Saturday, May 3, 2014

Top Five Mistakes I've Made in Marketing My Books

I'm getting ready to publish my fifth Wyatt the Wonder Dog picture book!  It's always exciting to be at the end point of publishing a book but it really is just the beginning of marketing something new.  I've made plenty of mistakes in marketing...some of them very recently.  But I always try to learn something from them, so I want to share some of the biggest mistakes I've make and the insights I've learned. 

#1.  Not Critiquing/Editing my Work - This is huge and yet I know how hard it is to ask for and accept an honest opinion on something that you have put your heart and soul into.  Sometimes it feels almost like asking someone to give you advice on your own child, then getting your feelings hurt when they tell you that you've got a brat on your hands. However, as the writer, we are just too close to the material to adequately review what we've written.  Author, Terry Kay says you need two types of critique partners:  one who is brutally honest and one who loves your work unconditionally. Make sure you find one of each to steer you on the journey.

#2.  Not Clarifying Your Ideal Customer:  Especially when you write a children's book, it's easy to think that you can just promote your book anywhere that there might be parents hanging out.... and isn't that just about everywhere?  The truth is you need to clearly identify who is your audience and then establish a presence in that market. Knowing your ideal customer means you know everything about them.  What are their interests?  What age are they?  What are the problems/stressors that they deal with everyday?  Where do they shop?   Just because a lot of parents take their kids to a festival, does not mean they will be interested in buying a book while they are there.  On the other hand, a Christmas bazaar at the local church where there are lots of women buying Christmas presents, might just be the ideal place. 

# 3.  Not Educating the Potential Customer About the Benefits of the Book:  Most of us just expect our readers to know how great a book is intuitively.  After all we've spent so much time writing and rewriting the story, we could recite it by heart.  Don't expect that everyone else is equally engaged.  Do they know  how it can change kids lives?  Do they know how funny, touching, clever the story line is?  Do they know about the free activity guide, lesson plan and discussion questions in the back and the numerous freebies that you've incorporated into the website?  Expecting potential customers to find you and your book and then beat a path to your door without educating them first about the value is like expecting to find a needle in a haystack...without even looking.

#4  Not Consistently Engaging Your Readers--too many first time writers focus intently on getting their book into print on Amazon and then sit back waiting for the big bucks to roll in.  If that was your approach, I bet you are still waiting... To effectively market your book, you need to think like a marketer all the time.  That doesn't mean you turn into the sleazy salesperson you hate.  It means that you look for opportunities to share your book, establish relationships and nurture your readers, even when you haven't just launched a book.  You can do this in numerous ways;  a blog, an email list or an ezine, but make sure that you are thinking like a marketer 24/7. 

Want to help me with choosing the title to my newest book?  Check out the poll in the sidebar and vote for your favorite!

Join the Wyatt tribe and help me with launching my newest book.  You can sign up here!!

Stay tuned for the newest Wyatt book...Coming the first of June!!!


  1. Very valuable suggestions, Lynne! Thank you. My mindset has kind of been I'd rather give my books away than sell them, but you've given me rich food for thought.

    Best on your next chapter through that opened door!


  2. Hi Lynne, you made some great points on marketing mistakes! I am just starting to get positioned to start sharing my writing, so your expertise is very helpful to beginners such as myself. I hope your new book really takes off!

  3. First of all Barbara, you just naturally develop relationships and nurture your readers through your blog. You've got #2 and #4 covered!

    Thanks Brent for the comment. I'm always glad to point the way. I'm still learning myself...