Books Don’t Sell Themselves

This article is posted courtesy of marketing consultant Sia McKye. McKye writes:

I need to stress to all authors that books don’t sell themselves.  If you’re tracking your sales on Amazon, you’re realizing that now. 

You’re published, and that’s a heady feeling, but now you need to be working just as hard on selling them—and yourself— as you did on the writing and editing.  You’re not done.  I realize that everyone has another life aside from your writing.  I also realize you want to use your spare time to continue writing. If you’re not putting any effort into promoting yourself, where is your market?  Your reader base?

A few questions to consider:  Do you have your websites up?  Are you blogging?  Are you utilizing many of the internet options that Pat Bertram has offered in her Book Marketing Floozy blog?  In other words, are you building an internet presence?  You also need to physically make yourself known as an author.  Are you contacting people locally?  Local bookstores, libraries, local author groups, newspapers, and radio to publicize yourself as an author and your book?  Locally, you have an ‘in’.  Use it.

Traditional publishers expect their authors to spend at least two months prior to publication and two months after publication on book promotion.  I won’t kid you, it requires a lot of time.  You need to be organized and set aside blocks of time to do this. It also means stepping out of your comfort zone to do it.  Bottom line here is this is your business, your product that is debuting.  Your books/product will only be as good as the effort after the writing to get attention for you and your book.  Keep that in mind. 

Even if you get bookstores to carry your books, what separates you from all the other authors out there?  You need name recognition and a reader base.  You have to build that with well crafted stories and advertising yourself.

2 Responses to “Books Don’t Sell Themselves”

  1. Pat Bertram Says:

    Sia, as usual you give good advice. Whether, self-published, published by an independent small press, or published by one of the corporate giants, most publicity is left in the hands of the authors. And as we are probably the most unequipped to do the necessary promotion, all tips and reminders are appreciated.

  2. ~Sia~ Says:


    Thanks for having me.

    I sort of call this article a boot in the ass reality check, lol! I say that mainly because majority of authors would prefer to write the book and someone else do everything else for them. Maybe that would have worked twenty years ago, but not in today’s market where a couple of thousand debuting or new authors are released monthly along with well established authors. Where bookstores may get one or two shipments monthly of mass-market products from traditional publishers every month. New and debuting authors will get lost in the volume.

    Stirring up publicity and marketing of yourself as an author and promoting your book is the least favorite task for an author. It’s right up there with writing a synopsis and doing queries. It’s a necessary part of business.

    Writing is a business. The author is the proprietor of that business. Products have to be promoted to be a success. It’s as simple as that. Once we realize that, we put ourselves in the right mindset to be a success.

    ~Sia McKye~

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