Way back when I decided that I should start making a true effort toward marketing my books, I realized that I should probably take the plunge and actually attempt reading one of the myriad marketing books out there.
This past week, after having a couple sitting on my Kindle since that fateful day months ago, I finally did.
Now, I’m going to start this piece right here by saying that I have only read a small portion of one single book marketing book, and this should, by no means, be considered a true sample of the whole of what’s out there, especially seeing as I hadn’t read more than 40% of the one I did read…and of that, I honestly skipped a lot…and it was a short one.
But, with that being said, there’s a lot I’ve seen in the marketing for book marketing books (that sentence seems a little extra meta than most) which causes me to believe that this really is a fairly good standard by which to measure them.
Okay, enough confusing disclaimers already…here’s my thoughts.
There are probably some great books out there on how to market your books. Considering the wealth of books out there on the subject, I just have to assume (pray, believe, hope upon hope) that there are. The problem here is just like with any other book on the market…there’s just so damned many of them that you’re going to have a pretty darn hard time finding them.
But here’s the second piece of the puzzle…I’m not certain that these books are going to be able to offer much that you wouldn’t be able to find just by going around and reading all the tons of marketing advice available for free on the internet. I know that some of my author friends who have been a ton more gung-ho about their marketing efforts (ie. read tons of book marketing books) have come out of their experience with some interesting tips on how they might be able to get more readers.
Of course…some of these tips are ones I consider rather questionable…from the “I’ll give you 5-stars if you give me 5-stars” type of author quid pro quo to the inserting the name of your book as a recommendation at the end of reviews for other books, they all just seem a little too much like dirty pool to me.
And the stuff I’ve seen…well, book marketing books typically seem to be a marketing venture in and of themselves, as they often work as marketing pieces for the other books written by the person who wrote the book you’re reading. It often goes like this, “When I was marketing my book [INSERT TITLE HERE], I often found myself having lots of trouble finding good ways to do so. Sure, I might have had [INSERT RELATIVELY FAMOUS NAME HERE] telling me my book was awesome, but I couldn’t get anyone to read it.” In fact… the marketing book I read (a portion of) was filled with little comments like these. And, honestly…I didn’t get much for marketing advice out of the part I read outside of “don’t be a jerk to your fans”.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it countless times again in the future (until it’s somehow not true…which I hope actually happens someday): No one today knows how to market a book effectively. Sure, there are things that might help, there are definitely things you can do to increase your own exposure…but what everyone is looking for out of these book marketing books (perhaps I should start calling them BM books?) is that quick fix, that single thing that will skyrocket them to immediate success…the lottery method.
You need to market your books. I may be the biggest hater of marketing in general, but I assure you that you absolutely MUST market your books if you ever hope to sell them. You can’t just expect your friends and family to do all the work for you, even if they still will probably be accountable for a larger portion of your success than anything else.
And in order to market your books effectively, you need to read as much advice as you can to get ideas on methods in which to increase your exposure. I don’t think anyone reading this would ever assume that they immediately have all the ideas possible on how to get their books in front of readers.
But BM books are a dangerous road. If you have the time, definitely dig in and read as many of them as you want (hopefully you aren’t pouring too much money into them). I would assume that a fair number of them regurgitate things you can find for free on the internet, which can be a great thing if you’re somehow having difficulty finding the free ones, or just don’t have the time behind a computer to look for them.
But realize one important fact: Most people writing BM books are really just looking for you to buy their other books. The advice contained within, for many of these books anyways, is often advice that everyone else is already saying, not anything new that will cause you to suddenly have a new view on how to make your books more market-available.
And no matter how you go about your researching on how to market, you’re going to have to dedicate a ton of time toward it.
Good luck! And have fun out there!