What I Believe #IWSG #BookMarketing

Hola, Insecure Writers Support Group! Nice to see you. Once again, thank you Mr. Alex J. Cavanaugh for bringing us all together to help each other through the ups & downs of this writing adventure. My insecurity, or rather challenge, this month is going to sound rather strange, particularly considering that I have a new release next month. What I'm struggling with right now is to not market my book. That's right, I said not

After five years of observation and direct experience, I've come to beleive that once a book is written and out there, there's very little an author can do to sell her own book. I've seen authors work their bums off, implementig really, really good marketing strategies with little to no sustained impact on sales. I've seen other authors do hardly anything at all and meet with great success. 

I believe sustainability of sales depends on a perfect storm of appealing cover/blurb/premise, the right timing, compelling story, and magic. All of those things work together to conjure the one thing that will bring about sustainable sales: word of mouth. An author can shout incessantly from the top of a mountain made of Rafflecopters, promo pics, book trailers & Instagram followers, but unless readers start talking about her book on their own, it ain't gonna sell.

I find this conclusion both frustrating and freeing. Frustrating because dammit, there's nothing I can do. Freeing because hey, I don't have to do anything! Well, maybe not nothing. We do have to make at least a small effort to let people know the book is out there in the hopes that they'll pick it up, read it, love it, and talk, talk, talk about it. What I'm trying to do is stick to a simple promo plan and not panic and shift into pointless promo overdrive - because as strong as my conviction is, I have to constantly resist the urge to shout from the top of that mountain. 

All that being said...come on now, you didn't expect me to go cold turkey, didjya? But I swear, this giveaway is part of my simple, basic plan. If you have any interest at all in a sassy Chic-lit/Love story please click away below and do what the Rafflecopter tells you. Thanks!

How do you keep from going into promo overdrive? 


LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, Nicki, and I believe every word of it. After the first push to get the word out on my social media sites and to get reviews/blurbs, I let the book go and do what it will do. Sink or swim. A couple of mine have sunk like rocks, a couple have done very well. If publishers knew how to create bestsellers, they'd be doing it with every book they publish. It truly is a combination of things, and most especially the "magic". All we can do as writers is keep writing.
Love this refreshing approach to all the marketing hoopla out there. Definitely something I'll keep in mind when I publish my next collection. Good luck with the release!
Anonymous said…
So, I have three books out and have barely done any research on how to market, which is pretty lousy, I know. It's just so confusing and overwhelming that I retreat into myself and keep writing. But I know, I KNOW I have to do something. This was an awesome post and actually, lets me peek my head out of my shell for a moment. So thanks for some fresh air!
L. Diane Wolfe said…
It all comes down to word of mouth and it can't be our own. We can't say it's great, others have to do it. That is very freeing.
SK Anthony said…
Ahhhhh so true!
Sure we have to do something but it really doesn't mean we have to kill ourselves. Things will happen with that extra bit of luck and by having those elements of the perfect storm ;)
Jennifer Lane said…
How much do I love that photo of the woman with a battery in her mouth? Perfection.

"I believe sustainability of sales depends on a perfect storm of appealing cover/blurb/premise, the right timing, compelling story, and magic."

Agreed. I would also add author brand and number of pubs/writing experience. Sure there are a few authors who have awesome sales for debut novels, but that is so rare.

But I think you can market the novel without being over the top or burning yourself out. I want people to hear about Vibby!
I don't overdo promotion ever because I hate it. I don't know if you're right about it not really helping or not. Please let us know how it works.
Arlee Bird said…
You got my attention with "marketing" I agree with just about everything you say here. I do believe that the personal author appearances can make a huge impact though they can be very difficult to secure.

Radio and TV interviews and speaking engagements allow authors to connect better to an audience than online promo and giveaways. Authors need to focus more on learning to put themselves out there in what are often uncomfortable out-of-the-comfort-zone situations. When we put ourselves in the lives of the potential buyers I think they become more receptive to buying our products.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out
Chrys Fey said…
I don't think I could do nothing. I feel it's my duty to do what I can and then let it go out of my hands. Not panicking and stressing ourselves out with a million things to promote our books is a good idea, though. And one I fully support. :)
Anonymous said…
Sometimes, when writers push their marketing too hard, it makes me less inclined to buy their books. I think your idea is a great idea. I'll try to do the same when the time comes.
F. Stone said…
I totally agree with your thoughts on marketing. I know I should put my promotional activities aside and dedicate more time on other things, including folding the laundry, call up friends more often, and make the cookies I promised hubby. However, it appears I've become addicted to finding the golden recipe that will draw readers into my web. I keep thinking that if I try this new thing, I'll be discovered. If there's a cure for this curse, please let me know, LOL. Thanks, Nicki.
Michael Di Gesu said…
Hey, Nicki,

