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Is it Time to Ban the Word Marketing?

The word "marketing" gets tossed around a lot in author groups and forums. Someone will ask a reasonable but generic question like "How can I increase book sales?" And far too often, the simplistic answer they receive back is just: "Marketing."

This unhelpful one-word response can be frustrating for both the advice seeker and more experienced authors interested in providing meaningful guidance. It leaves the person asking feeling like they wasted their time and didn't gain any actionable tips.

The Problem with Simplistic "Marketing" Advice

Now, some argue that people posing such a broad question about sales probably haven't done enough research themselves. But even adding a bit more nuance with an answer like "email marketing" or "social media marketing" often isn't enough to give newer authors a clear direction forward.

The reality is that effective book marketing encompasses many moving parts. What works well for one author in one genre may not successfully translate to another. Achieving sales requires a customised strategy tailored to each book and audience.

Simply telling someone new to "do more marketing" without details is akin to telling someone who asks, "How do I get in shape?" to just "exercise more." It disregards all the nuance that goes into building an effective fitness plan personalised to the individual.

Why One-Word Answers Fall Short

This isn't to say one-word answers are malicious in intent. Contributors to author communities are often generous with their time and are understandably fatigued by repetitive questions. But for the advice to be truly useful for authors looking to improve book sales, it needs more meat on the bone.

Blanket "marketing" statements don't provide any real direction for writers trying to connect with readers and sell books. Just saying "market more" leaves too many gaps for authors to fill in alone.

Providing Truly Helpful Book Marketing Advice

Some ways to take book marketing advice up a notch include:

Ask Relevant Follow-Up Questions

- What specific genre and topics does the book cover?

- Who is the target reader demographic?

- What marketing tactics have they tried already?

- What is their budget for advertising?

- How large is their email list, if they have one?

Getting more details allows you to tailor suggestions to their situation.

Give Specific Marketing Tactics to Research

Rather than just saying "marketing", suggest 2-3 specific tactics:

- Amazon ads - Social ads

- Book newsletter promotions

- Book blog outreach

Now, they have concrete options to explore rather than starting from scratch.

Share Links to In-Depth Marketing Discussions

Point to existing group threads, blogs, courses, and books that provide a deep dive into book marketing tactics.

You've given them a roadmap to dig into marketing properly.

Advise Starting With High-Impact Tactics First

For example, recommend focusing on optimising metadata before diving into paid advertising. Guide them to start with the tactics that will provide the most return on time invested.

Remind Them Marketing Starts Early

Note that marketing begins well before a book launches. Encourage research and planning in advance to build momentum.

Moving Beyond Simplistic Marketing Advice

The next time someone asks about marketing, I encourage exploring ways to move beyond the simplistic one-word answer. With more insight and direction provided upfront, new authors will be much better equipped to build an effective marketing plan customised to their book and goals.

Great marketing doesn't happen by accident. It requires research, strategy, and tailored execution. By providing more robust and personalised guidance, we can help set authors up for success. Then, we can avoid the inevitable follow-up question of "But how do I actually start marketing?"

What do you think? Is it time we expanded beyond using "marketing" as a standalone piece of book marketing advice? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

If you need help with your book marketing and establishing brand awareness as an author, contact our team at Indie Bubble.

We specialise in providing tailored strategies and guidance so you can successfully connect with readers.

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