No Money, Time, Or Skill To Promote Your Book?
Make Plenty Of Excuses About Your Book’s Invisibility?
Why Won’t You Hire A Marketing Pro?
Authors have many reasons to actively promote their books – to generate book sales, increase their brand, help others with their empowering message, to act as a calling card to get paid speaking/consulting gigs, to sell other services/books/products – but they seem to have even more excuses as to why they are not marketing their books – lack of knowledge or skills, little time available, don’t believe they need to market, feel awkward to do so. This leads them to one option: outsource their marketing, branding, and promoting – or surely commit publishing suicide. So why do too many authors sit on the sidelines?
Below are the common excuses/objections that I hear from authors who choose not to move forward in hiring a pro to advocate for them. Do you see yourself here? Don’t let this become you!
Here are some typical author excuses for not stepping up to the plate:
“I have no money.”
Well, not exactly true. You may have very little money, but not zero. You wouldn’t release a book with no budget. That wouldn’t make sense. Money and credit are equal. You may not have a lot of money in the bank, but you can use credit cards, borrow from a friend or family member, take a loan, or get an advance from an employer. I am not saying you should overspend. But I am saying be honest with yourself. You have some access to some money, therefore you can invest in yourself. It takes money to make money. PR is the down payment you make on your writing career. That said, do not refinance the home to pay for an expensive book marketing campaign, but dig up a few thousand to give yourself a fighting chance to get your book off the ground.
“I have little or no time to get involved.”
We all get 168 hours per week or 1,440 minutes per day. How you spend them is up to you. Chores, rest, work, commuting, parenting, and eating can take up the vast majority of your day. But you need to set aside some time for book publicity, even if you hire someone to help you. Set your priorities. Take a course on time management. Dump crap on others. Skip some things that you normally do, especially anything that is discretionary. Choose to give your book a chance and carve out some time for it.
“I have too much going on in my life.”
True, sometimes there is a lot going on. Sickness, divorce, death – or pregnancy, marriage, new job – or some combo of very good and very bad things can happen right now to any of us. But that is life. We can’t put off our plans for long. I would understand if someone momentarily delays a PR campaign if some major event happens to them, but at some point one needs to get back on track and make their marketing a priority if they are looking to truly accomplish something with their book. Most often it is not extreme events – tragedies and celebrations that have our minds preoccupied. It is merely day-to-day stress, fears, and frustrations that burden us disproportionately. See a therapist – then hire a book publicist!
“I don’t know which way to go.”
You can start small and build up. You can try a few things and see which works best. You can do what sounds affordable, reasonable, and attainable. Make a decision. Commit. You can update and alter your approach as you begin to see how things work out, but you can’t go anywhere if you just remain inert.
“I am not sure if I believe you are the right fit.”
Why not? What is a better fit? It can’t be me vs nothing. What looks better – why? Maybe you need to get what you need from more than one person. I do A and B; someone else does C, and maybe another does D. Teamwork – that sounds good. It is rare to find one-stop shopping for anything, including what authors need for branding, sales, and promotions, but find someone who is closest to perfection without expecting it.
“I don’t see the pay-off in what you are offering.”
Set a goal. Now measure that goal against what someone is offering you. Now go beyond your main goal and look at the big picture. Can something good come, in the short-term or long-term, from a solid book marketing campaign? Of course. Authors benefit in ways obvious: book sales, fame, glory. But they also benefit in other ways. They get to change society and influence others. They increase website traffic and build connections for selling some other product, book, service down the road. They build a media portfolio that helps establish them as an expert.
“I am not sure what all of my options are, nor do I feel qualified to prioritize or evaluate them.”
Your options are what I told you they are. You can research online other options, if they exist. None of this is a secret, so don’t use that lame excuse. Next, you don’t feel qualified to make a decision? Why not? It is like anything else. You have to make do with what you know and go off of that. You are bright enough to write a book; you have the intellectual capacity to see that doing nothing yields nothing, and that doing something that sounds fair or reasonable gives you a shot at growing your brand.
“I used a marketer once and was burned.”
So? I got married once and got divorced. I didn’t let that experience turn me off from marrying another woman. I love my wife of 18 years. Finding a good book marketer is like finding a good person to date. Sometimes you get a dud but sometimes you find a great person to support you. Learn from your past and grow from it. The solution is not to live in isolation and to not trust anyone or try again. No, the answer is to try again and again until you find the right one. Be willing to make mistakes or suffer setbacks. Hey, I am willing to play a sport even though there is no better than a fifty-fifty chance that I will win. It’s ok to fail or get screwed by someone, as uncomfortable as that may be. Don’t let it get in the way of going after what you want or need.
What they won’t say is what could really be holding them back, namely:
“I don’t believe in myself to carry this off.”
You are more capable than you give yourself credit for. Let the pro handle the heavy lifting of getting you media opportunities. Then, get coaching on how to communicate powerfully with the media. Watch yourself perform well. You can build on your early success and grow your brand with every successful interview, social media post, and speaking engagement.
“I don’t believe in my book.”
Many authors, as proud as they may be, could have doubts about their work. They know that it is one thing to write the book, but another to put it out there for everyone to criticize and examine. If you believe in your book, take the next step and market it. If you don’t believe in your book, revise it and then release it and go full throttle with your marketing. Have faith in yourself – and a thick skin. Some people will hate your book; most will ignore it. So what? Who gives a crap? Your goal is to find those who embrace your book. It is like dating – most women may not think much of you. So what? You just need the love of one good woman, so keep dating until you find her. And the same holds true with book marketing – keep working at it until you find your readers.
“I fear not failure, but success.”
You should only be so successful that it becomes a burden to you. First become successful, then worry about how you handle it. Let’s get real. Success doesn’t happen for everyone nor does it happen immediately or to such a point that you cannot keep up. Open up your mind, heart, and wallet -- and get in there so you have a chance at being a winner.
“I feel insecure and undecisive.”
It is only natural to feel this way about something you may know little about and see so many options and vendors floating around out there. Look, you need to promote, and if you won’t do it, you need a pro. It’s the same if you need a plumber, lawyer, accountant, doctor, or maid. You follow your gut, you ask questions and listen. You interview a few people who sound sensible and legitimate. You compare their offerings and make a decision. You can spend an entire life on the sidelines, not sure which way to go -- and you go nowhere.
Authors, get out of your own way. Stop being fear-filled whiners. Park the excuse-making machine. Get out there and mix it up. Join the hustle and bustle – you will enjoy it and reap the rewards once you commit to taking ownership of your book marketing.
I can’t wait to help you!
Read, Read, Read!!
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are the product of his genius. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo.