The Book Marketing Maze: 22 Wrong Turns & How To Avoid Them


Many of my author friends find book-marketing to be an utterly confusing maze, where it’s all too easy to take a wrong turn and end up not selling anything at all.  

If you feel this way too, you’re not alone.  Truth is I’ve made almost every marketing mistake possible at some point.  So to save you from needlessly stumbling up the same blind alleys, I’ve listed 22 of the most common wrong turns that can cost you book sales.

Plus I’ve also included a solution for each, so you can use your time more profitably.

1.  Frittering Away Hours On Social Media Without A Plan

SocialHours can go by, with no specific strategy, frittered away on social media.  You know you’re procrastinating and feel vaguely guilty about it, but you keep doing it.

Solution:  Set up a schedule.  

A writer’s life is a business, not an arty dreamscape. Your time investment is valuable.

Schedule your communications and work time instead of randomly using social media.  My own balance is 70% writing, 30% promotion.

2.  Impatience – You Quit Before Your Book Has A Chance

Too many authors give up after a few weeks.  They complain sales are slow even though they’ve done extensive book ‘promotion’ on Twitter, Facebook and their author blog.

Solution:  Persist, and push on.

This is your career, not a get rich quick scheme.  It will take time for your books to find their natural audience.  Persistent work in the very early stages is vital for attracting the attention of readers – one by one.

Calvin Coolidge

If these early readers find your work appealing, they’ll begin to talk about it.  Word of Mouth will begin to spread.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge. 30th President of the United States (1923–1929)

3.  Employing Robots For ‘Efficiency’

Are you doing this too?  Many authors are seduced by the magic of such tools as Social Oomph or Buffer app that can spew robotic messages about their book, 24 hours a day on Facebook and Twitter.  What a great time saver!

Red Robot

But they also wonder why no-one responds and book sales don’t seem to improve in the slightest.

Solution: Interact on social media and build real engagement.

This cannot be faux engagement either.  Taking a genuine interest builds valuable life-long relationships.  This is a people business at all levels and if you want people to help you, then building relationships is a cornerstone strategy. This is only achievable with genuine human interaction.

Note:  There is one exception: Bufferapp is an invaluable tool for scheduling Tweets outside normal working hours.  I use it to give out valuable content at night when people in other parts of the world are awake.

4.  Waiting To Promote Your Book Until After It’s Published

The day it launches is way too late to start marketing your book if you want to see a significant level of sales on launch day.

Planting The Sales Tree

In the vast majority of cases, building connections with people who will help and pre-release promotional work needs to start well in advance if you want to see early sales.

Solution:  Start today.  

But, if you did leave it until after launch, then start today. It’s never too late to plant that tree.  It’ll just take a little longer to grow.  But if you’re just starting to write your book, that’s the time to start your marketing program.  Many authors think that as soon as their book is published it’ll be a fully grown tree.  But publishing is merely the beginning.

Full article on planting the seeds of marketing early here.

5.  Treating Followers As ‘Cyphers’

Instead of growing relationships, you build up ‘follower numbers’, as if quantity was the magic star dust that will make your books popular.   But somehow it doesn’t seem to be producing results.

Followers Are Not CyphersSolution:  Form relationships with a core group of followers.  

It’s more effective by far to have 100 deeply committed Twitter fans than 1,000 disinterested ‘no-one in particulars’.

So interact with them.  Take an interest in them meaningfully and give out information.  They will look after you in return by spreading the word about your books.

“Be a meaningful specific instead of an everywhere generality.”   Zig Ziglar

6.  Writing A Lone Book

You launch your book, it starts out well then fizzles.  Sales slump, and it disappears down the Amazon rankings to languish at the bottom of the well.

George RR Martin SeriesSolution:  You need a whole series of books.

It is not obligatory to do this, but the results speak volumes.  Your books are attractive products to which people become addicted and increasingly want more.

Furthermore, the third book is when success often starts to appear. It takes time for an author’s work to find its audience, but when it does, the books all then begin to sell each other.

For readership to grow there needs to be a steady stream of titles appearing.  Even better is a series with a consistent main character.

See my keynote blog post about the power of a book series.

7.  Flooding Every Social Media Channel You Can Find

On day one you join Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, YouTube, Goodreads, Digg, LinkedIn and more, and frantically start posting.

Social Media

Trouble is, if you use that many channels at the same time, you’ll end up as a Jack of all trades and a master of none.

Solution:  Choose a just few social media channels.

For example Twitter, Facebook and a vibrant author blog.  Become expert at each of those before moving on to the next.  This will produce far greater results than a broader spread.

Read my information article for authors to find out more about effective use of social-media channels: The Social Media ‘Train Wreck’ That All Authors Must Avoid

8.  Writing Each Book In A Different Genre

Many writers claim “I write what is in my heart and soul.  My books will fit where they want to. I can’t focus on the audience as well.”

H P Mallory - ParanormalTrue enough, except for the second part. You can’t in fact write for everyone. Instead your books need to be written for a specific genre to build a broad readership.

Solution:  Pick your fiction genre.

Write your books to appeal to those looking for a specific genre.

For example, bestselling Author HP Mallory focuses specifically on the paranormal genre.   This played a major role in her hitting the New York Times Bestseller list.

9.  Promoting A Book ‘Shotgun’ Style Without Any Targeting.

Book Targeting

Aiming your marketing at absolutely everyone is a similar problem to writing books scattered across many different genres.  It is unlikely to hit the ‘bulls-eye’ – a perfectly targeted, interested reader.

Solution:  Focus your  marketing.

Aim at the specific reader you have in mind.  Define your reader age sex, interest, sub genre of interest, and go narrow. It will be far more successful because readers will immediately recognize that this book is specifically for them.

10.  Using Social Media As An ‘Advertising’ Channel

You shout your book title ‘Buy my book!’, with no other interaction at all.


This clearly communicates “I don’t care about you the reader, just buy my book.”   No-one will pay any attention. It will simply be viewed as mere radio static, causing them to tune out and unfollow you.

Solution:  Engage first, and sell second.  

Instead of promoting constantly and nothing else, mix value and promotion.

