Clarissa Johal: #Marketing #Authors - The Elephant in the Room

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#Marketing #Authors - The Elephant in the Room

Today I'm going to offer my kernel of advice when it comes to spending money on book marketing. I hate hearing about authors who are ripped-off by Book Marketing People. Every author has been through this, so please don't feel bad if it's happened to you. It's the elephant in the room.

I was chatting with my author friends about this subject recently. Authors compare notes on this stuffso Book Marketing People, listen up. There are multitudes of marketing businesses who want our money. Some have the intention of helping us get ahead, others just want to make a profit and don't give a crap. Assess your marketing planwhat works, what doesn't work? Authors don't make a huge salary, in case you didn't know. Most of us work day jobs, and most of us work way more than 40 hours a week. We struggle enough with the writing side of the business without getting screwed over when it comes to marketing. So, if your intention is to make money off authors and you don't care about results (and you'd better do some soul-searching on that) f**k off.

Authors: I'm going to break it down for you. I know how divided your attention is: writing, submitting, self-marketing, and crying into your computer hoping that your books sell. I get it. Here's my advice from ten years of hit-and-miss & paying for book marketing.

Paying for a Blog Tour:

THE most popular way of "getting your book out there" is to hire a book tour company. Be very careful when doing this and do your homework. Stalk Follow one of their previous tours. Did they post in (what I call) Blogger Mills? You know what I'm talking about. Blogs that have streams and streams of book spotlights, no personal content, and mostly populated by other authors. You're preaching to the choir there, sorry. You'd be better off approaching smaller personal blogs. It's technically "less exposure," but you're more inclined to find new readers. Consider my blog open, by the way. Free of charge. I'll toss the gauntlet out there to every other author to do the same.

Paying for a Listing in an email Send-out:

Done that, been there. Several times. Akin to setting my money on fire and flushing it down the toilet. My takeaway is that BookBub was the only email send-out that paid off. Yes, it's expensive, yes, it's difficult to get listed. That said, I've never heard of another author (and I did my research) who lost money on BookBub. Including myself.

Paying for Advertising Online:

Two words: advertising blindness. People automatically tune-out advertising. We tune-out television commercials and online placement ads. Eyes go to the content, not the commercial. If you decide to do this, choose your advertising and placement wisely.

Paying for an Author Database Listing:

My latest email (and I get tons) offered a 20% off coupon to be listed in an "exclusive author database." For real? What reader trolls the internet looking for those? I wanted to bang my head on the computer, but was too busy deleting the email.


It's a competitive business and authors are always looking for ways to get noticed. Don't become prey to Book Marketing People offering a quick fix. Unfortunately, there isn't a magic bullet. I've had two of my books hit the bestseller list and have come to the conclusion that it takes time, perseverance, and a bit of luck.

I've released the elephant and comments are open. What's worked for you? What hasn't?

Photo credit: Sometimes when Fred was flat out doing housework he felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest. via photopin (license)


John Linwood Grant said...

I was interested recently to notice a number of writers turning up on social media to 'chat'. They turned out to be hybrids - writers who also run (or try to run) book marketing and promotion services. Not saying they're bad people, but it felt a little Trojan. I'm sticking to word-of-mouth until I see something reliable, although BookBub does look to be one of the best options if you're going to go there.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

I've seen that too, John. A bit of a move, if you ask me. We should be supporting, not feeding off one another

Unknown said...

Good post, Clarissa, thanks for addressing the issue. I feel like a babe in the woods most days, and I'm simply trying to get reviews. I get it, people are busy. People are important. I love 'em. But why is it so difficult to obtain a review? Bookbub may get me yet, but as of today, they haven't accepted my book. Page count? I wish they would consider word count!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you, Sharon :) Have you tried Instafreebie (the free plan, not paid) for offering copies of your book in return for a review? I feel for you--it's the one thing authors struggle to get.

Unknown said...

Yes, I usually do that - about 8% follow through.

Beth Turnage said...

@Sharon Anderson 8% is about right. One in ten.