I feel bad talking about my books right now

April 10, 2020

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You are a small business and small businesses need support right now more than ever.

I’ve seen and heard from many authors saying they feel weird marketing their books right now. I have a lot of thoughts about author marketing in general but here’s one thing I can say with relative confidence:

Most readers wish authors would market their books more, especially now.

If I can look at your social media feed and your pinned tweet is something random about your cat, or scrolling through your Facebook posts doesn’t net me any information about your current release, or even a mention of your backlist book(s) now and then, or you haven’t sent a newsletter in three months, then yes, social media isn’t selling any books for you, and also, stop being ashamed/embarrassed/modest or otherwise reluctant to support your small business with some marketing.

I’m not talking about flooding your feeds with promo, but I am talking about moderate and consistent marketing in amongst your regular chatter.

One thing I see readers say often is that they didn’t know so-and-so author had even had a book release, they’d never heard of xyz author, and they’re always looking to discover new books and new authors. You know what helps with discoverability? Marketing.

Spend an hour writing up a few posts that you can pre-schedule or post regularly, at different times, on different days. Promote the various formats your book is in. Use a few key teasers and images. Pick out a favorite line. INCLUDE BUY LINKS or a link to your website. Let readers know about new books, but remind them about your older stories too. A little work on the front end can keep your marketing going without a ton of time and effort and will help readers discover new favorites!

Give yourself permission to treat yourself as you treat other small businesses–with compassion and with understanding that marketing is an essential part of how businesses grow.

You, author, are a small business. You’d like your books to make money. You want to build a loyal customer base (readership). You want people to know about the book you wrote and are proud of. Don’t put your business in a weird category of being exempt from being important. Books bring people joy and escape and emotional release. Why not help readers find one of your books that’s going to give them that?

    It’s not just bookstores, restaurants, small retail stores or other businesses who deserve to survive and maybe even thrive in a tough environment. Your business deserves that too!

It’s also okay to give yourself permission to take a break from marketing.

Our bodies and minds are in trauma mode right now. Everyone’s stress reaction looks different. So maybe you just need a timeout from the business of authoring, including worrying about marketing and discoverability and what comes next. In that case, let yourself have that time. Don’t compare yourself to what others are doing, don’t think you need to set unreasonable expectations for yourself. Just let yourself be on hiatus for as many moments as you need!

But there’s no reason to feel guilty for wanting to market and tell people about your books.

You don’t need to apologize, we want to hear about your new release and what you’re excited about. Books and book talk is what’s helping many people through this bizarre time, so please, tell us about yours!