Take part by interacting and giving out valuable content about your readers’ needs and interests, and resend other people’s content as well.  e.g. Write posts on your blog that lead to your book that give value first.  Do the same with Tweets and FB posts.

Make this the majority of your activity, then no-one will object if you also promote your book.  Warning post:  The One Thing An Author Should Never Do On Social Media

11.  Sending Your Book To Reviewers Without Developing Any Relationships.

You ask for a book review by Tweeting your book, emailing your book and snail mailing your book to 19 different book bloggers who don’t know you.  Not a single one responds, and no-one reviews your book.

Book Review TypewriterSolution: Build relationships with book bloggers.

“But it’s different now.” I hear authors wail. “They’re all too busy.”   This is absolutely true.  Reviewers are often far too busy to deal with complete strangers.  You need to put in some work to become known to them by communicating constructively.  You’re not attempting to become their best friend, but setting up a professional business relationship before asking for a review.

The way to do this is to leave useful comments on their blog, exchange information using Tweets, retweet their material, send them helpful emails, even ask for advice about your genre.

After you are certain that you’ve developed an honest professional rapport, introduce your book for review.  You will not be an unfamiliar ‘door to door salesman’.  See my full blog post on how to approach bloggers.

Note: This is part one of two ‘Book Marketing Maze’ posts.  Click here for part two, which features another famous garden maze photograph, along with 11 more wrong turns to make when marketing your book, including the biggest one of all, and how to avoid it.

Do you make any of these mistakes?  Which do you feel is the worst?  Can you think of any other mistakes you’ve made so others can avoid them?  

Please leave a comment.

Jonathan Gunson

Article written by Jonathan Gunson

Author / Book Marketing Coach 


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  • July 3, 2013 at 8:47am

    Great advice.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:26am

      JM D S. Thank you. The second post coming up reveals even more.
      ~ Jonathan

      • July 5, 2013 at 9:04pm

        Second post? Hmmm.. that sounds intriguing.

        Which actually brings mt to my comment. Yes, yes on the series!

        I am so picky about my reading that when I find an author I like, I tend to look up other their books and simply read thru them one by one.. starting with whatever series I happened to fall in.

        ~darlene :)
        btw, when are you thinking to post that 2nd post?

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          July 6, 2013 at 7:50am

          You’re living proof of the power of a series.
          Next post will be published a week or so from now. You’ll be notified if you’re on my mailing list.
          ~ Jonathan

    • Ed Kemp says:
      July 3, 2013 at 12:58pm

      Hi Jonathan
      Tried downloading although had no success. I really like what you had blogged and I am guilty of talking to my new friends on twitter more so than promoting my novel Woodards Crest. I might tweet my novel twice a day if that. Any advice on how much I should tweet on my novel? Thanks and God bless, Ed Kemp

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        July 3, 2013 at 1:05pm

        Hi Ed
        What is it you were attempting to download? I’ll help. Re Twitter: Mix in at least 5 Tweets of things interesting to your audience to one Tweet about your book. (That’s a general principle not a hard and fast rule. The key is to engage first, sell second.)

        • July 6, 2013 at 9:27pm

          Engaging with people on social media can be so much more than just a method to sell books. It can actually help with production. My latest book, PARADIGM, was self-published (the others were through Feiwel & Friends) and people on FB really stepped up as beta-readers and even with cover design. The offered assistance with locations for the trailer too! If you do it right, you can create a genuine community that feels a part of the whole endeavor. (Because they are!)

          • Jonathan Gunson says:
            July 11, 2013 at 10:00pm

            Excellent insights thank you.

    • July 3, 2013 at 1:25pm

      Thanks again Jonathan, your insights have been very valuable to me getting my first book out there.

    • July 4, 2013 at 4:13am

      Thank you…your blog is so useful as I am a children’s book author with my first book nearing completion.

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        July 4, 2013 at 9:09am

        Children’s books are a major interest for me too. (It’s my current project.) Keep me posted re your progress, and tell me more of your writing.

    • Joan Geisler says:
      July 7, 2013 at 9:32pm

      Thank you Jonathon. As I started to read I realized this was some great material and I grabbed my notepad and began to take notes. I will also file this blog in my “book folder”
      thank you. I look forward to the next 11 tips.

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        July 11, 2013 at 9:53pm

        Standby for the 11 tips. Publishing soon.

  • July 3, 2013 at 8:54am

    Great advice. I am guilty of many of the things you have mentioned. Especially how not to use social media. I am a novice at blogging and tweeting and do find it hard to be ‘natural’ when posting comments. I will get the hang of it though, especially when I take your advice. Really good stuff. Ta! Nikki

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:28am

      Seems to me you’re on the right track already. Box on – Tweeting naturally for example is simply a matter of practice. You’ll have no problems at all.

  • July 3, 2013 at 9:03am

    Thanks so much for this post. I admit falling to #5. Never really thought to interact with most of my followers. #11 is is very useful, I wasn’t sure how to interact with the bloggers, but it seems all I have to do is just, interact. Thanks again!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:47am

      Yes, it really is as obvious as it sounds. The cornerstone of marketing outside the Amazon ecosystem is always the personal touch.

  • July 3, 2013 at 9:27am

    Thank you Jonathon! The world of publishing has changed so much in the past few years and I am sure that it will continue to change. Staying on top of the “business aspect” of writing is a challenge and your continued advice is very helpful.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:49am

      The changes will continue no doubt, and all to the benefit of the ‘marketing-prepared’ author I have no doubt. Small steps are the best, you’ll grow in confidence that way with small successes.

  • July 3, 2013 at 9:44am

    Excellent post, Jonathan. I especially like points 1,4, and 11. 1 and 4 are particularly essential to optimize for effective author discovery. Looking forward to part II!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:52am

      ‘Author discovery’, or more accurately ‘book discovery’ on Amazon is the main immediate purpose of the author marketing journey. Good descriptions, correct genre listing and great covers all play a part.

