How to advertise and promote your book (without wasting time and money)
This is the preface to my revised book marketing guide, you can find the whole series on Medium or download the free PDF.
The topics we’ve covered so far need to be handled before you really begin telling people about your book. You’re establishing authority and credibility. You’re getting your sales funnel set up. This is your basic platform. What you need to do now is test it out to see whether it actually works, and fine-tune it.
Does it Convert?
Conversion means, out of all the people that found your website, your Amazon page, a book review — out of all the people who had your book right in front of them and clicked for more details — how many actually went ahead and placed an order. 5%? 10%?
This percentage is critical. Most authors try to get more reach and visibility, and that’s all they think about. But some authors are dealing with a zero percent conversion rate, which is like a black hole sucking up all your efforts.
Let’s say you have an ugly cover, an amateur website with gifs of your dogs dancing, a book about your family vacation that you formatted yourself, and zero reviews (or worse, two five star rave reviews you wrote yourself). Let’s say you had a few sales from your friends and neighbors after messaging them repeatedly on Facebook.
But then the sales died off. When somebody accidentally finds your book, they run away in terror. An author who doesn’t know much about business may say, “Nobody is buying my book! I need to market it more!” So they spend money on advertising or book promotion. But with that zero percent conversion rate, they are throwing money away.
Now let’s say you’re a run of the mill author with an OK book, a cheap book cover design (not horrible, but not so great), pretty nice formatting (that was done in Microsoft Word). You’re selling about 10 books a month. You have about 10 nice, unsolicited reviews. You’re about average, in a field with millions of competitors. Should you start marketing?