Most Common Marketing Mistakes - Self-published Authors

Getting your book in front of people can feel like an impossible task sometimes. But did you know that often, you're getting in your own way? So let's talk about the most common mistakes authors make when trying to market their book:


Relying on friends and family


I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if your friends and family could get you rich or famous, you'd already be. In fact, everyone would be. The fact is that your friends and family are not your target audience and while their support is appreciated, it can actually be hindering your momentum.


Let's use my mom as an example. If she were to share my book, the people seeing it would be other people in their 50-60s with adult-aged children, many without their own families yet. Are those people my target audience? No. But if a teacher shares my book, other teachers are in her circle. If a mom shares my book, other moms are in her circle. See what I mean?


The same thing goes with sales algorithms. If my mom is the only one buying my books on Amazon, the website thinks: "Oh! Women with adult children are who purchase this product!" and shows me to more people like my mom. And since women with adult children rarely care about picture books, this makes me hit a wall. That's why getting in front of the RIGHT people is essential!


Follow trains


Once again, this goes back to algorithms. If the only people who are engaging with your social media accounts are authors, you get shown to more authors. Unfortunately, authors are not your target audience. It's really that simple. Instead, focus on creating content that resonates with your target audience. It will take time, consistency, and research (don't just use ANY hashtags - learn which ones work for your number of followers and niche) but you'll have better success in the long run.


Underestimating the importance of marketing

We see this one all the time: new authors release a book and it doesn't sell. Or they had good sales for the first 1-2 weeks before they halted. Unfortunately, the average self-published author never sells more than 250 copies in a book's LIFETIME. 😱 And most of those copies are sold to friends and family. Thankfully, that doesn't have to be your reality.


I say it all the time: people can't buy your book if they don't know it exists. Let that sink in...and then create a marketing plan that works for you.


Not creating a marketing plan


Many authors know that they should be marketing but have no clue how. The answer is easier than you'd think: you just need to create a marketing plan!


Businesses have marketing plans for a reason - they work! The contents of your marketing plan will vary based on your budget, schedule, target audience, and much more. But it's important to realize that people can't buy your book if they don't know it exists.


A marketing plan outlines an author’s specific marketing strategy that they’ll use to promote their written work to their audience. It should be a detailed, strategic document that specifies your target markets, marketing objectives, programs, activities, timescales, and resources according to your budget.


You can learn more in this video:

Click here to read the 4 Reasons Every Author Needs a Marketing Plan Starting too late


This is a biggie and the most common mistake self-published authors make. New authors think that marketing starts after publication but in reality, you should be marketing months before the book is released!


As you get sketches from your illustrator, share them with your following to build excitement. Ask your email list their opinion to get them involved. Set up preorders on Amazon so that when you're featured on podcasts, local media, articles, etc, you have a place to send that audience. These are just a few examples but there are SO many things you can do to have a strong book release.


There's good news though - even if you made these mistakes with your past books, you can learn how to market and use that knowledge for every future book release! We know that you can do this. And if you need help to get there, that's why we're here!



Need a template to create your marketing plan?


Want an expert to help? Book a free consultation to discuss how we can help you on your publishing journey:


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