  • July 3, 2013 at 9:51am

    Hello Jonathan,
    I am guilty of most of these. I will review all your points above and plan what I am going to do going forward. Like many writers I just want to write, but unfortunately I am also starving. Some of my readers have contacted me and told me that my books have changed their lives. Which is great feedback and the reason I write but I still have to eat.
    Love your work Jonathan.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:54am

      That has to be the central conundrum for all authors. I know it well. I’m working on a large children’s project, but also run Bestseller Labs to help pay the bills.

  • July 3, 2013 at 10:23am

    Great post, as usual. I always learn so much from your advice. Perhaps luckily for me, I still haven’t finished my inaugural collection, Dying Embers; so I can prepare well for its release! Can’t wait for the next part.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:56am

      Standing by for ‘Dying Embers’. See if you can get to know some book bloggers in your genre well in advance. Take time over it, they really can be extremely helpful.

  • July 3, 2013 at 10:24am

    Thanks “Merlin”

    a sub category is to admit a mistake and have the guts to change direction: the attitude of “being right” suffocates progress.

    Joanna Penn suggests ” defining what you mean by success” as this determines your marketing strategy.

    Thank you for all your posts and guidance.

    Great work

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:25am

      Agree with Joanna – we confer often and tend to be completely ‘in synch’ with regard to being clear about one’s plans.

  • July 3, 2013 at 10:39am

    “The day it launches is way too late to start marketing your book.”

    Wrong. It’s wrong in fact, and it’s especially wrong of you—and numerous other marketing advisors—to keep spreading that idea, especially to beginning authors.

    That type of “chiseled in stone” statement is far more likely to dampen a timorous neophyte’s enthusiasm rather than rouse them into action. (“Well, it’s too late now. He said so. I’ve wasted all this time writing this book because now it will never sell at all. I may as well just give up.”)

    A better thing to say would be something like:

    “It’s never too early to start marketing your book. You’re writing it, you must like something about it. So, as you’re writing it—not after you’ve finished—as you’re in the middle of writing it, think about why other people might like it, who might like it and why. Then use those answers to begin a marketing plan to tell those people about your forthcoming book. And use that exact phrase: “my forthcoming book.” Not: “the book I’m working on now.” That sounds so weak and lame. “My forthcoming book” is strong and positive and sounds as if you’re almost ready to let the world enjoy the fruits of your labors. Your enthusiasm will transfer to your potential readers and you will have people ready and waiting to read your book (and, even better, ready to buy it).

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:14am

      Peter, it pays to read a post fully before commenting. You’ll see it makes the very point:

      “If you did leave it until after launch, then start today. It’s never too late to plant that tree. It’ll just take a little longer to grow”

      “… promotional work needs to start well in advance if you want to see early sales.”

      That’s designed to encourage those who didn’t realize they needed to plan ahead. Plus this is about early sales, not all sales, and in fact a highly encouraging paragraph in the main post it references states:

      Is it Too Late To Start? If you did leave marketing your book until after launch, don’t worry – all is not lost. Not at all in fact! It simply means that it’ll take a little longer. And if it’s an eBook, you still have plenty of time to successfully market your book, because on Amazon, your book lasts forever, giving it time to find its audience. But do start today if you haven’t already.

      Highly encouraging for aspiring writers, and certainly doesn’t project “Well, it’s too late now.”


  • July 3, 2013 at 10:41am

    Thanks for the informative post. Oh it’s so much with all of this social media. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming, especially when you have day/night job. But I’ve always wanted to own a business and I love to write, so what a good marriage. LOL But I’m wondering about the suggestion about staying in one genre. I think creativity can flow across the spectrum. A writer is not a one trick pony. One way to be in multiple genres is to perhaps develop several pen-names which thus become your brands. This is one time when having multiple personalities is a big benefit.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:21am

      Charles, you may write in as many genres as you please. There is no compulsion to stay in one fiction genre. The point I’m making is that if a writer does focus in on a narrow genre however, then their reputation will be built far more quickly, because they attract interest by the readers for whom the books resonate exactly with increasing intensity book after book.
      See: ‘Series’ – The Single Most Effective Career Strategy A Writer Can Employ

      Plus DO read the social media train wreck post. It will alleviate your pain!


  • July 3, 2013 at 11:08am

    Another great post, Jonathan, thanks. Especially like point 4 – it’s so easy to think, I’ll write first and do the marketing later. Love the picture of the maze!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 11:34am


      That’s the spirit. I try to use carrot and stick – berate AND encourage. Most writers leave it until after finishing their book to start marketing, but it’s never too late, the books will be on Amazon ‘forever’. A late start simply means there won’t be so many early sales.

      Another great maze coming in the next post – it’s in Barcelona. I was there about 3 years ago. An extraordinary city with Gaudi’s Cathedral.


      • July 3, 2013 at 11:39am

        Oooh, we’re going to Barcelona in September – really looking forward to the Gaudi sites!

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          July 3, 2013 at 11:44am

          I’m bursting with envy Julia.

          LOVE that city. Do go see the Battlo family house designed by Gaudi. Here’s a photograph I took of it:


          • Jeanie says:
            July 3, 2013 at 12:53pm

            That Gaudi house is incredible, has an almost human quality to it and very beautiful. What a genius. Will have to go there sometime. Barcelona is off the charts!!

            Love the article. I must confess, I was guilty of almost everything on your list. But after reading your posts, just stopped doing those things. But didn’t get busy marketing early. Now have a copyeditor taking a look at Life is Just a Bowl of Jerrys: Breaking the Cycle of Serial Monogamy, from there need to create my cover and upload as well as making a youtube introduction. BIG PROBLEM: all my followers – and I really have no idea how this happened on Twitter – all of them are fiction and horror genre. I am in the other garden: Non Fiction/ChickLit/Self Help. So I really do have to start from scratch.

            When you wrote 1,000 is better than 10,000, I had to laugh. I have followers in the low 100s all in that other genre and only three amazing bloggers with whom I enjoy a pleasant repartee. At least I got that part right. Just need to find more in my genre. I’m taking you up on your good counsel otherwise. Writing articles for mainstream bloggers close to my book’s theme. Thanks for all your great posts!

