Biggest Mistake Authors Make When Marketing Their Books


When beginning your book marketing journey, it’s best to identify your audience and your goals first. Doing so will act as your "North Star" leading you in the right direction and keeping you on track. 

Let's talk about audience: What is the most common mistake authors make when marketing their book? From experience and asking my book marketing friends, the answer is clear: it’s thinking that their book is for everyone.

I've had a cardiologist tell me their heart health book was for everyone with a heart. Another author told their team management book was for everyone with a job. Although everyone could benefit from these books, this is not the audience for their book.

After spending my whole career in book marketing, I have come to understand that your audience is not the people who can benefit from the book, your audience is the people you target because they have an urgent need for your book.

When you are writing a proposal for your book, you want to make your audience as big as possible, but when you are marketing, you want to start with a niche audience.

So my client the cardiologist is right every human can benefit from his book, but only the people who have been diagnosed with a heart condition have an urgent need. Every person with a job can benefit from a management book, but only people who have recently been promoted to lead a team have an urgent need.

When you are thinking about your audience, consider the people who have an urgent need for your book. Once you figure that out, the next step is to drill down on the demographics.

Demographics help direct you to the most effective marketing plan. For example, if you have written a book on cooking, the best platforms for you are probably Instagram and Pinterest. If you have written a book on management, your best bet is LinkedIn or Twitter. Knowing your demographics, and matching that with the demographics of social networks, will make your social media efforts more effective.

Once you have identified your audience and demographic, it is time to identify your book marketing goals. It is important to remember that goals are not the same as wishes. While everyone wishes that their book becomes a bestseller, that is not a helpful book marketing goal because there is no specific way of getting there. It is better to focus on specific goals that you can accomplish: increasing the number of followers on social media, increasing subscribers to your mailing list, asking people you know to pre-order your book, speaking at conferences. All of these marketing efforts will help you sell more books. Identifying your audience and your goals will help give you direction and guide you through your book marketing journey most productively and effectively.

Happy Marketing!