Thursday, July 16, 2009

10 mistakes first-time authors make

Finding that promoting your book is even harder than writing it? I certainly have. But luckily for me, my earlier career was in a newsroom where I learned the ins and outs of getting past the editor's desk and into print. As a result, I was able promote my historical fiction novel into the #1 spot on Amazon in the romance/historical/U.S. category.

There is more to book marketing than just press releases, so here are some of the mistakes I often see first-time authors make in book promotion.

1. They spend too much time chatting with other authors. Author groups are great for networking and commiserating, but you’re not selling books by chatting with other authors about how you’re not selling books.

2. They assume the store where they are signing books will advertise the event. Do your own publicity for every event. That could mean press releases to local papers, sending calendar items to publications, posters, postcards, radio interviews, etc.

3. They spend too much time on social networking sights that don’t produce results. It's easy to spend the better part of a day between twitter, facebook, linkedin and ning groups. They are an important part of marketing, but you should be wise with your time.

4. They don’t realize the power of the press release. You have a local paper, right? And there are tons of free Internet distribution sites out there. If you've sent less than four press releases in the last six months, you’re not effectively marketing your book.

5. They're not using key words and SEO effectively (which is why press releases and articles are so important). There is a learning curve to all this technology, but it’s necessary to know.

6. Back to the basics: They think their target market is "everybody."

7. They start trying to get reviews AFTER their book has been published. The big reviewers need the manuscript four to five months before the pub date. If you want the review to coincide with the launch, obviously you are going to have to get the book into reviewers hands early.

8. They rush their book to print before it's ready. It's hard to be patient, but hurrying the book into print will only cause headaches later.

9. They think they are going to be a guest on Oprah before they've even received an interview from their local paper. Start small, build buzz.

10. They're marketing plan (if they have one) is not multi-faceted. You can't rely on one type of marketing. Your plan should include print media, radio, blogs, websites and ezines, to name a few.

Good luck!