          • Jonathan Gunson says:
            July 3, 2013 at 10:44pm

            Having 100 core followers on Twitter who feel a connection and who’ll stick by you is pure gold. In fact I’ve amended the blog post to reflect this thought. (100 instead of 1000)

  • July 3, 2013 at 11:25am

    In fact much more of two years I attempted to be sold my unfinished novel invain ,see:
    If anybody have interest and can help me I should made to him make up!!
    Blessing and success for all writers !!
    Milan Iliev

  • July 3, 2013 at 11:37am

    Thanks, Jonathan, for yet another very useful (and indeed motivating) post. Some really good advice here!

    I, too, hate those robotic little fb and twitter posts that simply exhort me to buy a book I don’t know anything about! Why should I check it out?! Or very odd posts that purport to be an interesting pull to check out the book but which are only bewildering bits of quotations without any context! Goodness, I’ve had many of those! But your advice to focus and target is absolutely right. Sometimes we writers starting out tend to try out all the genres possible to find our way and then all the marketing techniques available because we don’t know what else to do.

    I’ve learned such a lot over the last 2 years, from you and others, and am trying (really!) to be more professional about my writing life. The thing I must confess I find so hard is restricting my fb time! I go on, leave messages, try to develop a meaningful presence and connect with people, but then get totally sidetracked and before I know it I’ve spent all morning on fb instead of writing. I like your 70:30 idea. Just wish I could get the willpower to stick to this!

    The other problem is focusing on connecting with readers not just fellow authors; you can identify the latter easily but how do you identify readers?

    Many thanks, again, for your inspiring posts; they help to keep me sane and on-track.

  • Jonathan Gunson says:
    July 3, 2013 at 12:15pm


    Re trying out all the genres: It’s perfectly OK to experiment with many styles of writing over a period before your own voice appears. It takes time. It’s even fine to ‘copy’ to certain extent, because that’s how all of us learn until an increasing degree of originality begins to appear.

    In light of that, do watch this extraordinary video about where inspiration comes from:

    ‘Everything is a Remix’


  • July 3, 2013 at 12:30pm

    What a great post. I hope I hope I already know this stuff, but having you lay it out so clearly really helps to focus the mind and nudge me back on track – Especially the ‘frittering away hours on social media’ part. Thanks!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 12:49pm

      MORE than happy to nudge you off social media and back into your writing.

  • JP Sando says:
    July 3, 2013 at 12:32pm

    Good advice Jonathan – as ever. I try to follow advice from your good self and people such as Joanna Penn and have seen good early results in first two weeks, but its when that initial launch is over and things start to drop away that it can get disheartening – especially when you feel that you’ve pulled out all the stops. Obviously I will continue with a subtle but steady marketing plan and I’ve a potential publicity stunt up my sleeve, but the thing I find hard is categorisation on Amazon. What if your ideal category/categories either don’t exist or are massive categories filled with the likes of the Dan Browns and James Pattersons of this world? Any advice on the category issue? My novel, The Dead Celebrity, has elements of religion, suspense, psychological, music fiction (John Lennon comes back from the dead), and would also appeal toatheists and post apocalyptical book lovers. It’s a tough one? Any advice?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 12:46pm

      On Amazon it’s most effective to initially narrow down the genre to a slim sub-category (if possible), get some success within that first, then move it into large categories on the back of that success.
      Of course a lone book is very hard to sustain nevertheless. As I said in the article, it’s around the third book that traction starts to kick in, because the books all start to sell each other. I assume you’re writing more?

      • JP Sando says:
        July 3, 2013 at 1:35pm

        Absolutely, Jonathan. I’m hoping to have the follow-up book out before the end of the year. I absolutely agree on that advice as I see it time and time again. Fifty Shades and Wool being the two obvious examples. Thanks again.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          July 4, 2013 at 9:23am

          Keep me posted JP. Standing by.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      October 9, 2013 at 11:03am

      The thing is to choose two sub-categories and stick with them. But yes, they have to be right, so pick the most striking theme of your work and use that to decide. Also build out your own brand around that. (Better to be a meaningful specific than an everywhere generalization.) And don’t worry about competing with Dan Brown; The best tactic is to build a small circle of trusted readers who like your work, and they will spread the word if it has appeal.
      PS. Re. ‘John Lennon back from the dead’ – that’s an attention grabber if ever I heard one!

  • July 3, 2013 at 12:39pm

    As always, your information and advice is dead on. I also have a daily practice I call One a Day. (I grew up with this phrase, referring to vitamins.)

    I go through a social network and pick a follower, peer, or someone also pushing a product, which doesn’t have to be books. I study their website and postings, the placing, the colors, the ease of surfing. Most times I see something creative or inspiring. I read each article as if it were a personal letter, written to me. I guess one could call it filching, but my intent is not to borrow content or pics- not because it’s illegal, but because it’s just wrong. Studying others reminds me of how each of us is unique. We are all the CEO of our products. Engaging with someone you don’t know is tough. Scary. I do send notes, though, sometimes receiving a reply in return, sometimes not.

    Staying focused is also tough work, which is why I rush to open Bestseller Labs when I see it come in. You’re the One a Day boost of inspiration. You rock. Thank you for always laying it on the table and making me ‘clear my plate’ before leaving the table. (ok, that was corny)

    Big thanks, Jonathan.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 12:42pm

      You’re welcome. I might add that your abbreviated EKKO Ghost Story description is right on the money: “A thrill-seeking soundman, one touring rock band, a handful of ghosts, and a whole lot of adventure.”

  • Atty Eve says:
    July 3, 2013 at 12:54pm

    Love this list. I’m on the right track for some and off on others. The black hole I lovingly call Facebook, has drained most of my time. However, I have formed many great relationships there by beta reading or giving support. I’ve several people that’ve promised to help fund my book on Kickstarter, or are ready to pre-buy once it’s available. Social media is time consuming but necessary. And although I’m on ten other sites, I use Facebook the most, so #7 rings true in my ears.
    Thank you for your fantastic advice,
    Atty Eve

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 1:08pm

      Facebook is clearly your home base in social media. For the time being Twitter is mine, although Facebook is growing gradually for me. You can find my FB page here.

  • July 3, 2013 at 1:33pm

    Great post, Johnathan! Thanks for so many great tips.

