Mistake 67: Not Marketing Yourself and Your Book

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from 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer's Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: Writers tend to think that promotion and marketing is the job of other people, and in a perfect world it would be. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world. Sometimes you may find you’re the only PR department your book has.

The solution:
Promotion is the bane of a writer’s existence but also an absolute necessity. Even if your publisher is 100 percent behind your book, you should still do everything possible to promote it.

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You can use any of a number of techniques to market your book. (See also the books written entirely on this topic.)

  • Web site: An absolute must.
  • Blog: An inexpensive, but time-intensive endeavor.
  • Direct mailings: Probably not cost-effective for fiction.
  • Media outlets: The best bang for your buck, time and cost wise. But it can be very difficult to garner media interest for fiction unless you have a unique hook. Think about how many times you see fiction writers on media. However, there is a magazine out there for everything. Talk radio is also good if you can figure out a reason a show would want to book you.
  • Hand-selling: Very difficult unless you have the personality to do it.
  • Book signings: Not as fun as you think they are. Mostly done to meet the booksellers.
  • Controversy: Depends on whether you’re willing to sell your soul to the devil.

There is a balance, though, that needs to be struck between marketing your published book and writing your next book.