Wordpreneur Notebook • May 3, 2021

Why is fiction book marketing so difficult?

No one said fiction book marketing is easy. Unless they’re trying to sell you publishing-related services or—puke!—some get-rich-quick “training” thing, of course. Those blokes are shameless, mercenary, and will tell you anything you want to hear to make a sale (or slickly sidestep the whole topic altogether). Everyone else will just nod their heads resignedly in agreement.

Fiction book marketing is tough. Period.

Particularly curious is the sheer number of indie authors on Net forums you’ll regularly encounter who believe that all they have to do is write a novel, publish it on Amazon (for free, mind you), and Amazon will automatically start sending readers to throw money at them.

Oh, they all end up learning that’s nowhere near how it works. Some don’t take the lesson well—they rant and blame Amazon (“Greedy crooks!”), readers (“Stupid!”), even their fellow authors (“Unsupportive!”), among others, basically blaming everyone else except themselves for their failure (really, what else are you going to call it?).

Dramatic, sensitive types with an overdeveloped sense of personal talent aren’t really very good at handling their egos getting brutally crushed by reality.

Let’s see if we can try to avoid ending up like that, shall we?

The first task, of course, is to understand what the heck is going on and why. It’ll simply help you make the right decisions. There are a few that jump out immediately, which may not be too obvious to writer types who have never given this kind of thing much thought at all. Since I’m also determined to keep Wordpreneur posts as shart as possible moving forward, which is really unlike me, let’s make this a series of posts on the topic. Let’s start with this:

Unknown authors and their novels require push marketing.

That’s just a fancy way to say nobody really needs what you’re selling. You’ve got to figure out a way to “push” it on the consumer.

If it’s any consolation, you’re in good company—movies, music, any other form of entertainment, are all in the same boat. At least until you get established and start shifting over to pull marketing. That’s when consumers start seeking you and your work out specifically.

These are the same exact market dynamics with movies and music; it’s no different at all with novels. In fact, maybe you’ve just realized from movies and music that having a big marketing budget doesn’t even guarantee success at pushing stuff at consumers.

Now that you know that you literally have to push your novel onto consumers, tell me, how smart is that decision to go with a crappy homemade cover? Or to forego pro editing services if your self-editing skills are lacking? Or to rely on getting “discovered” and not take much of an effort to really get the word out about your book or even get it into the hands of reviewers? Or yada yada.

Food for serious thought, and we haven’t even gotten past the first reason why fiction book marketing is tough. Stay tuned for the next one, which will probably be posted tomorrow.

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