    I find that I’m doing *MOST* of these things already. The one thing that I seem to have the most difficulty with is marketing to people who I think are my core audience. Do you think (or have you already done?) a post that explains how to find these people and then once you’ve found them, what to do then?

    I’m sure there are others who are having the same problem and would love some hints along these lines!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 9:27pm


      Encouraging the right audience to discover their books is the central marketing issue facing every author. There isn’t a quick fix unfortunately (apart from having a series of brilliant appealing books.)

      The reason finding readers is difficult is because they don’t identify themselves in the same way a person reading a non-fiction book does.

      e.g. A book on “How to build a Chicken coop” is easy to promote, because those precise keywords can be put on a website and the site will be listed by Google, which will be found by those searching for that exact subject.

      This is not possible for a fiction author – readers don’t search that way, nor do they identify themselves as ‘readers’. Hence these blog posts that show all the other ways to build up that attention of readers – e.g. 3 Great Ways To Find Readers For Your Books On Twitter

      BUT on Amazon fiction readers people actually ARE specifically looking for books, so if yours is listed the right way then readers are highly likely to find it, and I’ll be blogging more about that soon.


  • a.g.moye says:
    July 3, 2013 at 1:34pm

    I always find your posts very interesting and useful. I try to interface with those I make contact with including a blog about things in my life and try to get people that read it to chat back to me and tell me their problems or chat about anything. I am slowly building up contact with people on social media especially on twitter, my main source of contact. I try not to blog just about my books and your advice to make every fifth blog about your books is good advice. At first that was all I did then reading your words and others, I have slowly changed.Thanks for the download, I will read your book and see what else I can use. Have a nice day. A. George Moye

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 9:32pm

      AG M

      That’s every 5th TWEET can be about your book, not blog post, and it’s not a hard and fast rule, just a principle: Engage First, Sell Second.

      As far as blog posts go, every blog post can be about your book, but will do the selling job if it starts by talking about something of interest to the reader, and then mentions your book in context AFTER that. It can then actually be quite pushy at that point, because you’ve given out value first.


  • July 3, 2013 at 2:00pm

    I’m so glad I subscribed to your site. You consistently put out the most useful content for writers of any other site I’ve joined. Much appreciated!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 9:36pm

      You’re welcome Eva
      I had planned to blog about your beautiful contest, but time ran away!

  • July 3, 2013 at 2:04pm

    Sound advice as always Jonathan, I wish it was written in French then I could show my man, because if he says ‘writing a book is all well and good, but if you don’t make any money off it why do you continue’… just one more time I’m going to hit him with the blasted thing!

    My advice to people if they are getting the same is to do what I do, say nothing, just keep writing, and one day he or she will have to eat their words…miam miam-I’m going to feed my man his words with mustard, page by delicious page!

    Having only one book for sale is difficult, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I do have a second book due out soon, problem is I changed genres…but the good news is the third book bridges the two genres and if, as you say, three is the magic number,
    I had better ‘hop to it’ and finish it!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 9:48pm

      Your man sounds like a very practical fellow. So “Rome wasn’t built in a day” must be a handy retort for a writer under seige!
      Being a writer is a vocation and entire career that takes time to grow and make it pay. You don’t do it to get immediate cash like taking a job flipping burgers.
      Furthermore, it gives one an invaluable sense of self. You know who you are: “I am a Writer.” Not many people on earth can do that with conviction. “I am a clerk.” doesn’t have quite the same sense of self. Nothing wrong with being a clerk per se, but they shouldn’t question anyone’s calling and reason to exist.

  • July 3, 2013 at 2:09pm

    I’m SO guilty of number nine. I was like, ‘huh’ when someone asked who my target audience were. Uhh, everyone over 18? :-)

    I’m currently working on various options to hit the target audience I’ve identified as well as niche markets. Very excited!

    Great tips! Can’t wait to read the second half of the list.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 9:50pm

      Target marketing isn’t necessarily obvious until it’s pointed out. But now you know – another great step on the author stairway.

  • July 3, 2013 at 3:01pm

    Great post Jonathan! In reading through these, and other tips you’ve posted, I can see a few I’ve made. The beauty of this writing thing though is that we can all learn, grow and improve daily. The biggest one that got me was the waiting until my book was published before doing the promo work. I’ve just submitted the sequel to the publisher, and am now waiting to hear if she’ll take it on, and if she does, what release date we’d be aiming for. I guess I still struggle with the question, “when do I start promoting the sequel when I don’t even know when it’ll be released, or by whom?”. Oh, and note how I’m interacting meaningfully here? :)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 9:57pm

      The central principle underlying ‘start your marketing early’ is to form a slew of connections who will help you when you launch. i.e. Form relationships in advance – e.g. by getting to know bloggers well in advance. Deciding on the optimum listing for Amazon well in advance by studying what others in the same genre are doing.
      And yes, the meaningful interactions are coming along famously.

  • July 3, 2013 at 3:06pm

    Excellent advice Jonathan! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 9:58pm

      11 more to come Joseph. Stand by.

  • July 3, 2013 at 3:39pm

    Hello Jonathan,
    good to hear from you again. I’ve found that it’s hard to get books reviewed by newspapers and magazines after they’ve found that the book is self – publish and they give the author the runaround. I applied to have my books included in a magazine’s competition for kids but when I sent the book it was returned, the editor citing the excuse that ” sorry, we can’t use the book as it’s self – publish! ” Another newspaper – when they found out – asked for £350 for a four inch by four inch advertisement to just advertise the book never mind to review it. It’s hard on self – authors as I get the impression that traditional publishing houses are ” leaning on ” newspapers and magazines to ignore and refuse reviews for our books. To be honest, it’s a disgrace Jonathan. Cheers Jonathan.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:03pm

      I don’t think publishers lean on the media to ignore self-published authors. Instead it would seem that you’ve run into old world, low rent hacks who need the validation of a publisher because they don’t have the competence to judge for themselves. Idiots.
      Box on Patrick, and spend some time getting to know a few people before sending them anything. Then they are more likely to accept.

      • July 3, 2013 at 11:27pm

        I agree with you Jonathan,a book should be judged by its content, not by somebody else’s bias.

