing consultant I’m trying to do two things: post every week, same day, predictably, and vary both topics and, I hope, guest bloggers. I do link all those posts to the social media I use–FB, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. I’ll just keep at it, I guess, trying to improve the product itself and also trying to hook up with friends and acquaintances who have websites and are willing to share contacts. If you can think of anything else, I’d love to hear it. I can do the choosing of topics, hustling of guests, and the writing. The selling just escapes me.

        1. Dean, if you aren’t writing what people want to read, or if your social media posts aren’t written in a way that makes people think, “I need to read that,” then it will always be a struggle. Checking Google Analytics to see what posts have generated the most traffic, then writing more of those types of posts, might help.

          Also, nudge nudge NUDGE your guest bloggers to share the link to their post with their networks. Many forget to do that, so you need to ask.

          Good luck. I know it isn’t easy, but it sounds like you have faith in your product, and that’s important.


  5. Hi Sandy,

    I appreciated this post, esp. with my debut novel coming out soon. I’d much rather speak w/a group and connect face-to-face than do ANYTHING online, but I have been working on my blog.

    So I hope those two combined will do the trick –probably not realistic, but since when are writers realistic? LOL

    1. Sounds smart, Gail! Just make sure you share links to your blog posts on social media so that people know you’ve got great content there and come back for more. I’m glad you like the face-to-face stuff — so many don’t!


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