As authors, marketing is not always our strong suit, and many of us are just trying to figure it out as we go. In my journey, I’ve come across many mistakes (and made many as well), so here are five marketing mistakes you might be making as an author navigating the marketing world:
1) Not Linking Your URLs
You’d be surprised how many authors don’t do this.
If you’re going to be online, you need to be discoverable (as in, people need to be able to find you and your books easily). The problem I see a lot of new authors making is that they’ll have a website, a Goodreads, an Amazon author page… but none of it is backlinked.
So sometimes I’ll visit an author’s website, but there’s no direct link to their books. Sure, they’ve told me they have books, and maybe they’ve even shown me the cover and blurb, but how to find it and purchase it is a total mystery.
Did you know that:
- A LOT of people don’t know where to buy books online?
- People usually don’t think to just Google the title of your book.
- Even if they do, sometimes your book doesn’t show up in the first page of Google because you haven’t done any SEO optimisation, or you’re simply too new to the industry?
…so by not linking back to your book, your website, your socials… you’re making it incredibly difficult for people to purchase your book because they can’t find it. And if they can’t find it? They’ll probably forget about it and move on.
So make sure you link back to your website, your Twitter, your Facebook, and make sure it’s all interlinked, so people don’t have to go searching to find out who you are/where to buy your book.
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2) Not Having A Website or Online Presence
Carrying on from my previous point, you need to establish an online presence.
When I talk about online presence, I don’t just mean being visible in Facebook Groups or posting in threads online. I mean having your own social media platforms, a website, and being mentioned across various blogs and websites on the internet.
In order for people to find your book or your website, they need a way to encounter you and get an immediate first impression of who you are and what it is you do (or in this case, write).
The easiest way to get discovered is via social media, which is why having platforms is important. From there, people can be lead to your website, and eventually to your book listing. But chances of them finding your website or book listing are slim if you don’t have an online presence to begin with.
In this post, I talk more about why having an online presence is important, and how you can get started creating one as an author.
3) Not Having A Strategy Or Plan
Having a strategy is very important, and if you don’t have this, you’re basically stumbling around in the dark and relying on luck. In my experience, luck is of the rare variety, so it pays to have a plan of action.
Now, there are lots of strategies out there for book marketing, and there are no hard and fast rules for which ones work best because it really differs based on your genre, passion for book marketing, and willingness to show up. But at minimum, I suggest having a book launch strategy in place. Without this, everything else regarding book marketing becomes 10 x more difficult. Think of your launch strategy as a foundational step on your marketing journey.
I have some fantastic resources that can help you take this a step further which I’ve listed below for you:
- Why Book Launching Is Your #1 Best Asset (Instagram Live) – Watch Here
- Book Launching VS Evergreen Marketing (Podcast Episode) – Watch Here
- Behind The Scenes Of The Starlight Launch (Facebook Live via Happily Ever Author) – Watch Here
- How To Launch Your Book In 12 Easy Steps (Podcast Episode) – Watch Here
- Are You Treating Your Writing Like A Hobby Or A Business? (Facebook Live via Happily Ever Author) – Watch Here
4) Not Building Trust or Relationships With Your Audience
Building trust is the most important thing you can do to start selling books. Do you think people who create products just put them up for sale, let people know it’s up, and the sales just start rolling in?
No. It most certainly does not work like that.
The successful people who create and sell products are out here every single day communicating and engaging with their audience. And as an author and bookseller, that’s exactly what you need to be doing too.
Now, you might be thinking… “but as a reader, I don’t care about any of that. If I like a book, I’ll buy it.”
True. But there’s a lot of unconcious marketing work going on with even that:
- Think about the last huge thriller book that blew up (for me, it was The Girl On The Train). Think about how you came to know about that book, how it became so hyped, how you felt when everyone was raving about it? Didn’t it make you want to learn more, even if it was a book you’d usually never pick up?
- Or, think about the last time you found a random book in a bookshop or on Amazon… what was it that pulled you to the book? Was it the cover? The blurb? The raving reviews? A snippet the author shared?
- Or, try this: when I say ‘horror books’, who’s the first author that comes to mind? For me, it’s Stephan King, and when I tested this with a number of my clients, 8/9 of them said exactly the same thing. Why? Because he’s established himself to be a leader in the genre through credibility, success and widespread awareness. Even if you’ve never read from him, he’s probably the first author you’d seek out when looking for a horror novel.
So yes, we buy books impulsively all the time, for a number of reasons, but at the end of the day the author is still putting time and effort into building trust factor with you–whether it be through:
- Getting to know the author and the book prior to release.
- Coming to like the author and the book through the things they share and post online.
- Coming to trust the author and book through their choice in marketing visuals and messaging.
Trust is an essential component of book marketing, and I talk a whole lot more about building trust with readers in this post.
5) Not Setting Goals
I set goals every single day. I create lists with steps to achieve my goals. It’s what keeps me sane and on track. Without goals, I have no direction, and no plan.
If you aren’t setting goals, you are losing sales, because you don’t have a focus on what you’re trying to achieve. It’s like fumbling around in the dark all over again. So take some time to ask yourself what you really want to be getting out of your publishing experience, and don’t be afraid to aim big.
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Written by Pagan Malcolm
Pagan is a copywriter and coach helping fiction authors tell & sell their story.