“The average book published today is selling less than 300 print copies over its lifetime in the US retail channels.”
Steve Piersanti said that in his marvelous article, “10 Awful Truths About Publishing.” If you’re an author or just thinking about writing a book, add that article to your must-read list. One reason for the low sales figures is super intense competition. More and more books are produced every day and add to the pile of books that have been out for a while.
But competition isn’t the whole story. Too many authors whiff when it comes to marketing their books. They don’t do it. I think there are six reasons why.
They don’t see the need.
There’s a dangerous myth out there that says something like: “If your book is good, it will sell itself.” That is pernicious nonsense. I’ve been engaged in writing books for more than 50 years now, and I’ll tell you, no book sells itself.
They don’t think marketing will make a difference.
Some authors like to play the victim. The book will never sell anyway, so what’s the point of putting in the work to market it? These folks blame market forces or giant corporations. I suspect that some of them feel that aliens have a hand in their failure.
Here’s a fact, though. Every author and every book has to live with those forces of competition and whatever other evil forces of the universe are marshaled against them. Guess what? Some books sell.
Rod Santomassimo’s book, Brokers Who Dominate: 8 Traits of Top Producers, was published in 2011 and still sells well. It’s a great book, but it’s selling well because Rod and his team put in the effort to market it.
They don’t know how.
Some authors don’t know how to market. Marketing is a craft. The good news is that you can learn how to do it. The bad news is that you must learn how to do it.
There’s another bit of good news. You don’t have to do it yourself. You can hire someone to do it for you. That will cost you money, but it will save you from the long climb up a learning curve.
They don’t want to sell things, including their book.
For some reason, a whole lot of people think selling is somehow dishonorable. They equate selling with manipulation and scams and dishonesty. The people who think that way don’t want to be salespeople. Since they believe marketing is just another word for sales, they don’t want to do marketing.
They think marketing is boring.
Want to market effectively? Then, you will have to do many things you don’t like over and over with unremitting diligence. In every business and every life, there are necessary things you have to do that you don’t want to do. Get over it.
They want to get back to a “normal” life.
Authors who’ve just finished their book are a particular case. After a year or more of hard work and sacrifice, they want to get back to a normal life. When they decided to write their book, they weren’t thinking about the time and effort it would take to market it. Now, they want to be done with the project and move on.
If you subscribe to any of those reasons, you need to consider the following truths. If you don’t sell your book, it can’t help you meet your objectives, and it can’t help your readers meet theirs. Every worthwhile thing you’ve ever done in your life requires work you don’t enjoy.
Since your book won’t sell itself, you’ll have to take on the task. You can do it yourself, or you can hire someone to do it.
Why authors don’t market their books. They don’t see the need.
Why authors don’t market their books. They don’t think marketing will make a difference.
Why authors don’t market their books. They don’t know how.
Why authors don’t market their books. They don’t want to sell things, including their book.
Why authors don’t market their books. They think marketing is boring.
Why authors don’t market their books. They want to get back to a “normal” life.