AHA · Authors Helping Authors · Marketing

“I Spend All My Time Promoting, Why am I Not Selling More Books?” by Debra L Hartmann

growth graphI watch trends. Trends are defined as the general course or tendency of a specific path or set of behaviors. Trends are identified based on measurements pulled into statistical reports and are based on user level activities. Example, there is a trend for shameless self promotion on Twitter and Facebook that is not effective.


That assessment is based on reviewing the activities myself and reading many reports on the subject of book promotion and marketing that are based on statistics pulled from sales page reports and feeds from the promotion sites. I constantly analyze my own marketing efforts by measuring and then pouring over the results to figure out what works and change things so I can maximize what works and not waste time on what doesn’t.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” while the dictionary also says it is “lack of reason or good sense: extreme foolishness, or an act that demonstrates such foolishness”. In other words, if you aren’t measuring, analyzing and adapting your marketing strategy to churn successful results then you are insane!

Reality – the sales pitch that was effective 10 years ago is no longer effective today. Our economy has shifted to a more social based approach and therefore, potential buyers expect your approach to be social based. It’s often difficult to separate social from business social and it’s extremely difficult to be excited about your new book and not just scream in every post “Go buy my book”.

Our new social connection based economy doesn’t respond well to industrialized, sales pitch rich, impersonal approaches, i.e. “FREE for 3 days ONLY my new book is on Amazon, click here: link”, “Check out my new book! link” and my personal favorites that take up tons of space on my wall on Facebook are those huge picture posts about “buy my book”. By the way, statistics show, those posts get annoying to end users, really quick and are often removed from the users wall.  They are also quite often repetitive and can result in users also choosing to change what updates they follow from that poster and select UNFOLLOW…the death sentence for the social connection that went wrong on Facebook.

Bottom line – “Today’s Marketing Strategies are Social Connection Based” – It demands a completely different approach to be effective: one that’s more personal, more vulnerable and more open. Challenge – copy and paste that ‘title’ into your favorite search engine and see how many results you get. I got 5.1m results on Bing.com. Put your results in the comments. Point being…obviously this trend is huge and effects us all!

Now the obvious next question is how do I sales pitch my new book by being personal, vulnerable and more open? Lots of different ways, first step is realizing that social media means social, social networking means connecting socially with people that can help your career and that you can help their career and selling books, especially, is about connecting on a social level with potential readers. Here’s some things to start learning about, asking questions about, considering in your own marketing plans:

  • Article marketing – write articles that show off your skills and offer free and useful information to some area of your target network. Research all the aspects of how article marketing affects your reputation, your site SEO, credit lines and links that go to landing sales pages, etc. This site is built to benefit the contributors as much as the content benefits the readers. A blog site is a form of article marketing, too, as long as it has content other than just stuff about your book.
  • Social Media Marketing – 135 million results from Bing.com – learn how to do this properly
  • Social Networking – if you are reading this, you already have Facebook, Twitter, and/or more, and probably a website and/or blog site…be social, share experiences, comment on other’s experiences, get personal right up to the line and connect with other people. Giveaways, blog tours, Twitter parties, Facebook events, release announcements, parties and cover reveals, all time consuming but absolutely will grow your follower base while having fun and making new connections with other real people.
  • Ad campaigns – stop doing shameless self promotion. Mix up your ad tweets and posts with inspirational quotes, news flashes on topics related to your book, use quotes from the book and a link as a teaser ad, have your blog set up to tweet new posts automatically and have your site include a landing sales pages with links for your book(s)…be subtle, not in your face with sales focused pitches and be interesting and clever. Avoid sounding like that car salesman we all see coming straight at us when it’s time to upgrade the family car and we just want to run screaming in the other direction…when you need a new car, you can’t get away from them, when we are shopping for a book, we sure can get away from them!
  • Learn how to automate stuff with programs like Hootsuite.com and justunfollow.com in order to allow you time to write and be social but apply the social based tactics to your automation techniques. What once took me half a day, everyday, now takes me about an hour a day and that hour a day is all about connecting with people, RT’ing posts I like, commenting on blog posts, etc…the social stuff instead of mostly promotion stuff!
  • Share things that readers will connect with about you personally. Strange but true…reader’s will choose a book over another book because they 1) recognize the author’s name and 2) heard or read something that they related to on a personal level about that author EVEN IF THEY DON’T LIKE THE GENRE! Do you like to garden? Blog about it. Took a vacation last year to Aruba and have pictures? Blog about it. Your kids drive you crazy on Saturday mornings with the cartoons turned up to loud? Blog about it. Don’t only blog about that stuff, but mix it up and share things that show the well rounded world that is your life and areas of expertise.
  • Research, research, research – look at what others are doing that are in the top 10 on Amazon, ask questions, authors love to help other authors. If you are social with them and they are social back, you have started a rewarding connection and on the way to building a relationship with a peer and will find that you can help each other!

Stop spending all your time promoting, trust in your skills and personality to carry the sales promotion work for you in a more subtle and social manner. Spend your time social networking and developing your website and/or blog site to be a showcase of your skills and who you are as a person. Put some time into behind the scenes work that will move your website/blog up in ranking, enter contests with your writing, submit stuff to sites on the internet that you can write for to build your reputation.

~~~~~~~~~~>Debra L Hartmann, Author, book reviewer, Host of the Talk Radio with NO Radio show at http://dlhbookreviews.wordpress.com and CEO and Editor http://www.theprobookeditor.combannerfans_6413059

7 thoughts on ““I Spend All My Time Promoting, Why am I Not Selling More Books?” by Debra L Hartmann

  1. Thanks, Debra. Points you raise are super important and noteworthy. Focus on the ‘evergreen’. Think of yourself as a tree that has deep roots (your personal interests) and dense leaves all year long; concentrate on bearing ‘fruit’ your audience wants to consume.


  2. Exactly ma’am! On twitter especially I see hundreds of tweets flowing past that all read “buy my book” and “like my facebook page” without so much as a please, thank-you or reason why. Most don’t even change the wording from day to day or hour to hour! One tweet in particular is obviously automated and about six times daily speads the author’s initial spelling mistake across his several thousand followers, none of whom (myself included) have bothered to tell him (and now I feel guilty, but if he were more “alive” I would have done so).

    We have to remember that every ID we see is a real human being, just like ourselves, with needs, wants, peeves and ambitions. We have to interact, and do so actively and in a human fashion.

    Love the article, you’ve reassured me! Thank you.


    1. Thanks so much! So glad you found the site and I hope you stop in again. We post 4 articles per week and then do a reblog on Friday’s and everything is by authors and for authors. Nice to meet you and you can always contact me directly at aha4real@gmail.com if you have recommendations, ideas, want to contribute content, etc. We strive to build the library but also be available for social connections and networking with our readers and contributors alike. Deb


  3. Love it! I was just asked this exact question today when giving a presentation on Digital Branding – “How do I promote myself without sounding obnoxious?” I am going to send them here. Connection and point made. Thanks for the mention and the good insights.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful and thanks for sharing that! I actually have one in the works that will be more targeted to answering that question specifically. It’s a whole different way of promoting than we were all taught the last 20 years in business. So glad you joined us, we loved your Brand You article and you got voted to be the reblog today! Would love to talk with you about getting you published more directly on the site…email me if your interested at aha4real@gmail.com, thanks, Deb


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