Book Marketing Mistakes — What You Don’t Know About Book Marketing Could Cost You Big

by Karen Jonson

The High Cost of Book Marketing Mistakes include Wasted Money, Low Book Sales, Lost Time, and Loss of Confidence

Book Marketing Essentials

Learning book marketing from the ground up is the smartest, most effective way to create a book marketing strategy that works for your books.

How much do you truly know about book marketing?

Your answer could make the difference between being an author with a book to sell, and being an author who is regularly selling healthy quantities of his or her books.

There is plenty of book marketing advice floating around out there. Everyone has an opinion — or a gimmick.

My email inbox is stuffed with offers everyday about the next great way to reach “bestseller” status. But, as we all know, most of these offers are pie-in-the-sky come-ons that will cost self-published authors dearly.

You Have a Lot to Lose When You Don’t Understand Book Marketing

As a self-published author, you have a lot to lose if you don’t understand marketing before you launch your book. Here are the four leading ways you could lose:

1. You’ll Waste Your Money.

If you don’t understand book marketing, you are more likely to fall for costly gimmicks.

I’ve heard appalling stories of indie authors spending thousands of dollars ($15,000 in one case!) on marketing services that resulted in almost no book sales.

Even spending hundreds of dollars on the wrong information can be financially devastating for the average indie author.

It simply makes no sense for self-published authors to pour cash into marketing their books, because all too often they will never recoup that money.

2. You’ll Experience Low or No Book Sales.

Few authors will ever sell more than a handful of books without understanding book marketing.

Even the authors who are making the news because they are selling massive quantities of books understood the dynamics of marketing and found a marketing tactic that worked for them.

However, that doesn’t mean that what worked for them will work for your books.

You have to find your book’s unique path to sales. And the only way to do that is to first completely understand book marketing.

3. You’ll Lose Valuable Time.

Time is our most precious resource, because you can never get back lost time.

Yet in the arena of book marketing and sales, self-published authors spend inordinate amounts of time doing things that don’t work. They are spinning their wheels and never getting any traction.

I’ve heard stories of self-published authors spending 12 or more hour days for months on end trying to sell their books — with little to no results.

The phrase “work smarter, not harder” comes to mind. These indie authors might be working hard at book marketing, but they are not working smart — simply because they are not doing the right things to sell THEIR books.

4. You’ll Lose Your Confidence.

So often self-published authors throw up their hands in defeat when their marketing efforts don’t have any impact on book sales. They have lost their confidence.

When this happens, they will either give up book writing or they’ll relegate themselves to their writing den proclaiming that “book marketing doesn’t work” and “I just want to write anyway.”

However, neither giving up writing nor giving up the dream of selling books will truly satisfy most authors.

The problem in many cases is that the author simply did not understand book marketing. To give up on a dream because they hadn’t learned this craft is very sad indeed.

What You Need to Know About Book Marketing to Avoid Wasting Your Time and Money

Book marketing covers the entire gamut of activities that authors engage in to make people aware of their books and to encourage them to purchase the books. It includes everything from a book’s cover design and back cover text, to publicity, to advertising.

In other words, book marketing is a very broad group of activities.

But what I’m seeing today from the people giving book marketing advice or opinions is that they dispense very minimal insight on the subject. Largely, people are pushing their individual agendas, whether it’s Facebook, or video, or offering your book for free on Amazon.

Many authors listen to this random advice and jump from one book promotional activity to another.

However, instead of focusing on only one or two gimmicky book marketing tactics, self-published authors need to first understand the full range of activities that fall under the umbrella of marketing. Only then can they make informed decisions on how best to market their books.

The Indie Book Marketing Workshop Gives Self-Published Authors Essential Marketing Know-How

Teaching self-published book authors the entire range of book marketing activities is one of the goals of the Indie Book Marketing Workshop.

This year-long online course covers a topic a week for 52 weeks, taking you through the entire process of book marketing — from creating your book marketing plan, to building your platform, to publicizing your books, to analyzing your results.

The Indie Book Marketing Workshop also includes membership in the Indie Book Marketing Community, where self-published authors can interact, ask questions, and gain insights from other indie authors who are learning book marketing from the ground up.

Sign up today to join the Indie Book Marketing Community — so you can gain the essential book marketing knowledge you need to market smarter and sell more of your books in 2013.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Linn December 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Interesting. I probably can do with this?


Gregg Huestis December 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Great article,

I find that this is my greatest hurdle. I know a lot about writing, interior & cover creation, but the marketing is my week point. I also don’t have a lot of money to invest into the promotion part. That’s the hardest part for me.

Gregg Huestis
Blessed To Be A Blessing Ministries


Karen Jonson December 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Hi Gregg,

A lot of authors are in that same situation. And it doesn’t really make sense to invest a bunch of money in an author’s first book, unless you have the money to spare.

There are many promotional activities you can do that will just cost you time, but not much money.



Ian McKay December 31, 2012 at 8:41 am

Sounds great! Just finished my first novel; so, now the hard part comes, getting it marketed properly. Sounds worth a look,


Karen Jonson December 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Hi Ian,

Thank you. Yes, please take a look.



Angie Tolpin January 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

This is my first time visiting your site… I found you from the “Authors Helping Authors” group on Linked in, which I joined this morning. I have so many questions for you. What would be the best way to contact you? Thanks


Karen Jonson January 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Hi Angie,

Thank you for looking for me here — I’m glad you found me.

You can ask me questions here.



Walter Danley, Jr. January 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

Hey Karen; In line with the marketing of my book, I’m considering the use of PR. Expensive stuff, that! What has your experience with PR been? Which of the many aspects (Radio/TV interviews, Press releases, Social Media campaigns, etc.) have you found to give the best “bang for the buck”?
Your thoughts on this are appreciated. Thanks,


Karen Jonson January 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hi Walter,

PR doesn’t have to be all that expensive. I have engaged in a lot of PR over my career, including managing the PR programs for several companies.

What works best in one situation will be different for another situation. So it’s impossible to give a concrete answer. I have read recent research that says social media is best for “building brands,” and less powerful for actual sales.

I’ll be covering all of the important points that authors should understand about PR in the Indie Book Marketing Workshop. Have you considered joining?



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