ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

Can You Market Your Book Too Much?

Updated on April 21, 2014

An Overview for Writers

Don't blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.

John D. Rockefeller

Writing is a good word. It is a happy word. It is a warm and fuzzy word.

Marketing is a bad word. It is a sad word. It is a pins and needles word.

And there you have the common wisdom of most writers. They love to write and they hate marketing their writing.

I have said before and I’ll say again, so hang in there one more time: writers love to write but they want nothing to do with the promotional side of writing.

Well too bad! You need to promote your work. How else can you expect anyone to read it? Your family and friends might read the book, but after that, who do you think really gives a rip about it?

However, I believe it is entirely possible to market your book too much. Let me explain what I have seen in over-promotion tactics, and then we’ll talk about a more balanced and intelligent approach.

Good marketing begins with a good product
Good marketing begins with a good product | Source

The Social Media Blitz

Marketing is what you do when your product is no good.

Edwin Land

I don’t know how many times I have seen this particular tactic, but I have to tell you it turns me off and makes me determined to never read a book by an author who uses it.

Spend some time on Facebook. Most writers I know already do this, but the next few times you sign in pay attention to the writers who are promoting their work. There are some who believe it to be their job to advertise their latest book two, three, four or more times each day. They are justifiably proud of their work and they want to see it succeed, so every opportunity that they get they put their book up on the Facebook feed and tell you how great it is.

You all know who I’m talking about, don’t you? I’m willing to bet you know of an author right now who is doing this. Do you want to know what my reaction to this marketing blitz is? It annoys the hell out of me quite frankly. I am a reasonably intelligent person, and after the first five advertisements on Facebook I have pretty much figured out that the author has a book to sell. I know they are excited but enough is enough. KNOCK IT OFF!

What these authors have done is the exact opposite of what they set out to do. They have alienated potential buyers by being annoying, and that is no way to market a book.

And if that isn’t bad enough, there are other authors and musicians and sculptors and artists and photographers, and they are all doing the same thing.

I believe I am speaking for the common man, the daily Facebook browser, when I say WE CAN’T TAKE IT ANY LONGER!

Be smart like a fox
Be smart like a fox | Source

So What Should You Do?

In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?

Roy H. Williams

Despite what some may think, marketing is not a synonym for Facebook, nor is it a synonym for Twitter or whatever other social media strikes your fancy. Marketing is a well-rounded effort to reach as many people as possible with a positive message, and that message is that you have something that the buyer wants…..and if they don’t want it now then you will give them a reason for wanting it NOW!

Listen, of course if you have written a book, you should announce it on Facebook. Of course you should open a Facebook page just for that book…..and then move on to the next stage of your marketing.

Do book signings. Do book readings. Get your book accepted into local bookstores. Get business cards and open a website for you, the author, and your new book. Contact the local media, the radio stations, the newspapers, the public television stations, and tell them you have a new book. Take advantage of any free advertising that you can find in your community.

You can also market your book in a passive manner. I do this quite often. I will write an article about the art of writing, and I will use my book as an example when making a point, and then I will provide links to my book within the article. That way I’m not beating my readers over the head but instead I’m sneaking the message in the back door.

Here Is the Point I Want to Make About Marketing

As if I didn’t already make it….use all of the resources you have at your disposal. There is an old cliché that has great truth to it: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you drop the basket you will be having baloney for dinner instead of an omelet.

The Greatest Marketing Tool a Writer Can Have

Are you ready for it? This is important so pay close attention.

If you are a writer, and you want your book to be read by thousands….hell, let’s shoot for the moon…read by tens of thousands….then write a quality book.

What a concept!!!!! Deliver an excellent product and people will find it and buy it.

Has anyone out there heard of “word of mouth advertising?” Well it’s free, and it spreads, and it doesn’t cost a penny….but it will never happen if the product you are selling is mediocre or bad. The first step any writer should take is to write a good book. You can dazzle them on Facebook with your book design and your clever slogans, but if your book is trash then word will spread, and that is not the kind of advertising you want now is it?

