The Very Real Frustrations of Marketing Books - and Their Solutions


I ‘overhear’ many conversations between writers on social media. Many of them go something like this:

‘I’ve tried everything. I write lots of stuff, I post lots of ads, I boost my posts, I announce every new item in every writing group I belong to. Nothing. I try so hard, it’s difficult not to be angry with people out there. I use Facebook ads, I give away books, I use other special offers, I use professional marketers…still nothing.’

‘Nothing I do marketing-wise is ever enough, readers are unappreciative and pick on the smallest of things in my posts, from cover design to the fonts I’ve used. I get zero sales.’

‘I don’t get it. I try to get my books out to the widest possible audiences, and ask for feedback all the way. But all I get back is criticism, often vicious…’

‘It's not fair and I deserve better as a writer. Don’t people realise how much work I have put into this?’

I hear the outrage, the wounded tones, the pain of all the effort for no reward. For many writers, nothing they do ever seems good enough to an unforgiving and unresponsive public.

My heart goes out to writers in this position.

BUT (and it’s a big But) their problems lie in the fact that they are giving their power away and putting the public at large in charge of their destinies. Nothing will change for them, marketing-wise, until they take back their power.

Critical and nasty criticism on social media (or anywhere) is certainly not acceptable and should be avoided anyway — but the reason it can sting so much is because the writer has given it the power to sting.

This is very common. And I know many writers who find marketing to be utterly soul destroying, when they have poured their hearts and souls into a piece of work only to find its sales languishing. Many feel that they have no idea how to change things or where to look for the answer to these marketing woes.

The big lesson is that the heart of the matter is NOT around what the public at large thinks but first and foremost what the writer is doing and where he or she is attempting to market their work.

Discovering how to market properly is a process of setting yourself free as a writer from the whims and opinions of the masses and finding out where your fans and superfans are.

‘Fans? Superfans? Who are these legendary figures of whom you speak?’

They exist. They are real. Your job is not to create them — they will already be out there in some form, not realising that your work is waiting for them. Your job is to find and cultivate them.

As a marketer, you’re not a hunter — you’re a farmer.

Whenever you think there is ‘nothing you can do that will work to sell books’, whenever you feel as though you are at the mercy of the masses’ whims, or Amazon’s algorithms or the opinions of critics on social media, it’s because you’re still thinking of yourself as a hunter.

You’re placing power in the hands of the public when you do.

In some ways, you’re asking: ‘Can you please make me feel better, can you buy something, can you take pity on my emotional needs? I need you to do this so that I can feel okay’.

It’s exhausting and counter-productive.

You’re hunting for attention.

You should be farming it.

Perhaps you have been in a relationship like that, in which the other person was needy and clingy and wanted you to do stuff for them all the time. Writers who appeal for the public to act on their behalf come across as that kind of clingy partner.

My book Crack Your Marketing reveals how simple, straightforward and life-changing it can be when you know how to market from a place where you genuinely feel in control.

People who apply the steps contained therein see extraordinary changes in the ways their books are received.

And they get sales.

In fact — though this might be hard to believe — any sale that you do actually make is based on the principles outlined in my book, and any algorithms or ads or spam show only the wasteful trimmings which can be cut away from all your efforts.

Have a question? Email me at grant@clarendonhousebooks.com and I will do my best to answer it for you. But the full answers are in my book. :)

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