The Top 7 Ways Authors Mess Up Their Book Marketing


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Imagine this scenario: You've just finished your first book. You are thrilled beyond measure. Fantasies of best seller lists, limo rides in New York, and appearing on Oprah dance through your head…

It's a beautiful dream.

However, that dream can turn into a nightmare of wasted money and disappointment if you don't know how to market your masterpiece.

In fact, according to industry insiders, some new authors sell between 40 and 100 copies of their books. Yes, you read that correctly.

However, many new authors sell thousands of copies of their books. Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen of Chicken Soup fame sell millions of copies of books each year.

What's the difference?

Strategy and marketing skills make the difference between having cases of unsold books sitting in your garage and creating a media empire. If you don't know what to do with your book once it is written, it will be pretty difficult for you to sell many copies.

Thankfully, there are resources available to help you with all the facets of marketing your book successfully. There are many different techniques that you can use, depending on your personal strengths and preferences. There isn't a cookie cutter approach to book sales that you are required to follow.

In fact, if you know some of the most common book marketing mistakes, you can avoid them, saving yourself from wasting time and money.

Review this list carefully. Authors who don't sell many books:

  • Wait to plan their marketing efforts until after the book is written. That's like planning a wedding before you have a groom.
  • Fail to view the book as a business. Instead, they see their book as a passion, a message to the world, or a legacy. Sure, a book can be those things, but foremost, it is a business and requires an investment of time and resources in order to be successful.
  • Use a poorly designed cover. You have an average of 8 seconds to grab a reader's attention with your book cover. In fact, 75% of bookstore owners surveyed said that the number one reason a book did not sell in their stores was an unattractive cover.
  • Give up too soon. Some authors shelve their book if it does not sell well in the first month. Book selling is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes an average of three years for a new author to get a book selling briskly.
  • Depend on book signings and bookstore sales. It is very difficult for new authors to achieve significant sales in bookstores. Today's successful authors give readers a variety of ways to buy their books including on websites, with on-line retailers like Amazon, or at live appearances where the author presents a workshop or seminar.
  • Fail to give readers the chance for a second date. If a reader loves your book, he will be very likely to want to learn more from you. If you direct her to your website for a free report, worksheet, or article, you can begin a long term relationship that may lead to sales of additional products and services.
  • Aim for Oprah too soon. Appearing on talk shows can be a very effective way to sell lots of books. However, it takes skill and poise to give a great interview. Successful authors start with local radio and television shows, gain experience and skill in interviewing, and then work their way up to the larger shows. Really savvy authors hire media coaches who can help them avoid looking like a fool on national television.

    Now that you know what not to do, you can research the book marketing techniques you need to successfully sell your book. Many resources are available at your local library and on the internet.

    When you spend as much time planning the marketing of your book as you spend writing it, your book sales will make your dreams come true.

    Want to know 8 more book marketing mistakes you can avoid? Grab your free ecourse at Lynne Klippel is a publisher, author and book shepherd who specializes in helping authors write business building books.

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