Scary Book Marketing Mistakes Every Author Should Avoid

Scary Book Marketing Mistakes Every Author Should Avoid


October 24, 2018  •  Aerio Staff



If you want to increase book sales, you need to think about how to market rather than how to sell your book.


These days, both traditionally published authors and indie authors are largely responsible for attracting the audience who will want to read their books. Even large publishing houses expect their well-known authors to maintain a social presence that will promote their work.

Are you working hard to market your book but afraid you're not getting any results? You might be making the spine-chilling mistakes listed below!


You're Not Promoting Your Book Enough After It’s Published

Did you know that thousands of books are published each week? You need to makes yours stand apart from the crowd and get noticed! Yes, it is frightening to think your book as one of thousands being launched during any given week, but that's exactly why you need to get out there (or spend some quality time at your computer) and promote it. Book promotion doesn't happen on its own; you need to work at it.


First, ask yourself why anyone would want (or need) to read your book. What makes it special? What does it uniquely offer? Then approach the appropriate industry professionals, bloggers, editors, media outlets, Facebook groups, etc., who can write book reviews and help spread the word about your book. Book launches can be a fun - or scary - place to start, but you need to continue to promote your book long after the party is over.


You're Not Identifying Your Unique Book Audience

You don't have to market to everyone. The truth is that your book won't be everyone's cup of tea. (Don't despair; no book is!) Even bestselling authors capture just a fragment of the world's readers. The trick is to identify your unique book audience. Here's how to do it.


1. Consider the content of your book. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Is it a thriller, cookbook, memoir, children's story, romance, or mystery? Does it speak to women, young adults, history buffs, educators, or some other segment of the reading population?


2. Identify the primary and secondary markets for your book. The primary market consists of who will buy your book including readers, collectors, and/or gift-givers. The secondary market includes people who will read your book themselves, or places that will want to offer it to consumers and customers, like libraries, schools, therapists, museums, and specialty stores.


3. Gather data from your existing audience. Who is already reading your work? If you don't know, try marketing tools like:


4. Find people who are similar to those who read your books by:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Occupation
    • Geographic location
    • Websites they frequent


5. Use your data to identify your audience. The steps you've just taken allow you to understand the profile of your typical reader/desired audience. Market your book uniquely to them with targeted messaging.


You Don't Have a Mailing List

An up-to-date mailing list is essential to continue to build on and nurture relationships. A study conducted by VentureBeat found that for every dollar invested on email marketing, $38 is returned (almost a supernatural return on your investment)!

The relationship you build with someone who voluntarily gives you their email address is one that will result in more book sales than the so-called relationship you have with someone you follow on Twitter. Are you afraid you don't know how to build an email list? Try these simple tips:


1. Get leads from book launches and other events, your author website, Facebook page, or even Facebook ads.


2. Give people a reason to sign up for your emails. Offer something of value such as a free chapter, short story, or a chance to win an autographed copy of your book.


3. Develop trust and create interest by offering quality content. Write emails related to your author brand as well as your readers' interests. (You've already developed your readers' persona so you know what interests them.) Guest blog for larger platforms, a well-known published author, related industries (think Halloween costume retailers for your spooky YA novel!), and newsletters or online sites that have large audiences. Link to these in your emails.


4. Get help. Platforms like Aerio can help you build a consumer email list by engaging readers with look-inside previews and ebook giveaways.


You Have a Mailing List but You're Not Segmenting Your Leads

So you've crossed that unnerving bridge and built up a mailing list but readers aren't biting (or buying). Segmenting and personalizing your leads can make all the difference. Segmenting means separating out your target audience into sub-lists based on shared characteristics. For example, women who do yoga and like to cook, or young adults who watch spooky movies.


Consumers have a sense of understanding when content is tailored to them, and personalized messaging shows your readers that you "get" them. Customized messages build the kind of trust and loyalty that can reach a wider audience, which will ultimately increase your book sales and conversions. Segmented, personalized messaging is, perhaps, the most beneficial marketing tool in your sales strategy toolbox.

You can segment your mailing list by drilling down through your main audience. Start with the data you've already collected, then further segment according to additional statistics and behaviors, such as the following:


  • Demographics that include more information about where people live, income brackets, property ownership, ethnicity, length of residence, etc. Beware, though, that you shouldn't ask questions or solicit information you feel is too personal; you'll scare away potential readers!
  • Lead sources. Who signed up for your mailing list because they wanted something free? Who signed up at a book launch?
  • Purchasing behavior. Segment your mailing list according to who has previously purchased your books, books like yours, or goods related to your book (such as monster enthusiasts if your book is about Bigfoot).
  • Subscriber activity. Email marketing platforms like MailChimp can track who is opening, reading, or deleting your email messages. Segment the names of those who aren't engaging and attempt to draw them back in with a catchy subject line or private giveaway.
  • Survey responses. Develop a survey that can help you segment and personalize your messages.
  • Timing. Stick to an appropriate frequency that will keep subscribers engaged. You can determine what's working through data analytics or by including a question regarding message frequency in your survey.


You're Not Optimizing Your Book Metadata

In this digital day and age, metadata plays a huge role in your online discoverability. Metadata includes relevant keywords that are inserted into various places when you enter your book title, author name, ads, reviews, and other places online. Book metadata is comprised of:

  • Your book's title
  • Author name
  • Author biography
  • Brief book description
  • Date of publication
  • Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) Code

A good way to select keywords for your book metadata is to consider what your potential readers might search for online. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your book about? The genre? Category? Subject?
  • Are your keywords too generic? Can you be more specific?
  • What pops up when you search your selected keywords on Google?
  • What keywords are similar authors using successfully?
  • Do you have at least ten good keywords?

If you need more help, a great resource for proven metadata techniques are books like Metadata Essentials. Or try services like Answer the Public or KWFinder.


You're Not Optimizing Your Social Media Platforms

Search engine optimization (SEO) can do wonders for your online discoverability. You should be optimizing SEO keywords across all your online platforms including your author website, blog, your social media profiles, online forums, and guest posts/blogs. When readers search your keywords, your Facebook page and author website will appear in the search results - leading them right to you online.

Look for linking opportunities to advance your SEO strategy. Incorporate links that lead back to your website and social media platforms. The more links you have going in and out of your website, the more valuable Google considers your content and, most important, the higher up your website will appear in Google search results.


You Haven't Built Your Author Brand

Your author bio, mission statement, tagline, and social media presence is your author brand. Your brand can attract new readers, foster trust in your author/reader relationships, solidify your fan base and - sell your book! If you don't have a precise and consistent author brand, get started now.

Once you're confident in your brand identity, keep it up; don't ghost your followers! One of the most important book marketing ideas you may ever learn is that if you want continuous or, better yet, increased book sales you have to keep marketing. That means, among other things, maintaining your author brand.


You're Going It Alone

All the marketing tips in the world won't help you if you're overwhelmed, ill-equipped, or too unskilled in some areas to implement them. Fear not! Aerio is a sales, marketing, and consumer engagement tool that can provide you with the help you need. Whether that's helping you build your email list, turning points of engagement into points of sale, gathering consumer data, managing customer support, or more (or less!), there are marketing tools available to you. You don't have to go it alone.


Are you making scary book marketing mistakes? Knowing what you're doing wrong can help you learn the right way to market your book and increase sales. Don't fall for tricks of the trade that are just that - tricks. Take control of your sales and marketing strategy, and get help if you need it.






Aerio Staff

Aerio Staff

Hi there! It's your friendly Aerio staff here, happily sharing a wealth of book selling knowledge with the world.