Debunking some (very) common book marketing misconceptions

Coming up with a smart book marketing plan can be challenging. Especially because it’s vital that authors and publishers come up with a plan that’s right for their book. All book marketing is not equal. Each book is unique and therefore your plan must also be unique.

book marketing misconceptions

Having said that, there are a lot of misconceptions about what is “guaranteed” to work. Here’s a few of our favorites—and why we disagree:

Common Book Marketing Misconceptions


I have to develop my social media.

Do you really? Social media works as long as you are passionate, driven and willing to engage (frequently) with your followers. It involves sharing information, responding to followers, developing quality content and committing to time – frequently lots of it. This is a great piece of your marketing plan if you already love social media. This is not a good plan if the concept of social media is overwhelming or too time-consuming. You don’t have to have a huge social platform. It’s just one way to reach your reader – not the only way.



Readers will buy from my website.

Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. But limiting your distribution options limits the reach you have. Authors who sell only direct from their website face some hurdles: Will readers find the book/website? Do you have an eCommerce-friendly site in place? What’s the reader’s incentive to buy direct from you? If you are selling your book only from your website it’s vital that you have a plan for driving all buying traffic to that site instead one of the many .com retailers readers may be more comfortable with.



My book is perfect for everyone (all ages, all genres).

It’s great if your book has broad reach! But it’s also incredibly difficult to market a book that “perfect for everyone”. The most effective marketing plans are those that can target your reader – a history buff, sales rep, parent, educator, etc. Readers are likely more interested in a book that they know is targeted to their personal interests rather than one that is for “all readers”. Find your niche and market hard to that group of people. You can branch out from there as you garner more reviews and traffic.



All I need are Amazon reviews.

Amazon reviews are just one piece of a bigger marketing plan. They’re great and can be incredibly helpful! However, all to often authors focus all of their energy on just Amazon and/or just Goodreads. This frequently results in a beautiful Amazon page – great editorial reviews, wonderful content at Author Central, and a large number of consumer reviews. The problem with this single-focus strategy is that you may end up with a great Amazon page that no one knows about. A fantastic Amazon page with strong reviews can certainly help convert a visit in to a sale. However, unless you’re driving traffic to that page from outside source(s), you’re likely not going to have the visits you need to get that sale.



If a reviewer wants to review my book, they have to purchase it.

Nothing sells a book better than a book! To successfully launch your book marketing campaign, we strongly encourage authors and publishers to get involved in giveaways (Goodreads, Netgalley, etc.) and/or provide a free copy of the book to reviewers, bloggers, media, trade publications and more. Put together a strong pitch and offer a free copy of the book for consideration or review. If one free copy of the book results in a blog post seen by thousands, it’s likely well-worth the expense.



I’m just going to focus on one thing for marketing.

Whether that be sending a press release out through one of the many press release companies, doing a Goodreads giveaway, getting Amazon reviews or building a Twitter following, just one thing isn’t likely going to work. To be successful, it’s important to reach your readers in a strategic (but broad) way.  A combination of a number of different activities is likely going to garner the best results – frequently you’ll be surprised what “sticks”.



Marketing doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive. We’ve seen authors tackle marketing on their own and on a limited budget and be incredibly successful. One of my most recent favorites: an author who is from Atlanta who wrote a novel that takes place in Atlanta. He’s stuffed mailboxes, put up yard signs and advertised in the free local paper. He’s targeting the people of Atlanta and it’s working!


Bottom Line: Don’t buy in to the myth that there’s just one right way to market a book. Come up with a customized marketing plan that’s right for you and your book.


Be sure to check out our Book Marketing Cheat Sheet for more great book marketing tips!

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