Conversely, if you write an excellent book, a holy cow book, then word will spread, and it will be good words of praise, and from that you will see more sales.

Are you starting to get the picture?

A Harsh Reality to Swallow

There is no doubt that ebooks offer a wonderful opportunity to writers who would otherwise never get published. Literally anyone can be a published author and on one level that is a very good thing indeed.

But……

There is no substitute for quality.

So try this if you are a writer.

Instead of beating people over the head with a constant flood of Facebook snippets about a mediocre book, try using all of the marketing tools that are available to you to promote your quality book.

Read that sentence again.

Instead of beating people over the head with a constant flood of Facebook snippets about a MEDIOCRE BOOK, try using all of the marketing tools that are available to you to promote your QUALITY BOOK!

See the difference?

I want you to succeed
I want you to succeed | Source

I Want You to Succeed

I really do! Why else would I write a blog about writing and compose so many articles about writing? My tagline says it all….”Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.” That’s what I want for you. I hate watching writers waste their time and effort backing a dead horse, or backing a good horse but not knowing how to train it properly.

If you take nothing else from this article then I want you to take with you these two truths:

  • Nothing beats a good product
  • Smart marketing beats dumb marketing every single day

I wish you success in your next book venture. Remember that writing is a happy word, and I wish you all the happiness that you deserve.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 3 years ago from The Netherlands

      Some sound advice Bill. There is a lot you can do yourself. Delivering a good product and marketing it.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      I love the advice to write about something similar and sneak int he back door. Definitely would utilize this if I could int he future. As always some great sound tips and huge thank you for that. Have a wonderful Monday and week ahead, too!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you! Up, useful and interesting! Great advice, great hub! If I may add one more marketing tactic....

      I am in a book club. Occasionally, authors will offer us copies of their books. All they ask for in return is that we leave a review on their website.

      Have a great day, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Raymond! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I'm just tired of all the Facebook ads, so I thought I would say something about it. :) enjoy your day my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, that is an excellent suggestion. Thank you for sharing that one. In all honesty I had not thought of this, but you can bet I'll be doing it.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I so agree with you. When I see the same FB promotions over and over again, I don't even read them. I hit delete when the notifications pop up in my inbox.

      I'm glad to see you have a new website in the works. I'll definitely bookmark the page!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sha! I think we both know one particular person who needs to shut it down for awhile.

      With the new book coming it was time to spend the money on that website.....Lizzy is helping me with it while she recovers from giving birth...I love the HP community.

      and I love you

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I hope I have a book to market one day. If I do, I will heed your always wise advice! Up, awesome, useful and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pop, and I hope you have a book one day too. You can count on me to promote it when it happens.

    • Rafiq23 profile image

      Muhammad Rafiq 3 years ago from Pakistan

      Great marketing tips Bill! I agree with you that quality is more important than marketing a mediocre book. Great hub!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Oh Thoreau of the 21st Century! Great works by the sagest Sage of them all! Love it!

      Really, you do what you do best: put it into words all or us dummies can understand. Have you thought of writing a book "Writing For Dummies"? It would be a bestseller for sure.

      I am still struggling along with my ideas; at last count nearly thirty separate books underway. My biggest problem is time: I have none. Little snippets here and there, not enough to do much beyond plopping down an idea, a few sentences or so. I can count on as soon as I pick up my laptop and begin to re-read a storyline in order to regain (or attempt to) the feel of the story, someone needs something. As Stephen King advised, we writers need a space to work. I have none. Maybe someday. In the meantime I will do my little works here and there and catch a few moments of true writing as they are available.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Useful Bill! I do think there are too many ebooks out there of poor quality--it is easy to publish and just as easy to hit the trash--

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great quotes, great stuff, awesome and interesting not to mention useful.

