Book Marketing: Believe In Yourself If You Want Anyone Else To

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I’ve got enough success now that I have troll vultures circling my profile every day trying to snipe at anything I say. Exhibit A is an innocuous book marketing post, where I’m appropriating a popular hashtag because it can apply to my book if you change the meaning of it as I did. I’m very savvy at social media marketing like this and stay on top of trends.

But the comment actually ties into a larger point in book marketing. Projecting confidence. Now this guy wasn’t ever going to buy my books anyway, he was just here to troll me, and so I can completely discount what he says. On the other hand, I do get approached by authors very regularly asking about their books and if I’d check it out or if I think it looks like it’s good from the cover/blurb. Invariably it’s accompanied by a self-defeating comment like “I hope it doesn’t suck too much.” That’s modesty, and that actually is the turn off to most potential readers.

If you’re modest about your work, it’s going to kill your sales.

You have to have confidence in your work if your’e going to be out there presenting it to an audience. Some people are going to love it, some people are likely going to hate it (unless it’s For Steam And Country which out of 88 reviewers, none are below 3 stars! Unheard of success!), but if you don’t come out there 100% behind your own work, people are going to sense that.

When you’re selling, a customer doesn’t need an excuse to walk away. Psychologically, they want to walk away because they’re so bombarded with ads and sales pitches constantly in their day to day lives. If you’re in the process of that and you let them know your product is not top notch, you’ve killed the sale every single time.

I’ve seen other authors post things like “I haven’t sold a book since the day it came out, and even then I only sold 5 copies! If someone doesn’t buy this I can’t keep writing!”  While this may get you a couple of sympathy sales from your mom and a couple of friends, your goal isn’t to get from 5 copies sold to 7 copies sold. This sounds like desperation, and it also signals to someone that other people weren’t interested in checking out your book, which turns them off as well.

It’s imperative for success that you wipe any lack of confidence from your mind in terms of your book or product you want to sell. If that means going through and doing another revision, making it better because you know it’s not the best, do that. If it means changing your cover design because it’s not top notch, do that too. If you don’t believe in what you’ve got, readers or potential customers won’t either.

It can be hard for a lot of people not used to sales. I come from a sales and marketing background so it’s much easier for me. But it starts with the way you internalize things as well. It’s mindset, like anything else. If you find yourself thinking “my book sucks”, get rid of those thoughts. Stick yourself in front of a mirror every morning and say “my book is great.” Externalizing a thought helps you to more naturally internalize it, especially with repetition. It’s a very necessary step toward getting the desired result — other people thinking your book is great.

If you like my blog and other content, you’ll really love Gravity Of The Game, which many people are talking about for the Nebula and Hugo awards. It’s classic science fiction that’s uplifting and heartwarming, and there’s nothing else out there like it in the market today. Check it out! 

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11 thoughts on “Book Marketing: Believe In Yourself If You Want Anyone Else To

  1. Jon
    What in your experience makes a good marketing policy? To me one effective eay is to be enthusiastic about your books mixed with a bit of humility.
    So hey here’s a fun book to read and i hope you enjoy it.
    And then thank the readers their support.
    It’s nice as a reader to get thanks but it’s even nicer to thank the writers for their stories

  2. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a genuine lack of confidence that causes some authors to undersell themselves or a fear of coming across like an egotist.

    While there’s a very real danger of turning off buyers by going too far in the other direction (I’ve seen failed authors whose high opinion of themselves bordered on the pathological), I think you’re far more likely to hurt your career by downplaying your book’s merits

    • lol do it for you man! I already know my books don’t suck 😉 but use positive language not don’t suck. “My books are GOOD” is way more powerful than “My books DON’T SUCK.”

  3. I think this applies to the writing process too. Lots of us struggle with lack of confidence there, and either end up unable to write at all for fear of not being good enough, or try so hard to please everyone that the product ends up unconvincing and mediocre.

    On the other hand, when a writer HAS that absolute confidence in their own work, it reaches out and grabs you right from the first line, there’s no mistaking it.

  4. I thought this was great advice. I think I went through an early phase of feeling that being self deprecating and angst ridden about the quality of your work was just how it was done. Artists are never satisfied and all that.

    Over it!

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