26 Dec 2020

The Wall of Marketing or The Need to Gain Eyeballs

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Make a Living as a Professional Self-Published AuthorWay back when I started writing and self publishing, I knew that “the writing life” would be difficult, but the rewards, for me, were fantastic. I’d get to work for myself and earn a healthy living from my own creativity and skills. After working for “the man” for my entire adult life, it would be a welcome change. What could be better? Working all day in my PJ’s from the comfort of my home, no boss to answer to, no yearly reviews to worry about, and no managers either not listening or yelling for no apparent reason.

In fact, during the first six months, I was able to write a book and self publish it myself. Everything was going fine … until I hit “the wall of marketing.”

What Writers Think

That’s the dream of many writers. They believe the difficult part is to write their book, and they will often spend months, years or longer creating their manuscript. Often, their efforts are based a passion or something they know very well.

That’s the way I started. I left Trader Joe’s to become a professional writer, and decided my first book was going to be about one of my passions: home computer security. When that was finished, I wrote another about how to survive a disaster. These two books took me about two months to write and were works of love. I had them professionally proofread price, reviewed by several experts, and even contracted to have comic art created to lighten the mood. Counting everything, I spent about $1,000 on these two books to make sure everything was perfect.

The books flopped, and I made less than a hundred dollars between them. Fortunately, I didn’t get discouraged and kept writing, and now have published over 60 books on Amazon. I learned a lot from those first two efforts – primarily of the need to perform market research BEFORE writing a book. After all, why waste time and money creating a book if it’s not going to sell?

The Reality

Writing is hard work. All writers, whether they admit it or not, run into writers block, friends and family who criticize and belittle, people who want to be “helpful” only to spread negativity and other barriers before even getting started on a manuscript, much completing a book and getting it published.

Once you’ve written the book, usually a first draft, it has to be edited, proofread, probably rewritten (perhaps even more than once), and edited again.

Following the completion of a manuscript comes the publication barrier. Traditional publishing is not a possibility for 99% of all authors, so the vast majority go the self publishing route (a few are sucked into vanity press scam.) Sometimes they hire a company to help them with those steps, and usually they do it on their own. Self publishing requires a whole different set of skills than writing, which can be a barrier.

Now comes the part of the process that catches virtually all new writers by surprise and serves to be the biggest barrier of all. But hasn’t the book been written and published? What else is needed?

The Wall of Marketing

The average self published book will sell a dozen copies or over in it’s first year, and most of those will be to the author’s friends and family. Very few books climb up to the level where they sell more than a few hundred copies.

You see, over 6,000 books are published every single day on Amazon. With that many books, Amazon cannot and does not help them sell. In fact, Amazon, for the most part, does nothing at all until a book sells and sells well.

But if Amazon won’t help, how do you get a book to sell? Isn’t that a catch-22? So you have to sell thousands of copies of your books before Amazon will help you sell, but you can’t sell thousands of copies until Amazon helps you sell. That’s a classic catch-22 situation.

Except it isn’t a catch-22, because there are other ways to make a book sell. It’s called marketing. That means making your book known to readers (purchasers) by various means including email lists, press releases, social media campaigns, and thousands of other ways. You have to make your book known, and ensure people like it and want to buy it for themselves.

Your Amazon Page Must Sell The Book

Start with your Amazon book page (or the equivalent page for another publisher.) It must sell the book. If you manage to get a person to see that page (which is the whole point of your marketing), then the next step is to get them to buy the book. Check and recheck your cover, title, subtitle, description and everything else about the book. It must demand a purchase or at least not discourage people from buying.

If your Amazon book page is not up-to-snuff, it doesn’t matter how many people you attract. They simply will not make a purchase.

Your Must Get Eyeballs to Your Book

In marketing, your job is to get people to your book description page, like the book, and click on the BUY button. Amazon will help out a bit if you’ve defined everything right. Check out the product Hypnotic Book Descriptions for some tips on how to do this.

The truth of the matter is, unless you are very lucky, you are competing against so many other books on Amazon that you will need to go to the effort to attract people to your book page There are an infinite number of ways to do this, but the top methods include:

  • Email marketing list
  • Social media
  • Blog
  • SEO marketing
  • Videos
  • Recommendations

And so on.


Making money off of a book is not easy. If you thought writing your manuscript was hard and publishing it was difficult, just wait until you try and crack the marketing nut.

But do not despair, you can market your book and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. In fact, it is best that you build your own email list, create your own blog, and do your own social media posts to being with. You can hire people to do selected parts of your campaign, but you’ll learn a lot more by doing it yourself.

Future articles will discuss book marketing in more detail.

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