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7 Tips for Avoiding Book Marketing Trends That No Longer Work

30 October 2016

From Penny Sansevieri via Digital Book World:

One of the biggest certainties about marketing trends, including book marketing trends, is that they are always in a state of change. This has a lot to do with changing technology. In nearly every aspect of every day, someone is marketing something to each of us.

. . . .

2. Print Ads
An author recently told me he was holding off doing any marketing until his ad ran in the New York Times. He had bought a $5,000 ad in the book section and was eager to see how it worked. It ended up being a $5,000 mistake. Print ads, unless you’ve already got a platform, are best to avoid. And even if you do have a platform, they’re still sketchy unless you’re already well-known.

Instead, try ebook ads. Ads, like the kind you buy to promote your ebook, work well, but truthfully, I am beginning to see the effect of these fading; you actually have to do more ads now to get the same amount of bounce. Thankfully, most ebook ads are cheap, so you can still do a lot of them and spend far less than you would on print.

3. Generic Blog Tours
This ties back into generic anything. You used to be able to host a blog tour and see the momentum for your book kick in almost immediately. That’s not really the case anymore.

Instead, try genre-based blog tours. Blog tours that are focused on your book topic, specifically, are far more effective and a better use of your time and money. They tend to be more work, but they are absolutely worth it in the long run. Regardless of how many book blogs you get featured on, focus on the niche blogs. This is not just because you want to stay away from generalized topics, but also because you reach a more highly focused audience.

. . . .

6. Bad Blogging
Blogging is important, and many of us would blog for the sake of blogging. That said, there’s a lot of content out there, and much of it isn’t really worth our time. With all the noise in our daily lives, it needs to be really good for us to want to spend time reading it.

Instead, practice good blogging skills. Put out solid content even if it means reducing how often per month you blog. Instead of blogging every day, consider posting once a week with stronger, better content. This is a case in which less is actually more. Readers will appreciate the effort, but almost more importantly, so will Google. You may see more traffic for one great piece than for five mediocre posts that are only interesting to those closest to you.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World


23 Comments to “7 Tips for Avoiding Book Marketing Trends That No Longer Work”

  1. As far as number one goes, don’t “personalize” your emails to me, claim to like a post of mine, and then try to sell me something. It’s just creepy.

  2. $5000 for a print based advert?
    He might as well have just chiselled the books title Into a stone block, and thrown it at people, for all the good it will do.

  3. These are probably decent marketing tips, but I just kind of shrug. I don’t know. Maybe I’m an oddball, but I have never bought/read a book because of the author’s banner advertisement, guest blogging, FB advertisement, Instagram feed, political stance, Guardian or NYT piece, charity event, giveaway, or cross-promotion on another author’s newsletter.

    I discover books via word-of-mouth, professional reviews from trusted sources, and catchy covers (whether I spot those covers in bookstores, libraries, or online makes no difference). I have no desire to “engage and connect” with authors whose works I admire, nor do I feel that they are obligated to be on a 24/7 open access online book tour just because they wrote a book and want it to sell. I don’t care if the ebook $3.99 or $11.99–I care more about not wasting my time on something subpar or out of my taste range.

    The way that these marketing blogs are written, I feel like I’m an outlier, but most likely I’m in the majority in terms of my buying habits. Just my $.02.

    • That says it all for me. I don’t give a damn about anyone’s marketing program (if I’m even aware of it, which isn’t likely), and it will have zero influence on whether I do or do not buy a book.

    • You’re not an outlier, Paula. I think far more people feel as you do than you realize. Most of these marketing techniques don’t bother to take the readers into account.

      • I’m on various Facebook pages with other authors, and at least once a week I see their posts pop up four or five times. I wonder how many people do actually click on those notices to see what ‘popular best selling author *** ***’ is pushing

    • “I discover books via word-of-mouth, professional reviews from trusted sources, and catchy covers (whether I spot those covers in bookstores, libraries, or online makes no difference).”

      I agree with this and it covers maybe 90% of what I buy. The other 10% is to diverse for words to summarize.

      I buy maybe 1-2 books per years for which price is no constraint and irrelevant. (I want what I want, as to these.) But for the other 30-40 books I buy each year, price is a factor. There’s more than enough out there I have some interest in.

      2 more cents.


    • If you’re an oddball, then so am I. I don’t get the push to be “out there” for the readers, in their face all day, everyday. Can’t stand that sort of thing.

      I don’t want to be annoying my email subscribers. I try to let them know of sales, even if they aren’t my books. Talk about what’s coming next. Maybe a cover reveal. A couple of times a month, max. And even then, I fear it’s too much.

    • I think that’s consistent with most people who read a lot (who we should be targeting).

      At the other end of the spectrum, my husband only buys a novel after he finds out Matt Damon will be doing the movie.

      (And I wrote this before reading PGs comment below.)

      • Thanks, Iola, and everyone, for your comments. Glad to see I’m not alone.

        Like I said, I’m sure these marketing tips work to some degree. We’ll never know why or for how long some tricks work. No one knows whether a particular book will take off or not. Marketing and advertising and promotion are all hit-or-miss. Welcome to the arts, where not everyone is going to make it. A lot of dreams get crushed. That’s how it’s always been.

        Anyway, the all the big blockbuster books are, to my knowledge, extraordinarily remarkable in some way (note that I said remarkable and not anything about great writing, although great writing probably doesn’t hurt. Remember: Fifty Shades of Grey was remarkable.) I’ve witnessed some fabulous campaigns in my time, so I have no doubt that these can work phenomenally well, but I’m just speaking for myself here. If anyone here is buying FB ads and seeing great returns, then make hay while the sun shines. All of this could end tomorrow.

        Happy Halloween! :o)

  4. OK, so these are the tips that don’t work. I get that.

    Now give us the seven tips that do work. I’m talking numbers, please, not anecdotes. Like, “publish more books”– well, yes, IF you’re writing and publishing books that readers want to read. Not so much if you’re not.

    I’m still waiting.

    • Go to the local mall and put flyers on windshields.

    • Heh, they’re not going to tell you that, there’s no money in it for them. Though they might be willing to sell you a book on how to do it, that’s where some of them make their money. 😉


      The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself. — Oscar Wilde

      Whenever someone tells you to take their advice, you can be pretty sure that they’re not using it.

    • “…well, yes, IF you’re writing and publishing books that readers want to read.”

      +1 to this.

    • So much this. Once someone reads my books they like them, getting that first look, is hell.

  5. Sansevieri is just another self-appointed marketing “expert” who has nothing substantive to offer. I’ve seen her posts at The Huffington Post and have learned to ignore them.

    • Just trolling for business, Peter. It’s how they roll. The only good thing I can say about the article is I didn’t have to click seven pages to read it.

  6. What book marketing trends are working?

    • Now that’s the million-dollar question.

    • I think it really ranges by genre. I’ve heard of people emailing their list weekly! Yikes. That would kill me. But it works for that author in that genre right now.

      I just had my first successful book launch ever and I am over the moon. It was a perfect storm of promos, 3rd book in a series, and maybe sunspots. Now I have to analyze what works for my books in my genre right now and try to do it again.

      I’ve been reading advice for years and trying a lot of things. I think it boils down to what is comfortable for the author to do consistently. For me, it’s mostly writing more books and buying the appropriate promos.

      As they say, YMMV.

    • Have a major Hollywood movie made from your book. 😉

    • From what I see from others, having a mailing list, author cross promos (done by folks who know what they’re doing), and getting into a good box set (that one helped me).

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