Some authors are known for working hard. Some authors are known for working smart.. When you work hard, you can still wind up running in place and going nowhere. When you work smart, you position yourself to achieve goals a lot faster. Smart equals better results with less effort, which yields more time to do what you want.
One of my mentors, Alan Weiss, is fond of saying, “The true definition of wealth is discretionary time. You can lose a dollar and get it back. But, you can never get back the minute, hour, or year that is gone.” Thus, time really is of the essence. Yet, I see so many authors waste inordinate amounts of time on fruitless book marketing activities. Here’s my top three time-wasters:
1. Posting on social media
Posting on social media has turned out to be the biggest time-waster since Solitaire came standard on personal computers. (Not to be confused with advertising on social media, which actually works.) Not only must authors post multiple times per day to be considered effective – you have to do it on multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It’s a vicious cycle that sucks more time and rarely get results.
Numerous studies have shown that social media is pathetic at creating book sales when compared to other methods, such as paid search ads, organic search traffic, affiliate networks, and email. I’ve seen this truth confirmed after working on book launch with an author who worked really hard to amass over 250,000 Facebook and Instagram fans. We found that less than 1% of those fans bought a book. Talk about a lack of results.
2. Building an email list, then rarely sending emails
Marketing books via email really works and the research proves it. But, building a list is different from using your list. I’ve lost count of the authors who told me they had 1,000 – 10,000 email subscribers, but hadn’t sent an email campaign in over 6 months.
If you build an email list but don’t nurture it, you’re wasting your time. Email addresses aren’t for collecting and admiring. They’re for producing book sales. But, you must stay connected to your subscribers at least twice a month for them to feel like buying.
3. Bookstore Signings
My third biggest time-waster is an oldy but goody – the booksigning. Do you enjoy hauling books around to stores who refuse to market your appearance? Do you enjoy sitting idly at a table and talking to patrons who pass by with a look of pity? Do you enjoy taking half a Saturday to sign 5 – 10 books and convince yourself it was worth it? Most authors agree booksignings not only waste time, they waste your self-esteem.
There’s a better way to sell books face-to-face. Build a public speaking business and get paid to promote your book. Yes, even fiction authors can do it. I just finished teaching a course called, Sell More Books on a Shoestring Budget. There was an entire session dedicated to public speaking along with numerous tips for novelists.
I always hope you find my weekly newsletters to be beneficial. If this article helps you steer clear of these three major marketing pitfalls, then it was time well-spent!
Time image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net