How to market your book: POP YOUR EGO

by Ksenia Anske

Photo by Kyle Thompson

That's right, I haven't even finished my book yet, let alone marketed it. I haven't even marketed anybody else's book, for that matter, so why exactly are you reading this? I'll give you one reason. I'm a reader too, and depending on how you market your book, I'll either pick it up or never grace it with a second glance. This, of course, applies mostly to indie authors as you guys have to do the work yourself. But more and more traditionally published authors have to pitch in as well. And, boy, do I get turned off sometimes. You. Don't. Want. That! Cause I read A LOT! And, well, I used to do social media marketing, so I hope I know something. Without further ado:

Play the underdog. This is surprisingly easy and works every time like a charm, yet people forget it and think that if they shove a link to their book in my face, I will drop everything and run screaming to check it out, to read it, to review it, and to tell all my friends and my entire extended family in Russia (hmmm, maybe THAT is not exactly what they want, but you get the point). Well, I won't. And not because I don't like you or I don't want to read your book. NO! Because you didn't ask nicely. Because you didn't delight me with a joke about your horrible self and your horrible book. Because reverse psychology always works. It does! Tell me I should never EVER click that link, and I will die from curiosity. It works like this: Tell a teenager she can't smoke, you bet she will. Tell her she can smoke, she'll... (well, this is another story, shall we move on already?)

Use a sense of humor. Get used to people beating you down and telling you your stuff sucks. Play it off with good humor, good sarcasm, a good joke. People lynch you NOT because they don't like you, it has nothing to do with you. Most of the time is has to do with them spilling their coffee on themselves in the morning and looking for that convenient target to spill their anger onto. Here is the trick. If you approach people with a sense of humor and don't take their remarks personally, they'll blow off their steam, and then they'll talk to you like to a human being. And you have a chance of them actually checking out your book (especially if this happened on one of your social media channels - because people tend to be more expressive online than they are in person).

Grow up. Oh, what did I just say? OMG. Did I tell you to grow up? Yeah, I did. Here is what some authors do. They run around and befriend people, tell them about their book (without actually being asked first) and then push it onto people to read it, or like their Facebook page, or whatever. Then, immediately, if they don't get a positive response or a promise or a LIKE, they unfollow you everywhere, cross you off their friends list, block you, strike you, close their mouth and don't speak a word to you as if you're some enemy. Sheesh, GROW UP! Stop your toddler tantrum and understand that people are busy! They might actually check out your book if you give them time! Which leads me to the next point.

Learn patience. Didn't your mama teach you? People are busy, and it's polite to ask one time and then wait. It's also polite to ask if the person MAY be contacted next week, and then wait till next week and actually contacting the person like you promised. So, instead of friending me on Goodreads, then flooding me with event messages and group invites and other stuff, and then, when I don't respond, blocking me, WAIT. Give me time. I can't go through all these, and sometimes I don't respond simply because I have no time! Some people keep asking me, how did you coax A. Lee Martinez to guest post on your blog? Easy. Patience. I've been patient and courteous and gave him time and each time played up his late response to my e-mails with humor, and won him over (I wonder if he'll agree after reading this?). Anyway.

Be yourself. I don't even have to write anything here, do I? Stop pretending you're some big best-selling author, just show people who you are, with all your pains and tears and doubts. We're all human, and we want to read your book to connect, to feel, to glimpse some sense into the course of humanity and continue living. If you keep puffing up your chest as if you're the best out there, we won't trust you, because we know we're not perfect. And if you're saying you are, then maybe you're lying about something else too. And we don't want lies, we want truth woven into genuine stories. 

To sum up. This is NOT a blog post about the technicality of how to market your book, where, etc, etc. There are plenty of those already written. This is a post about tucking your big writer's ego away for the benefit of the reader WHILE you're at it. However you do it. Please, take that rusty nail. Drive it in. Oh, I heard it! IT POPPED! Good job. Now, tell me what you thought, and give me a nail in turn. I need to pop my ego too, get carried away sometimes. Guilty.

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