The Truth About Marketing Your Book

I recently received a call from a gentleman who had self-published a Christian book. He was looking for someone to provide “marketing services” for his book.

As I spoke with him, it became evident that while he wrote and published the book, he wanted someone else to promote it. I explained to this author that a service that provided “marketing” for his book did not exist. Marketing is the responsibility of the publisher and author combined. However, when you are both (as this gentleman was) the responsibility of marketing falls on one person’s shoulders.

I did tell this gentleman that there were various services he could engage to help him market his book. These included:

I encouraged this gentleman to find out more about these various services on the Internet.

Two days later I received another call from this author. He told me his self-publishing story and asked what help I could give him in marketing. I gently reminded him that we had spoken earlier in the week and encouraged him to check out the resources I had told him about previously. He responded that he had called so many people he had forgotten he had already talked to me.

From this conversation, two things were obvious to me.

  1. This author was not finding anyone to market his book for him. Why? Because, it is the responsibility of the publisher to develop a marketing plan and for the author to help carry out aspects of that plan (using social media to promote the book, speaking engagements, etc.).
  2. This author had not followed up on the leads and advice I gave him. He continued to believe that he could find someone to market his book for him.

Here is the sad piece. This gentleman will eventually find a service that will tell him that they will market his book. Most likely that service will charge a large amount of money and provide little in return for their fee. As a result, this author will not sell enough books to recoup the money he paid for the “marketing services.”

May that not be your fate.


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4 thoughts on “The Truth About Marketing Your Book

  1. That is the rough part, for sure, for someone like me who is really uncomfortable about the whole “You should read my book. It’s great!” routine.

    On the other hand, I began my writing career writing (and designing) textbooks for one of the largest publishers and its various subsidiaries. They never did any effective marketing at all. They never told me what they were doing so I could help them either (though I begged them to let me help). In fact, they were virtually no help. The only result is that I have several books I could rewrite and market now, that I cannot get them to let go of (even though they are not selling them any more).

    At this point, I let the Lord do the marketing and step through doors He opens. The patience part gets tedious, but He is doing it—slow but sure. I’m convinced His plans are better than mine and pray I can just follow His lead.


  2. David: I heartily agree with letting the Lord do the marketing and stepping through the doors he opens. However, I don’t think “Read my Book, It’s Great!” is ever effective in promoting a book. The best way to promote is to know what need your book meets and then let people know how your book meets a need they have in their life. That has got to be easy with textbooks because it’s all about learning and people who have a need to know the information you provide will have a reason to read your books! God Bless your work.


  3. Hi – I read your article and I soooo related to both your comments and the man’s who phoned you. I think it’s every authors dream to have that miracle success and by miracle I mean without having to really do anything to make it happen.
    I really truly believe God helps those who help themselves. I’m on the uphill climb of promoting a self published novel and while I am not getting the sales (yet! I hasten to add) each day still brings it’s own joys and celebrations simply in the small things. Like getting a comment on a post. Which just goes to show how new I am to the game if it still gives me a buzz – lol!


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