      Once again these same ideas can be applied to spreading the love!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billybuc: Voted up, useful and interesting! Yes, I know who you mean on Face Book...I've seen some bragging too. I actually ordered one of the books, and it is good, but a slow read...I whizzed through your book in no time, as it has a lot of energy and page turners in it. This is an excellent hub, which I will use, along with all your others, when getting ready to publish the book I am working on. Your energy is contagious, and I applaud you for your genuine interest in your fellow writers. I feel we are actually a 'family' and I am so thankful to be a part of it.

      God bless, Sparklea PS: I pray for you, Bev, your dog, the chickens and even your neighbors every single day!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Indeed I do Bill and it's quite distressing. I actually like this person a great deal, but enough has become too much.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      You're right--many writers think that more marketing will help sell books when what they need to do is create quality work that people will actually want to read. I would add that a writer should reach out to his or her audience rather than repeat the same "buy now" message. I find that I'm most interested in the ones who offer some kind of assistance to the reader: thought-provoking Facebook posts, valuable information, or even free e-books that whet the appetite for more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rafiq! I appreciate it my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, you are a good friend and I appreciate you greatly. We may never meet in person but that does not discount the friendship. As for your writing career....things will change eventually, and when they do you will have a heck of a lot of ideas to choose from. :) Thanks buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I feel the same way, Audrey. It's like the get rich quick schemes.....rarely do they work out.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      They can indeed, Eric, and I know you are doing that my friend. Have a great week and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, what a doll you are. Thank you for the prayers and the kind words. Yes, I feel the same way..we are a family.

      Thank you for being you.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I like her too, Sha, but she needs to wrap it up now.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, is that you???? This is a serious comment. My God, what has happened to my Lizzy?????

      LOL...thanks my dear.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Great advice billy, yes I know which ones you mean and yes a great big yawn from me too! I have an ebook, want to see it on facebook? LOL! no seriously I get your very valid points, great job as always, nell

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I'm an enigma. :D

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes you are, Lizzy! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, it's good to know I'm not alone. Thank you as always my friend and have a great week in April!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 3 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Ha, hope my "marketing" efforts have not been too much !

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I definitely was not thinking of you when I wrote this....besides, your efforts are not self-serving and that makes all the difference in the world. :) Thanks, buddy!

    • lawdoctorlee profile image

      Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD 3 years ago from New York, NY

      What can I tell you, Bill...you are a good dose of inspiration for writers and a much needed reality check :) Keep doing what you do. As always, I wish you much continued success. I agree...if you want to sell books, make a quality book, preferably with something important to say.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      You're right. I have found so many wonderful books that are found in second hand stores, and among them some special gems that many other people may never know exists. You have to believe in your book and market it completely and full force because you know you are saying something important, and saying it well and right. I have added this to my pinterest.

    • Phillbert profile image

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 3 years ago from The Ozarks

      Great advice. A lot of us writer folk could use it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you lawdoc...from the voice of experience. I hope you are well my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      grand old lady, I hope you had a nice Easter. Thank you so much for always being here. You follow the right philosophy in writing for sure.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phillbert, thank you so much. Yes indeed, a lot of us writers need this reminder.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Great advice to add to the rest of your suggestions for writers, Bill. Thank you!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Some good advice Bill. Always vote up and interesting...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Alicia!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, a belated Happy Easter to you and as always, thank you!

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Let me tell you about my marketing plan. I need a bunch of money because I need to move somewhere people actually care. In my little area of PA, no one will do a thing for an indie author. They don't want them at the book fairs, they don't want them doing book signings at their store, and the media won't even talk to you. I'm to the point I'm so fed up with trying my hardest and having the doors slammed in my face.

      Sorry about the rant. I'll keep following your advice and maybe some day someone out there will say "Cool! A local author! Come on in!"

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      Another great article Bill. I was wondering if I've been marketing my articles from other sites too much or too little. This was great insight. Thanks. Michele

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 3 years ago from USA

      First I need to finish my eBook. Thanks for another great informative article.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, you can rant here any old time you want to....and I hear your frustration. I'm sorry your community is like that. It's hard for me to imagine because I live in the exact opposite situation.

