Monday, April 17, 2023

Avoid These Book Marketing Mistakes


Everyone makes mistakes. To err is human. In fact, failure is a necessary prelude to success. They say if you are not failing enough, you’re not reaching high or trying beyond your means. That is what we call a good kind of failure. But this post is about stupid failure, the kind of mistakes that are avoidable and that you want to not make when it comes to marketing your book.  

Authors, please avoid these mistakes:


  • Waiting too long to start thinking about a book marketing campaign. Make a plan on how you will promote and sell your book way in advance of publishing it.   
  • Mistakenly believing that you can do it all on your own. Marketing requires a lot of help, resources, time, and effort. Be prepared to pay, barter, and beg for help from professionals, family, friends, and strangers. 
  • Wrongly assume they will succeed without expecting a solid plan that includes many buckets. To sell a book today, you must think about distribution, news media exposure, social media, speaking, book awards, advertising, book reviews, and other key areas. You need some blend of success in each or most of these areas.  
  • Falsely believe that the news media will cover your book simply because it is a great book. First, is it really great? There are 7500 new books released daily. That’s a lot of competition Second, even if it is great, the media won’t know it unless they read it, and they won’t read it unless they know it’s great. That’s a Catch-22. What to do? Help convince them it’s great, but this requires a savvy, targeted and resilient publicity campaign. 
  • Wrongly conclude that PR is a one-time thing. Really, it’s a chronic condition. Book publicity is an ongoing, perpetual thing that authors should constantly be doing.  

As an author, you are also a publicist. Wear the hat proudly. 

Here are some values you should seek to embrace:


  • You must promote or perish.
  • If you won’t actively promote, outsource the job.
  • Determine what you can buy to get what you want, such as a post from an influencer, an ad, a boosted post, or a paid book review.
  • Figure out what you can giveaway to get attention for your book - a website download of content? A free copy of an earlier book? A free copy of your new book?
  • Brand yourself -- not just your book.
  • Befriend people with big mouths to get early book buzz.
  • Always network- online, in-person, or by phone.
  • Partner with other authors - other writers can help you with advice, book reviews shared resources, or friendly support.
  • Diversify your efforts - don’t do “just speaking” or “just news media” - try to do a little of everything and a lot of whatever you find to be working well.
  • Remember, you are not just promoting a book or a fact - you sell perceptions, assumptions, appearances - and seek to be the answer to one’s needs or dreams. 

To market yourself successfully, give yourself a PR audit:

  • Asses your skill strengths and weaknesses as it relates to what’s needed to promote a book.
  • List and identify your connections. Who do you know that can help you?
  • Identify what is in your book or past that the news media will find of interest.
  • Research competing book titles. What do they do that you can copy?
  • Look at your calendar, bank account, and knowledge base. Do you have the time, money, and know-how to execute a solid book marketing campaign? 

Don’t let any of this scare you off. Get out there and market your book with the same passion, conviction, and sense of urgency that you took to writing your book. It’s okay to fail, but try to avoid the mistakes that you can easily stay clear of.


Need Book Marketing Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at  He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  



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