        I noticed that books are reviewed that are published by well-known publishers like Penguin, etc and I’m wondering how this works, perhaps you could fill me in on that part Jonathan? How does it work? Do publishers pay magazines and newspapers to review their author’s books or is it at the discretion on these publication’s editors?

        My next book out next week called I WANT TO LIVE, out on paperback, Kindle and has a look inside this book facility, about my experiences of surviving cancer, has been adopted by a trade union because the book puts our National Health Service here in Britain and Ireland in a good light which it was with the doctors and nurses etc, and the way they care for and cures their patients. The union has a membership of a million-and-a-half.

        Here’s hoping Jonathan, thanks again mate.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          July 3, 2013 at 11:45pm

          You’re on the right track with the Union. I’d pursue that path even more strongly. Your subject is also very specific, and likely to have an identifiable audience, so look for them and the pathways to them. First, start by defining them: Other survivors? Other sufferers? Families with patients? The medical media?

          Secondly, see if you can spot high profile news stories that have some sort of relationship with the ideas or anecdotes in your book. Create an article of a few hundred words (no more) that writes up how that part of your book (amazingly) perfectly mirrors the news item. Send to the relevant media while the story is current. (It’s surprising how many will take an interest.)

          I call this AUTHOR NEWS SURFING. See the very first article on this blog:

          And no, publishers don’t pay the media, but they do often have a rich rolodex of contacts that they send press releases to. Mostly they reserve their budgets for big names, so a new writer shouldn’t expect a publisher to promote their book. This is why you have to beat your own drum as it were.


          • July 4, 2013 at 3:11pm

            Thanks Jonathan;
            you’re right about the Health aspect of the new book Jonathan: when the Union heard of the release of the book they invited me to the 65th anniversary, in a hotel in Belfast, on July 5th, of the establishment of the NHS here in Britain. they were even going to have a book release for me but the book isn’t printed yet, it will be done sometime this week along with the colour cover, and I definitely missed the boat there! But I think they will still have a book release/advertising when I receive the book, thanks Jonathan.

          • Jonathan Gunson says:
            July 4, 2013 at 9:23pm

            Keep me posted. Great to hear you’re almost there.

  • John Hundley says:
    July 3, 2013 at 3:58pm

    Another great post, Jonathan! Yeah, I’m guilty of several of the first 11, but after perusing your posts and some of your published works I’m starting to build a marketing plan that I have some hope with. Thanks.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:05pm

      I blundered through most of these wrong turns at the earliest stages of my working life. I thought I could just drift into it, and things would just take off unaided. Then I joined an ad agency. That was a bucket full of ice cold reality!

  • July 3, 2013 at 4:33pm

    Hi Jonathan

    Neat post, thanks. My son gave me your Blogging for Authors as a gift. Can’t wait to start reading it.


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:10pm

      The perfect gift! If it was printed I would autograph it for you. Consider this comment an Autograph in Lieu.
      Do take time over it – read the quick start guide first and that will motivate. (Note the ‘grand central station’ point near the beginning.) Skim though the course to get an overall sense of it, and then go carefully step by step for the real benefit

  • Leisl Kaberry says:
    July 3, 2013 at 4:43pm

    I have been following your posts for a while now, I have also purchased Twitter for Authors and Blogging for authors and find them all very helpful and definitely worth the purchase. As someone who was completely new to social media and selling books I felt lost and unsure of what I was doing. I was also none too confident if I should even be promoting my book yet and if so was it doing any good… You answered these questions and more for me and now i feel so much more confident in what I’m doing… And so far I have had little successes… We will wait until my book is actually realised to see if I have done it all correctly but I definitely feel like I’m at least on the right track… Thanks ever so much! :)

  • July 3, 2013 at 5:00pm

    Excellent article and advice. I’m the author of the workbook for authors, ‘Media Ready, Media Savvy’, which helps writers and authors gain exposure and prepare for media engagements. I concentrate on traditional media but also include publicity efforts online. I emphasize in my talks and media strategy sessions, the importance of building a strong online presence and platform. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:15pm

      Sounds like you have excellent advice for authors.

  • July 3, 2013 at 6:46pm

    I’ve been guilty of a few of these, particularly spreading myself too thing over too many social networks, and not developing relationships with bloggers. Great advice as usual, Jonathan!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:18pm

      We’re all trained to jump to the latest new thing, so it’s too easy to become spread too thinly. All those bright shiny new things constantly being thrown in front of us. Tempting yes?

  • July 3, 2013 at 7:32pm

    Thanks for a great post with tips to untangle the massive tendrils of social media! I’ve become quite adept at being a social media “hopper”. I personally find twitter the most fun, and the easiest to navigate and create relationships quickly. The advice to master one social media channel before you move on is very good advice. You can really end up spending all day long on this social media stuff.

    The best advice I’ve heard for authors: BIC (butt in chair) and write the book! If you don’t have a book to market, none of it will matter. 😉

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:22pm

      Re BIC – no question that settling to write is the ultimate solution. At the age of 15 I asked my father what the secret of writing was. He replied – “You start writing.”
      This 3 min video ‘The Writing Secret’ by Maeve Binchy says it all:

      • July 4, 2013 at 12:21am

        Oh! I love Maeve Binchy! I’m gonna run over and watch this. Now~ see what you did, Jonathan! 😉 Adult ADD strikes again!

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          July 4, 2013 at 12:25am

          But Penelope this has VALUE!

  • Michael says:
    July 3, 2013 at 8:07pm

    Another great article. I’ve actually been employing some of these points, like promoting my book before it’s published. Even the YA series I just started I’m getting word out. I’m using Wattpad to get feedback on sample chapters. Great job, Jonathan.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:24pm

      Wattpad? Perfect – a great site to get the ball rolling. Supportive community too.

  • July 3, 2013 at 8:14pm

    I am making available snippets of my novel on my blog, which I then push out to Facebook, twitter, and google+ But there’s been hardly any response. I’m wondering if that’s a bad sign–meaning that the writing is bad or the genre is not drawing much interest. It’s kind of literary. If you have some suggestions I’m all ears. Thanks.
    The Road to Astroworld

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 3, 2013 at 10:27pm

      Thing is there is so much to read online, that snippets of an unknown book may not gain any traction. There needs to be a reason for people to read them. e.g. Interesting blog posts you have written that play to the fascinations of your audience, that then lead or segue to your book, but do not START with your book. i.e. Engage first, sell second.

