Beware! Promotion and Marketing for Serious Authors Only!

What if I told you I could help you sell %500 more books in less than a month; that I had personal media ties; that I could get you top exposure everywhere and keep the momentum going to sell thousands of books for years to come? Obviously, such an opportunity wouldn’t come cheap. If I said I can do all that for $200, you’d laugh at me (even though actually, I probably could do it for that much).

Instead, just so that you’d believe me, I’d have to price is pretty high, let’s say $1200. But that’s a serious investment. So I’d also say that this is for serious authors only. I’m telling you, if you aren’t willing to pay my price, then you aren’t a serious author. You don’t deserve my marketing and promotion services. This is a classic sales technique – and it works.

But be careful you don’t fall for it!

I’m not saying companies that use that phrase aren’t good at what they do. Actually, knowing that the company is using well-tested sales psychology to get your business is some indication that they know what they’re doing. Just make sure you know what you’re paying for.

Author marketing services you should pay for

Most authors have no idea how to promote their book – so they focus on spreading the news, “John Doe, local baker, has written a book.” The problem is that neither you nor your book are newsworthy! Nobody is going to do a story about you, because there is no story. A story is about somebody doing something incredibly strange, bizarre, daring or extraordinary. So what if, for example, you baked a 500foot cake and rewrote your entire novel in frosting, then invited an elementary school to come and eat it. THAT is newsworthy.

The trick is to DO something amazing that is worth sharing (just a picture of that cake would go viral on facebook!) Something amazing, that you can photograph and share. That’s something to write a press release about. That’s an angle.

A normal book promotion or marketing service will do some very basic things for you, like write a press release, make an author website, contact lots of media for you, and share your book online. But chances are none of that will work, if the only story you’re pitching is “yet another author has written yet another book.” In contrast, get the right hook or angle, do something truly extraordinary, and the news will spread with little effort.

Do you need to hire a book marketer or publicist?

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t pay for a book marketer or publicist. At the very least, they are doing some basic things you need. If you’ve got the money and don’t want to do it yourself, it can save you time. And a great marketer will find the right pitch or angle for you, although you should be proactive about it yourself as well. If you’re already doing everything right, then hiring a book marketing expert makes a lot of sense; just don’t do it too early because you don’t know what else to do.

Before you spend the money, make sure you aren’t making these mistakes

1. The biggest mistake is trying to promote an unfinished book, that hasn’t been professionally edited, and that has an ugly or lack-lustre cover. Nobody is going to touch your book if it looks like crap, even if the story is good. So make sure it can represent itself before you try to get people’s attention.

2. The next biggest mistake is ignoring your Amazon page. I’ve seen so many authors promoting their book so hard, and when they actually get me to go to their amazon page, they have no reviews and a low sales rank! Amazon is your Sales Gateway! You are funneling people there to make the purchase. It is the most important page in the world; and it needs to be done the right way – just like a well-written sales letter, with social proofs, testimonials, a problem+answer, etc. Don’t start promoting AT ALL until your amazon page can convert that traffic to sales.

3. Don’t try to promote just one book. I know this is hard news to take, but especially if you’re writing novels, please listen: put the money in the bank, crank out five short stories and two more novels. Put professional covers on them all. Get some great amazon reviews. Now that you have a body of work, all of the subsequent marketing efforts you invest in will have 10X the return! Makes sense, right? So play the long game!

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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