10 Book Marketing Mistakes Every Author Should Avoid

Early this morning a guy spammed our blog comments trying to sell his online courses. His "marketing service" posted the same four-paragraph pitch on 16 separate blog posts in about five hours using a fake Facebook account. 

That’s a lot of spamming in a short amount of time! 

This is the equivalent of a salesman knocking on our door 16 times in five hours trying to sell us the same set of encyclopedias with the same pitch after we told him no. 

Don't make these book marketing mistakes! We show you 10 book marketing mistakes every author should avoid and how to fix them. Book marketing tips, self publishing tips, book publishing tips, self publishing strategy, book marketing strategy

Would you do that to someone face-to-face? No! But this approach happens all the time online. And the crazy thing is, it rarely works - yet people keep doing it!  

I want to equip you with the best information possible because I want to see you succeed and thrive online - in a genuine and honest way. 

Below I’ve listed 10 mistakes that I see authors make online along with some tips for how you can easily remedy them. 


Mistake #1: Marketing Your Book to Anyone and Everyone

Some of my favorite comments from authors are, “It feels like you’re reading my mind!” or “This is exactly what I needed to hear.” 

It’s not magic and it’s not by chance. It’s because I know exactly who I’m talking to and who I want to connect with - my ideal reader. 

You’ve heard me say this before and I’ll say it again: If you’re marketing your book to everyone, you’re marketing it to no one. 

It might seem easier or less time-consuming to keep things general when it comes to your book marketing. But that is the best way to simply blend into everything else that is happening online. Specifics lead to specific people. Clearly identifying and defining your ideal reader is the key to effective book marketing. Everything comes back to your ideal reader - it’s so important. 

If you’re struggling with this or want to learn more about how to identify and connect with your ideal reader, you’re in luck! Sign up for our free training called Answers for Authors: 5 Actionable Steps to Intentionally Grow Your Audience.


Mistake #2: Relying Too Heavily on Bots or Automation Tools

Don’t get me wrong, there are some great automation tools out there. Social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are lifesavers when it comes to posting automatically to your social media accounts. Mailchimp helps you automate your newsletters. These are great tools to tap into. 

When a bot or automation tool takes over or replaces the personable interactions with your readers is where things get bad. Using a "lead generation" bot to automatically comment on social media or blog posts is not the best way to build an audience. In fact, it can be a huge turnoff, since people can usually tell when the interaction is not by an actual human. And they put you in danger of getting your social media outlet banned or deleted. 

And these bots and automation tools cost money, which is a waste of your resources.  

Just the other day I received a comment on an Instagram post that had nothing to do with the post. In fact, I could tell from a mile away it was a service that automatically posts generic comments. Those get deleted and marked as spam. If too many people are marking your posts or profile as spam, your profile will be deleted or suspended. 

Taking just a few minutes a day to leave personal comments, like posts, and follow people that you are genuinely interested in can do more for you and your book than you’ll know. Keep the engagement personal and genuine - don’t leave it to bots. 


Mistake #3: Spamming Your Readers

Think about all the junk mail you get on any given day - how much do you pay attention to it? If you’re like me, it automatically goes into the shredder. Spamming is what I consider panic marketing. It’s bombarding anyone and everyone with their book hoping that they will catch someone who will want to buy it. 

That’s just a downright bad strategy. It’s a very inconsiderate way to market your book. And it doesn’t work. 

One of the best things an author can do for their marketing is to put themselves in their reader's shoes. If you are fearful that it might feel spammy, ask yourself: “If I received this ad/promotion/social media post/etc., how would I react?” If you would ignore it, so will your readers. 


Mistake #4: Using Social Media Only As a Sales Tool

Yes, you do need to promote your book on social media. You need to let people know that you have a book available, where they can purchase it, and so on. But you won’t see big results from this unless you have laid the groundwork and created interest and trust. 

If you’re only posting to social media when your book is about ready to release, you won’t see any interaction with your readers. 

There are three phases to book marketing: the attraction phase, the promotional phase, and the follow-up phase. 90% of the time you’re going to be in the attraction or follow-up phase, which is connecting with readers, sharing great content, and communicating with your readers. Promotion comes about a month before your book and then every once in a while throughout the year. 

