Written by A Guest Author January 31st, 2019

Common Mistakes Authors Make when Promoting their Work

By Gary Roen

Often authors who are new to marketing make mistakes while promoting their book. The most important among them is not treating publishing as a business. Having been in the industry in many different capacities for a long time, I’ve seen many blunders, made a few myself, and now know better how to avoid them. This article is to help you avoid them too.

Other professionals, like real estate agents and attorneys, understand how important it is to have business cards. They would never be caught without one, particularly on social occasions.

For some reason many authors do not understand the importance of business cards as a way to promote themselves and their books. They should rethink this and look into having some printed as soon as possible.

I’ve always had cards to give out with Author, Critic, and Consultant in bold letters. It’s a way of introduction that works very well. It is way for people to easily opt into staying connected, if they so choose.

Authors should always be open to opportunities. Often new authors are only looking for obvious opportunities. One has to be open to the unexpected. For example, writers of one genre assume that an event of another genre is not worth their time because it’s a different field of publishing.

Even though I write science fiction, I’ve  gone to conventions for comic books, mysteries, or even romance. What I’ve gained by doing this is a network with other authors, press people, podcasters and bloggers who are very helpful with tips or suggestions for places to market my books.

Perhaps the most amazing mistake I’ve seen is authors that do not take advantage of opportunities when presented to them, because these opportunities were unexpected. Below are several examples that cost the author involved a lot of potential sales.

Polly, a relationship counselor, wrote a book about finding a soul mate in the 1990’s. Polly was an expert in her field of therapy. When asked to be on a major morning talk show, she turned it down with the justification that the subject matter was not relevant to her book. She did not take into consideration the viewership of the show was 10 million a day.  This appearance could have generated untold numbers of sales.

On a second occasion, Polly held a signing session at a book store. She did not talk to anyone with a ring on their finger, rationalizing that they were married, not taking into consideration that they might buy the book for a friend, or tell that person about it.

Mike, a talk show host in Orlando, wanted to be on a noon show in Tampa. His publisher’s publicity department lined up the appearance. The only thing they did not confirm was a date. They let Mike know a call was forthcoming.  All he had to do was tell the show his availability. Instead when they called he told them to “talk to my publisher.” Another opportunity to generate sales lost due to his superior attitude.

An author of a science fiction novel was approached by the streaming service Hulu with a contract for a possible TV series. He rejected their offer,  saying “Not enough 0’s.” A better response might have been, “I’ll talk to my agent and get back with you.” He did not take into consideration the long-term effect that could generate, possibly, millions of sales through the years, because of a show on the service.

Can anyone imagine Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, not accepting contracts for movies? Readers today are still discovering Fleming’s books, as publishers continue to market the original novels because he okayed film companies to purchase his titles.

With the opportunities today, it’s inconceivable that the author would destroy any chance for their long-held dreams. But it happens all the time.

As authors we have to stay humble, open to feedback, correction, and oppertunties. I hope authors can learn from the errors I’ve pointed out and that they can take advantage of every opportunity they have.

Bio: Gary Roen is the author of two collections of science fiction Journey, Slotski’s World The Forgotten Father, a book of poetry and the co-author of Cats and More Cats.


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