      • July 3, 2013 at 11:15pm

        Thank you for that tip and reminder.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          July 3, 2013 at 11:21pm

          I should also have said – do continue on Twitter and Facebook, but post intriguing teasers with links that bring people to your interesting blog posts.

  • July 3, 2013 at 9:46pm

    Hi Jonathan, another great post – you always sound so natural, yet polished. It helps to give us all confidence, not just in you, but in ourselves when we’re open enough to listen to guidance. How we act on it is still our choice and of course every individual has a slightly different experience depending on their own circumstances, network and genre.

    I have recently pulled back completely from the online promotion – I’d say my ratio at the moment is 98% writing and 2% PR..! As a result, my sales are virtually non-existent, but it’s a very deliberate pathway.

    I’m in two of the problem areas you mention – I was frittering time online (and moaning that I never got to write) and I am also a one book wonder at this point. I felt increasingly that I was bashing my head against a wall with the marketing – I’d win a reader only to lose them, as they had nowhere else to go. I had nothing more to instantly offer. So I have retreated a little whilst writing my sequel and I’m now achieving between 5,000 and 10,000 words a week, with the final run home in sight (there’s still the editing of course!). All this with a full time day job too – which also involves writing. But I’m a very happy bunny right now, doing what I love and with a plan in mind. Once I have first draft down for the sequel, I will ramp up the networking again during the editing and refining stage, push up the expectation and offer a giveaway on book one to build awareness. This will probably take place over a 2 month period and I have some established author friends who will help me to launch with reviews.

    I also feel very calm and mellow about the process this time. As you quite rightly say, it is persistence that counts and a period of building, of getting all the blocks in place, can be very fruitful. Patience is absolutely a virtue in this arena and in some ways a slow ramp up can be a wonderful thing, allowing you that time to submerge in your craft.

    Thank you for all the continued encouragement – it is much appreciated and I always read your output. Your wisdom is valuable to us all. It is then up to each and every writer to use guidance like yours to best support their work in a way that feels comfortable to them.
    Just hang in there everyone. The more you focus on your overall skills within this trade and practise marketing strategies (as provided here in Jonathan’s advice), the more you will find what works for you.

    Congrats Jonathan on managing to keep us all going and still continue your own work too. x

  • Jonathan Gunson says:
    July 3, 2013 at 10:33pm

    “Patience is absolutely a virtue in this arena.” Pretty much hits the ball out of the park.
    You also say you feel calm and mellow. That tells me that you’re confidently pushing ahead with great writing, and growing the market relationships you’ll need on launch day. Great to hear.

  • July 4, 2013 at 1:35am

    Thanks your tips are helpful. My book is different type of book! My book documents what it took to uncover our daughter’s health issues. The book is Chloe The Kinesthic Learner .
    How her Health Issues Interfered with Her learning Style. I tried to show how chaotic of processes it is. Any suggestions how this different type of book might be handled differently then you mentioned?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 2:14am

      Firstly it would be best to decide who would be interested in your book. i.e. Who it is for? Secondly, discover where they hang out online, then go to those online places and start interacting with them there – not just pushing your book directly, but also mentioning it in context of the subjects of interest to those people. Thirdly, if the book is on Amazon’s Kindle, then choose the Amazon categories that match those same people’s interests to list your book in.
      That would be a good start.

  • Jim says:
    July 4, 2013 at 1:44am

    Thanks Jonathan. Excellent advice to both published authors and those getting ready. I am sending the URL to this page to the rest of my writer’s group. At the moment, I’m guilty of number one. Not bad, but, out of the other ten, I’m not even doing them wrong, so I can learn how to do them correctly from you. Appreciate it.


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 2:08am

      The notification of this post to your writing group is appreciated. (I’ve also replied to your other comment here.)

  • July 4, 2013 at 4:04am

    Whew. What an exhaustive list. Thanks, man, but then again, you are putting me to work!

    I am trying to figure out #8 which says not to be “Writing Each Book In A Different Genre.” I am not sure if I was guilty of this, but I solved it, I think. I write in multiple genres. In each genre I have a multi-book series going, except the non-fiction which I only planned ONE BOOK — uh oh, did I just trip over your point #6 (“Writing A Lone Book”)? LOL

    The reason the books are not published yet was that I was juggling all of these genres — each requires extensive research. I felt sometimes like I was spinning plates in a circus, while juggling faberge eggs. So I decided to prioritize my genres, put some on hold, and focus on just one at a time. Seems to be working out.. but:

    Question for you re: marketing. So I put two genres on hold while I focus on one genre. I have several books I have to write to make the series complete, and so what do I do? Do I release all of them first before I go back to the other genre? If I do that, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to resume my work on the other genre because it will take me at least 1-2 years to get all the books out in the series.

    Any thoughts on toggling genres? I wonder sometimes if I’ve picked the wrong genre to kick off my self-publishing career (the genres I put on hold are easier to write).

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 8:49am

      I understand the conundrum you face, but the plain fact is that a series will always far outstrip a one-off book or a pair of books. So if for example you had 2 books completed in each of 4 genres, and trailed around each one, gradually doing one book more for each, you’re not going to achieve much market traction in any one of them, because it won’t be FOCUSED.

      You see, there’s no question that writing is key and important vocationally, but from a business perspective, working within a single genre makes the marketing SO much easier, more highly focused and far more effective. If it was me, I would focus on my favorite genre and make a success if it.

      Furthermore, that narrower focus will also have a compounding, multiplier effect on the relationships you make with specialist people who can help (such as book bloggers in one genre), media connections with an interest in that genre, and readers in that genre who spread the word. All of that is sped up exponentially if you focus. But it is dissipated if spread thinly across many genres. This applies equally to Amazon. The more books you have in the one genre, especially a series, and even more so a series with a consistent central character, the greater the cross-promotional capabilities. As I say, it’s a multiplier effect.