Use social media promotions sparingly and strategically as a part of your marketing plan, along with your personable posts that get your readers involved. It's all about balance!


Mistake #5: Talking At Your Readers and Not With Them

We’ve all been a part of a conversation where we can’t get a word in edgewise, right? You try to say something but the person keeps going and going, rather oblivious. It’s annoying! The same thing happens online and it can be a huge problem with your marketing. 

Knowing how to effectively talk with your readers comes back to knowing your ideal reader. When you know specifically who you want to connect with, you’ll know what conversations and topics they will be drawn to and take part in. 

When a reader comes across your social media account, they are asking themselves, “What’s in this for me? What am I going to gain from following this person?” If you’re only talking about yourself, your book, or constantly posting selfies, it’s not going to attract and keep your ideal reader’s attention. Think more about how you can involve your readers in the online conversation. 


Mistake #6: Starting Too Late

Marketing is basically communicating and connecting with people who are interested in the same things as you are. It’s not just product focused - it’s people focused. Making meaningful and lasting connections with people takes some time. 

Marketing begins the minute you start writing your book. I mentioned above the three phases of marketing, and the attraction phase is where you kick things off. This is not where you start talking about or promoting your book, but rather where you initiate the connection with the people you’re writing it for - your ideal readers. 

One of the biggest mistakes I see authors make is starting the marketing process too late. They begin the attraction phase a month or two before their book releases and it’s not enough time to set up their audience to effectively market their book. 

Don’t make that mistake - start now! 


Mistake #7: Only Using Your Newsletter to Promote Your New Book

A newsletter is - hands down - your most powerful marketing tool at our disposal. I always tell authors that newsletter subscribers are one step away from buying. They are your attentive audience - they are perked up and ready to go. You need to treat this group of people like gold. 

Making sure that you stay in consistent contact with your newsletter subscribers is incredibly important. They have given you their email address. In doing so they have said, “Yes! I’m interested! I want to hear more from you!” So providing great content is key to keep the relationship going. 

Your newsletter isn’t merely for advertising purposes. I’ve had so many conversations with authors who say that they only email their newsletter when they have a book coming out or an event to announce. To see great results from your newsletter, be consistent and share great content.


Mistake #8: Not Having a Plan in Place

Winging it isn’t a good strategy when it comes to book marketing. Start off by thinking of a goal that you want to accomplish with your book. Think of one thing and then work backward to figure out how you’re going to accomplish that goal. Nailing down which social media outlet you’re going to use to connect with new readers, what kind of content you’re going to share, and so on, will not only help you market your book and grow your audience, but it will also help you keep your sanity. 

In our new online course The Mixtus Method, we help you create a customized plan that will work for your unique audience, goals, and book. And, best of all, it simplifies the marketing plan process so you will actually get things done. Before starting The Mixtus Method course, you'll need to watch our free Answers for Authors training video. 


Mistake #9: Trying to Do Everything 

When it comes to marketing, doing more doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get bigger results. I’ve seen so many authors run themselves ragged doing everything they can think of to market their book. I love authors with ambition who want to do everything possible to get the word out about a book. But in marketing, more often than not, less is more.  

What I strongly encourage authors to do is focus on just one or two promotional ideas and do them really, really well. You don’t need to do everything - especially since trying to do more than you should typically results in none of it being that great. Just do a few things really well and you’ll see a bigger response.  


Mistake #10: Focusing Only on the Numbers

There is no such thing as a small audience. Yes, another author might have more social media followers or newsletter subscribers than you, but that doesn’t diminish the importance or significance of the people that are already following you. 

When we only focus on growing our numbers, we tend to neglect or look past the audience that is already paying attention to what we have to say. No matter what number you’re at - even if it’s one or two people subscribed to your newsletter list, or just a handful of social media followers - treat them well! Ask questions, get to know them, and create a solid connection. 

Don’t overlook the solid connections that you already have by chasing the numbers that you wish you could have. 


It’s never too late to turn things around! If you see yourself in any of these mistakes, a few quick adjustments will make all the difference in the world. 

Be sure you sign up for Answers for Authors - it will give you more solid information to start building on. You don’t want to miss it!