BRRRRRR. I arrived back in Chicago yesterday. I am NOT HAPPY... LOL. So much is happening and I am still in limbo... Hopefully I'll have some good news later today. I found an awesome condo in Tampa and put in an offer. I've lost out on THREE other awesome places and I just hope this is it....

CONGRATS on you newest release! Such fun! I'll remember it when my book FINALLY COMES OUT... WHENEVER that is!!!! Lol.

Let's catch up soon...
I'm going to do everything I can before the release and during launch. After that, it's up to the readers.
Good to know I can relax after that.
dolorah said…
I have a vague interest in the genre. I've occasionally read some I like, so I'll throw my name in the giveaway hat :)

My marketing opinion is kinda like yours: advertising in the blogs to authors isn't the target audience. Its great for getting reviews, but not necessarily sales. Need to market to the places that readers follow. Amazon reviews, Good Reads, anywhere the average reader frequents. Of course, those places also open up the book to negative reviews, but at least it is getting read.
Liz Blocker said…
GREAT post, Nicki. I have a feeling you're saying things that the majority of people in publishing know, but are afraid to say. As a sole practitioner of my tiny day-job business, I can tell you that none of the marketing dollars I've ever spent did me much good - or at least, not half as much good as a word of mouth referral. So now I offer discounts to people who come in by referral, and to the people who referred them. If we could figure out a way to make this work for our books, we'd be famous. Ideas?
Carrie-Anne said…
I completely failed at promoting my books, and have no one to blame but myself. I wish I were well-connected enough to have one of those packed blog tours or other promotions ready to go months in advance.
I feel like I'm spinning my wheels in all directions trying to promote my books. It's frustrating, and you're so right. I'm in promo overdrive!

Good Luck and much success with your new book.
I've read a lot about the challenges of promoting books, so I have a lot of respect for you guys that kick it in overdrive. Excelsior!
Stephanie Bird said…
I do think there are various ways we can keep our books in the readers hands well after they've been published. My first, was published in 2004 and it is still in circulation. There are so many ways to keep a book relevant and circulating, and I'm sure you know all about them. They do work but at a certain point it's true, a book must grow legs and stand on its own merits. I love the photo for your give away. It makes me very curious about your giveaway and I'm going to check it out and read more. (Visiting from IWSG)
Cherie Colyer said…
I have to agree with you. Word of mouth is what sells books and there is no magic formula to get books in front of readers. An author has to promote a book, yes. But promotion overdrive doesn't equal sales. Of course, for my next book I will do promotions, I'm just taking a different approach this time around. We share see how it goes.

Cute promo pic! You got my attention. =)
Diane Burton said…
You make some good points. I still believe in the adage that God helps those who help themselves. That's not to say an author has to burn herself out marketing her book to the exclusion of everything else. The most important thing is to be writing the next book.
Dee Connell said…
This was so good! Yes, we have to do our part, but at a certain point, it's a waste of time to be continuously marketing when you could be writing a new and better book.
Caryn Caldwell said…
"I believe sustainability of sales depends on a perfect storm of appealing cover/blurb/premise, the right timing, compelling story, and magic."

Well said! I totally agree, too! And, yes, it's frustrating to not know what, exactly will work -- other than writing the next book, of course! It's the only thing that people say measurably sells more books.

Good luck promoing, either way!
So glad you said that! I have been obsessing over promotion so much that it has been ruining the writer fun. This little voice in my mind keeps nudging me and telling me to devote that energy to writing good books.

And even books/movies with national exposure? I don't drop money on them until a friend I trust gives me the green light.
Anonymous said…
I think I mostly agree, but after studying marketing and publishing trends for the last two years, I think it's not understanding all the outside factors that makes a difference in the book's success.
Sharon Himsl said…
I guess it's like with our children. At some point we have to let go. But I'm still optimistic that hard work will pay off.

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