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If the thought of marketing your books makes you cringe, you’re not alone. After all, you’re a writer—not a sleazy used book salesman. Marketing isn’t your expertise. Begging isn’t your style either. Every time you mention your new book to friends and family with a request for them to read or review it, you worry that they’ll suddenly become inconveniently busy and keep away until you’re done.
But love it or hate it, marketing is important. You can write better than J. K. Rowling, hire three of the five greatest editors in the world and produce the greatest masterpiece the English language has ever experienced—but if you don’t know how to get anyone to read it, it’s probably just going to sit on an abandoned digital shelf in Amazon while your readers won’t even know it exists.
The bad news is that you can't be a successful writer with a large audience of hungry readers unless you learn how to be a successful marketer. The good news, however, is that marketing doesn't have to be cringy at all. As a matter of fact, it's important to be natural when talking about your book. Realize that some people will be genuinely interested in it, seek those people out, and speak directly to them.
More concretely, here are a few steps you can take to transform your marketing from a disaster to an ongoing success story.
Give your book an appealing appearance. Fix up your cover and your description blurb. Look at your cover as a tiny black and white thumbnail. People do judge a book by the cover, and this is one of the most effective ways to win over prospective readers.
Identify groups of people who love your genre. People enjoy finding new stories along the themes they already love. You can share in the conversation without selling, and when people learn that you're a writer, they'll be excited to read what you've written.
Learn the ropes. Keyword marketing, effective email advertising, and social media skills can all help you sell books if you approach them in the right way. Find other authors who create similar stories, and mimic what you see them doing.
For a full list of ways you can boost your bookselling, check out my list of 44 Book Marketing Ideas on Patreon. The best part is that you don’t even have to try them all. Just find two or three that work well for you and your books and put them into practice.
What’s your favorite way to take the cringe out of book marketing? Please let me know in the comments, and keep the discussion going!