      Carry on my friend. Success may be right around the corner but it isn't visible yet.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, I can't answer that one for you, but I wish you well in your endeavors. Thank you!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I never would have thought that marketing could be overdone. You make plenty sense. Thanks for the explanation. You encourage quality work and nothing beats that.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      You speak the truth. Regardless of what spinning you do at the end of the day the written product will dictate it's success. That is a good enough reason for us all to strive for the highest standards we can achieve.

      Useful and relevant as always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I believe that with all my heart. Nothing beats quality work. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Anna! I always feel better when writers such as yourself agree with me. :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Great advice, Bill, as always! Enough is enough, but must be just the right amount ... Whew, I have seen writers marketing and marketing, and it wears me out from watching all of their hard work, which marketing is indeed. The bottom line, however, is a good product will sell itself in the long run.

      I am not active on Facebook, so I am clueless as to all of that ...

      Catching up from the Easter weekend and this long Monday.

      Blessings

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I see that look in the eyes of the fox got to be smart and foxy a well advised hub as usual you just know how to and when to inform us of such helpful information.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Wonderful advice, as always Billybuc! And can I add to be careful about using someone else's comments about your book (or article or blog post) as a promotional tool without running it by them? I have some lovely friends who are fairly new authors and while I enjoy reading their work I've noticed that they will sometimes take a positive comment that I made, and forward it on to the rest of the world with a link attached to the article/blog/book, thereby turning me into a spokesperson without asking. I'm happy to support them, but would appreciate the common courtesy of being asked first! As always, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and advice!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, once again I have to agree with you, although It must be an incredible feeling to see one's work in print, to know the pride that comes with holding something you've created, and rightly so. It's only natural to want to shout it from the top of the roof, but there's a point when too much is just that, too much. When people push too hard I simply turn off, I think most people do. However; I feel good when someone makes it, but as you've said, if the product is good the word will spread.

      I hope you had a happy Easter and all is well, take care and my best to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I suspect you are much better off not being active on Facebook. LOL

      Thank you my friend and I hope you have a wonderful week.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much DDE! I love to share whatever knowledge I have with other writers.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jenn-Anne, it's always nice to see you. Thank you for a great comment and you are so right....it is unprofessional to do so, and writers should always act professionally. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Jo! We did have a happy Easter and I hope you did as well. Yes indeed, there is pride....but....too much is too much. We always walk that tightrope as authors.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Thanks for the encouragement billybuc. I know I can always count on you to lift me up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I try, Sheila, and I get the same from you my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      You speak the truth as only you can, delivering news that needs to be heard but what few want to listen to. I love it. "Knock it off. Enough is enough. We can't take it any longer!" Great stuff, Bill. Keep it coming!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for more great advice, Bill! This will definitely be helpful in the long run.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...thank you Flourish! Maybe this article was a bit self-serving, but I am tired of all the Facebook notices about someone's book.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope so, vkwok. Thank you!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Well said Bill and I can tell you are fired up about this topic! It's a fine line between marketing and overmarketing. I'm sure I've been guilty of over marketing a hub or two.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, we have all been guilty of it, but most of us learn eventually. :) Thank you and have a wonderful Thursday.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Well, I have FB, but I keep it private for family and close friends, and I do have another one just for sharing writing when I think about doing such. I think a fan page on FB is a good idea and that way those who go there will know it is strictly for one's writing. Seems there is too much drama on FB for me and a bit of ugliness too and indirect bullying as I have seen. I wonder if my family and close friends have unfriended me by now being I am not on there but every couple of months LOL Oops : )

      I try to remember "The Golden Rule" ...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, it does seem to be an open forum for the "uglies" of our world...but I see a great deal of beauty there as well, and that is what I concentrate on. Thank you as always my friend, and have a wonderful weekend.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks again for the great advice!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Deb, and thank you.

    Click to Rate This Article