Your book is published!
You’ve done the hard work, and you’re sitting back, waiting for glowing reviews, requests for interviews, and, of course, royalties!

Not so fast. If you’ve focused on producing a professional book, good for you, but contrary to what most authors wish, book publishing is not the field of dreams. The fact that you’ve written and published a book does not guarantee that readers will come.

Most authors I talk to these days recognize that books don’t sell themselves, but many are still opposed to the idea of marketing. They live somewhere along a spectrum I call the Six Stages of Marketing:

  • Denial: My book is so wonderful! It will find a large audience with (name specific group) and will sell itself.
  • Disbelief: My book has been out for a month, and I’ve only had ten sales even though dozens of people have told me they would be buy it online. How can that be?
  • Resentment: Why do I have to do all the hard work? I spent years writing it; I don’t think I should have to sell it too!
  • Bargaining: If I can just find the right person, I’m willing to pay for a little help.
  • Depression: I can’t believe it’s so hard to find someone to help for a reasonable price!
  • Acceptance: I’m going to have to learn about book marketing, create a plan, and follow through if I’m going to find some readers. 

Let’s examine these steps one by one.

The Six Stages of Book Marketing Most Self-publishers Go Through

1 Denial: No matter how wonderful your book is, you do not have a guaranteed audience. Even people who are dying to read about your subject, or who you know will benefit from it, have to be encouraged to buy and read it. And not just once—they have to reminded over and over again, preferably though several different channels. You can’t just send one postcard or mailer or post once in a while on a social media site. Marketing is an ongoing process that involves many techniques to broadcast your book.

2 Disbelief: Most self-published books do not break the 200 mark in sales. Once the first rush of friends and family have purchased it, sales drop and do not climb unless you are actively working to increase them. Acquaintances may assure you at book signings that they will purchase their copy online, but you have no way of tracking whether they have or not, so if it slips their minds, you’re out of luck.

3 Resentment: Every author, not just those who self-publish, has to work to sell books. It doesn’t matter what publishing path you’ve chosen. You see authors on book tours all the time, because their agents know they have to be out there. And you see that they have social media sites and fan clubs and more. Whether you have a publicist to arrange a tour and interviews and run your fan club or you set up events and run them yourself, every author has to find ways to connect with the people who are going to buy, read, and review their book.

4 Bargaining: Most authors I talk to believe that if they just find the right person or company, they will not have to do the work. While there are helpful resources for book marketing, most self-published authors do not have the budget to pay someone to do all of their marketing for them and will come up with either an entire DIY approach or a combination.

5 Depression: There are a lot of people vying for your attention when it comes to book marketing. Many are legitimate, but some are outright scams. Sorting through them is a daunting task, but if you do your homework, get some solid recommendations, and work within your budget, you should be able to move forward with confidence.  

6 Acceptance: If you can skip right to this step, you’ll be ahead of the game. Download our marketing guide, get your resources lined up, and get started. You don’t have to do everything at once, but map out a plan and do SOMETHING.

Almost every author I know struggles with book marketing.

A handful believe that their books are wonderful and will sell themselves. Some have a plan in hand to generate book sales before they are finished writing. But most are somewhere in the middle—they understand it’s a problem, but assume that finding help will be easy.

With more than a million books self-published every year, it’s important to publish a beautiful, well-written, and compelling book, but it won’t guarantee sales. Because unless you let readers know about your book, they won’t find it. And if they don’t find it, they can’t buy it. And if they can’t buy it, they can’t read it and leave you glowing reviews.

The sooner you arrive at step six in the marketing awareness chart, the sooner you’ll be on your way to finding more readers and increasing your book sales.


PS. If you’re a Luminare Author and you need some help with marketing and promoting your book, it’s never too late to give us a call or get one of our packages to help your book reach the audience it deserves.