A few weeks ago, an author (who I will call Anna Banana) complained about low book sales. I did some poking around, and discovered that her book sold well for a couple of months. But, sales disappeared entirely in July. I explained to Anna Banana that it was pretty clear she had stopped promoting her book in July. I then once again sent her links to the two books that BookLocker authors receive at no charge that teach them about free and easy online book promotion. Anna Banana said she already had copies of the books.
Sometimes authors get offended when I call them out on such things. If the book isn’t being promoted, nobody’s going to know about it. There are multi-millions of books for sale on Amazon. If you aren’t promoting your book, the chance of somebody accidentally stumbling upon your book, and buying it, are extremely remote.
For example, let’s say I’m looking for a book on a pretty obscure topic – raising queen bees. I am referring to insects here; not mean girls. When I search for that term on Amazon, I get a whole lot of bee keeping products (including books). When I narrow my search to just books, lots of them pop up.
The top 2 results are “sponsored,” meaning the publishers (or authors) paid for that placement.
There are 12 beekeeping books total on that first page (along with an equal number books on how to avoid raising mean female humans).
On page two, there are even more results, and on page three, etc.
An author may think that his or her book containing advice on raising queen bees is an extremely obscure topic and, thus, easier to find on Amazon. But, clearly, he or she has lots of competition.
I am always stunned when authors flat refuse to promote their books. When I first hear this from an author (and, I do hear it a lot), I’m not sure if it’s:
Let’s face it. Like the rest of society, a certain percentage of authors are narcissists. They started out thinking they had something extremely important to say that would benefit the rest of the world. They then refused to listen to advice about their writing and/or their book in general. And, finally, when the book hits the market, they are “too important” to do any promotional work. But, their work is SO AWESOME that they don’t need to. People will surely be falling all over themselves to purchase that book just because it exists, right?!
Some authors just do what they want to do. They don’t like book promotion so they just don’t do it. Period. They know it’s required for book sales, and they WANT their book to sell, but they’re not willing to go to the effort required to sell copies.
Then there are the authors who just don’t care if their book sells or not. They’re happy to have a book on their bookshelf to show off to others. They’re proud to be able to say they’re a “published author.” That’s it. Their book was Dead on Arrival (D.O.A.) when it hit Amazon and other databases. And, they don’t care.
So, let’s get back to Anna Banana. When an author admits he or she isn’t promoting his or her book, I ask the author further questions. The response I receive quickly tells me what type of author he or she is.
If you are are a non-promoting author, using the list above, which type are you? Which type do you think Anna Banana is?
Anna Banana wrote back, and admitted that she will not be promoting her book. She knows there’s a big market for her book and she knows people will find her book, and buy it, through no effort on her part – because it’s THAT good. She added that promotion leaves less time for her to write her next book. She has several books planned on the same topic as her first book, and people everywhere will benefit from all of the information so she MUST get those books written.
Always one to be happy to state the obvious, I replied:
“If you do no book promotion, people won’t know about your book(s) so nobody’s going to buy them. And, that means nobody’s going to read them. In short, if you don’t promote your book(s), nobody will benefit from them at all.”
Anna Banana stopped responding to me after that. And, her book still isn’t selling so I know she did not take my advice.
So, which author is Anna Banana? Is she an egomaniac, is she lazy, or is she apathetic?
Most of you have probably already figured it out. Anna Banana is an EGOMANIAC.
Her words are so important that she can’t even be bothered to tell people about them. She must continue to write more, and more, and more words – several books’ worth!! She doesn’t need to promote the books because they are so important that they will promote themselves.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Your book won’t sell if you write it, and then abandon it, in the hopes that it will somehow “take off.”
If you write it, they will NOT come…unless you promote it.
Needless to say, we will not be publishing Anna Banana’s future books. At BookLocker, we break even on setup fees, and earn our profits on book sales. If she doesn’t promote her books, they will not sell. Period.
- How I Sold a Million Books – by Darlene Franklin
- What’s The Secret to Ongoing, Consistent BOOK SALES?
- Does Facebook Trump Ezines for Book Promotion? No!
- How To Use “Comment Marketing” To Land Clients!
- The Biggest Marketing Mistake New Authors Make!
- BEFORE YOU PAY TO PLAY: Ethical Book Promotion
- The Secret Angst of Book Promotion
- How Do I Subtly (and Effectively) Promote My Book When “Commenting” on Articles?
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy
Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.
We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!
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Pingback: Writing and Selling Books Ain’t for Sloths! – by Tom Douglas | WritersWeekly.com
A better question is, ‘how can I share my talents/insights without becoming an email/marketing troll?’ What about values, ethics, or toxic tech?
All of the advice in 90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online is ethical. Book promotion should never involve spam.
My lack of tech skills is hindering me when it comes to promotion, also I have vision & other health issues. And it’s too expensive to hire someone to constantly come out here to help me. I write because I enjoy it & it’s therapeutic.
Season’s Greetings Angela!, When I began promoting my first narrative poem it was not available in print. I had been trying for years to get a “real publisher” interested because funds and know how were in short supply. The process of trial and error made me feel like a rubber chicken because ever time I stuck my neck out I got tossed around at best if not chewed up by dogs guarding the gates of traditional publishers. Hatching new ways to reach the audience for my works is now my everyday thing and I help countless others reach out with their subject related art too! In short, promoting your work is worth the effort. Go for it!
Excellent advice, Angela! I think most authors (including myself) are guilty of at least one of these.