The Marketing Mistakes I’ve Made

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Feather Stone, author and realist, former idealist

Author of “The Guardian’s Wildchild” Romance / Paranormal / Etc.

Recently I made a quantum leap in admitting to the truth about my book’s less than ideal sales record. It has very little to do with the quality of my writing. The number one factor is that The Guardian’s Wildchild didn’t quite make it to the WOW factor. Apparently, unless the reader gets that “OMG, this is like …., wow.” sales will be pitiful. Hard pill to swallow, but there it is!

The truth is I’ve also made errors in judgement. The failure of sales rests totally on my shoulders.

  • Selection of Publisher: My book does was not the best fit for the publisher’s themes of romance. Readers loyal to Omnific Publishing expect to read romance. Yes, there is a romance element in the TGW’s background but the overall theme is military suspense (espionage, murder). Romance readers who read my book might have been unimpressed with the story due to their disappointment in not receiving more passion and erotic thrills. Therefore, they were not inclined to take the time to write a review. They liked it enough to not write a scathing review, but they quickly went on to other novels that had what they were looking for. Lesson: Chose a publisher which attracts readers who will love your story.
  • Genre confusion: The term ‘paranormal’ seems to have a wide variety of meanings. Most people I talk to about paranormal get a picture of vampires and evil characters (well, they are not always evil). TGW is more about normal human beings with special gifts, metaphysical. I think that readers looking for paranormal might have felt cheated when reading TGW and finding no vampires or genetically altered creatures. Lesson: Carefully select the story’s genre.
  • The numbers game: Being a marketing ‘virgin’ I had the impression that the more followers/friends an author acquired translated into popularity and high sales. I spent hours daily friending and following, pleased to see my Facebook / twitter friend numbers reach high levels (high for my world). More recently I consulted a marketing professional, Angela Ackerman. She used a word that struck a chord – genuine connections (okay, two words). My error? Assuming if someone ‘friended’ me, they’d at the very least check out my book on Amazon. Not so. Those ‘friendships’ were based on qualifying for rafflecopter giveaways. They entered their name, and moved on.  Lesson: It may take more time and effort, but it is important to build a relationship with readers. The most effective marketing tool is encouraging people to talk about your book; and they will if they have invested an interest in you as both an author and a likable person.
  • Being a published author is a business: Any successful business person will tell you that your business will fail if you don’t invest in it. That means spending money on a variety of marketing programs. Having connected with Mark Malatesta (audio tape intro), I’m seeing how I have short changed TGW.  For the past three years I have invested minimal currency in marketing programs. Big mistake. Lesson: Find a marketing consultant (recommended by trusted and experienced fellow authors) and invest in a marketing program that suits you and your book.
  • Less is more: I have realized that TGW sales are low as it appeals to a small audience. It is not clearly focused on one genre and one sub genre. Military, espionage, parapsychology, telepathy, telekinetics, time travel, post apocalyptic, dystopian, sweet romance perhaps confound a reader looking for a book. As they say, sometimes less is more.

A reader knows what they are looking for, generally speaking. An author can apply a variety of tools, including magic, but the reader is boss. I believe people are drawn to a particular book, perhaps intuitively and by a friend’s recommendation. If it’s not on the correct ‘book shelf’ and the market program has failed to inspire interest, a talented author may remain unnoticed.

Have you gained insight into your market pitfalls?

17 thoughts on “The Marketing Mistakes I’ve Made

  1. These are all such really good points. My second book is a victim of your first point – at the time I would’ve been crushed, but now I honestly wish the publisher would’ve recognized that it wasn’t a fit for them and sent me on my way to find a more appropriate home for it.

    Good ro you finding trusted advisors on the marketing end. There’s definitely an audience for your beautiful writing, and I wish you much luck in connecting with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Thank you, Nicki. It is a pity wisdom often comes after falling down and skinning our knees. However, as long as we pick ourselves up and dust off the dirt and blood, we’ll be better than ever when our manuscripts are ready for public viewing. I’ll be so excited to finally present Forbidden now that I’m no longer a marketing virgin. Not a guru yet, but I’ll be more effective – and it will be a lot more fun as well. Thanks for stopping by, Nicki.


  3. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Hi Tonja: If I was to be brazen and offer more advice to a writer, it would be to begin your marketing efforts BEFORE your book goes public. Get comfortable with several online social sites (twitter, facebook, blog, create web page, pinterest, etc.). Build an audience and make connections with people who visit your sites. Make genuine connections and get people talking about your upcoming novel. Create a buzz. Good luck, and enjoy the ride.


  4. Everything I’ve read says that the best (and, actually, cheapest) form of marketing is to just keep writing books. The more you have available, the more attractive you become to readers. There are all kinds of data correlations to support this.


  5. jenlanebooks

    Hey Feather, excellent post! I can relate to pitiful sales, which can be quite disheartening. One thing I like about your book is the uniqueness, and sometimes it’s tough to pigeon-hole originality into pre-existing genres. It sounds like you have learned a lot to put your best book forward next time!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Ah, yes – next time. Thank you Jen and Andrew. I have my sights on rewarding readers with my second novel by this time next year – if not sooner. AT least I’ll have my eyes wide open during the pre-launch ‘start you engines’ event. LOL.


  7. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Hi Karen: Omnific Publishing is wonderful; and my book did fit in with their genre; however, there might have been another publisher in the suspense genre where my book might have found more readers who liked military setting more than romance readers do. I’m assuming a lot.


  8. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Hi Naomibelina: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’ve found comfort in that so many authors have had the same / similar experience.


  9. It is a numbers game. It’s also about timing. Don’t give up hope your book will find its audience. My first book took almost a year to hit the best seller charts. A year! Baffled even my publisher. All we could figure was that I stayed consistent online and they continued to market to science fiction conventions.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Feather. I’ve downloaded ….Wildchild and will give you my opinion. I read a lot, but can’t make time to review everything, but I always will if an author asks me to, nudge, nudge…Thanks for being so honest about sales. I’d love to hear more about this from others. Just nosy I guess! I loved the extract of your writing you left on my blog post too. Thanks for that.

    Denise 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I could write a whole book on my marketing mistakes. But often I do things “right” instinctively. The hard thing is that what works in one scenario with one genre doesn’t work in another scenario with different genre. What does work is building a core of true supporters, readers, and fans. And that is something that can only be done over time. Throwing money at advertising doesn’t work either, because most advertising is ineffective in the way that it’s done.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Thank you, everyone. Love all your comments and support. And Denise, I’m so thrilled you might have the time to read and review The Guardian’s Wildchild. I look forward to receiving your honest opinion, what works, and what I need to work on. Thank you.


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