      There’s nothing radical about this, just common sense.


      • July 4, 2013 at 8:11pm

        Thanks. I get it. I saw it, and yet I didn’t want to see it. I like all these genres I’m writing in, but you are right — I just have to focus. That’s the keyword. Thanks for the reminder.

        I see the marketing POV of it, that it also affects branding if you’re spread too thin. Back to the drawing board for me. Thanks again.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          July 4, 2013 at 9:18pm

          Only you will know the right path to take – but I think you already do.

  • July 4, 2013 at 7:31am

    Thanks for this article. I’m just planning to release book three, and at some point in the last eighteen months I must have made a gazillion mistakes along the way, but reading your article helps to focus my attentions even further. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 8:58am

      3 books… that’s a huge amount of work you’ve completed. Congratulations. In which genre do you write, and is this a series? I can’t tell exactly by looking at your website or blog, but Identity X certainly looks intriguing.

  • CTMelrose says:
    July 4, 2013 at 9:08am

    Thanks Jonathan, your posts are always so helpful and always on track, or should I say keep me on track. I really appreciate what you share with us all. Your insight is invaluable.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 9:20am

      Good to see you are progressing well with your book ‘Latitude Lost’ – ‘Action/adventure with a touch of sci fi and dystopian.’ Question: are your following two books tied in as a series? (‘Compass Crossings’ and ‘Atlas Anew’)

  • July 4, 2013 at 10:56am

    Great article Jonathan – one of your best! I especially liked how you gave a solution for each point. The advice about not being impatience was gold – we live in a society where we expect instant-everything – but some things just take time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Thanks.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 11:14am

      Yes, patience is a virtue in publishing, except with the Y generation who want to be the next Stephenie Meyer by yesterday! Just as you indicate, it takes time. It’s remarkably like planting and growing a glorious tree.

  • July 4, 2013 at 3:20pm

    Great post and errors that I have run into with clients and (sometimes a person who looks very similar to me)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 9:24pm

      Me too. Box on Charles.

  • ACTownsend says:
    July 4, 2013 at 3:36pm

    Great advice, again! I could not have found your site at a better time.

    I am guilty of #1. And about to be guilty of #4. As for the rest, I am researching, reading, and learning as much and as quickly as I can. A couple of things that have helped me with the process so far:

    I have a To Do list. I know that sounds mundane, and for people who are much farther along the publishing road, this might sound simple and unnecessary. But the list is my way to avoid becoming overwhelmed. I have to research whether a couple of quotes and verses I have used in my first novel are public domain. I have to create a web site and write a blog. I have to finish designing my cover art. I have a lot of promotional decisions to make. I am writing the fourth novel in the series. And I have a family, a day job, and volunteer committments. So having all of those details typed out in front of me helps me stay focused and organized and actually get things done.

    I’ve started looking at the sites and FB pages I visit regularly. There aren’t many. So why do I go to those specific sites? What attracts me to them every day, why do I enjoy those pages, what do I take away from them that makes me or my day better, and how can I employ the same tactics to attract visitors to my own web site and FB page?

    Thanks so much! Looking forward to Part 2.

    ~ Angela

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 9:31pm

      You’re not alone. I have a to do list, and I’d be a trash heap without it! Re Social Media: You’ve already made a sound investment in with the Facebook sites you visit and with which you’ve become familiar. A community who can help is invaluable – you never know who you’ll come across there in a position of influence.

  • Miss B says:
    July 4, 2013 at 8:17pm

    Thank you so much for this invaluable information. I will be self-publishing my first book of inspirational poetry in August of this year. Frankly, I hadn’t thought much about marketing. I just wanted to write from my heart and “put the book out there”. I see now that there is a lot more to publishing than meets the eye. I do not want to offend potential reviewers or make light of their views and interests, so the information you provided will help me avoid some of the pitfalls I was bound to fall into. As one who is not a social media buff, I see now that properly used, it can be a useful tool in getting the word out and in locating those potential readers who might be interested in this type of writing. I will take your information to heart as you speak as one who has already crossed some bridges that I must cross. May God continue to bless you and your efforts.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 9:17pm

      Miss B
      Your original intention of simply wanting to ‘put the book out there’ to have the work being READ is the passionate magic that drives most writers. Marketing? Well yes, in the end we must do that, but if the writing and having something to say remains the first priority, then success is on the near horizon.

  • July 4, 2013 at 9:56pm

    Thank you Jonathan, for all your amazing thoughts on this problem. I love the bits about social media and I fall into that hole regularly, forgetting that I am a writer.
    You mentioned promoting our books when it begins and that baulked me. I write in various genres and if I promote a title I am working on, I will have to finish it, yes? What if it takes years to get that particular title finished? (That can happen!) I had orders for my second Gum Tree Gang book years ago from a book distributor. I took so long to get there because of negative comments (unwarented) from a few ‘know all’ folks about my first cute book (I still love it). It really set me back years (maybe 5 years) as I had those to carry as I pressed on (persistence is one of my prize qualities and I love that in people).
    Handling negativity has been the worst nightmare for promoting my book. I have also found that continuing to write (persistence) is the key to getting over this stumbling block, but it does take time. Have you any remedies (quick) for this hurdle? I just thought of this as I was writing, but I am sure it is something that everyone has to deal with. (They don’t like my book. I am no good at this…) Marie

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 4, 2013 at 10:54pm

      Wow. Quite a journey.
      I hasten to point out that the way to start early is not by ‘promoting’ your book long before launch, but forming relationships with people who can help you to do so when you are ready. ‘Your network is your net worth’ as they say. This also means there is no specific deadline to finishing the writing. (I suspect that will have appeal!)

      And may the devil take those who made negative remarks about your first book! Especially if it made you think twice about continuing. You are a creator, and they mere commentators and critics, and no-one ever erected a statue to a critic. Carry on regardless I say.

      These two posts may help you with confidence – in fact I’m sure they will:

      One about overcoming writers block which is basically the fear of being judged.
      Another with a charming video by Ray Bradbury to watch. You’ll love it.

      ~ Jonathan

  • July 5, 2013 at 2:07pm

    Thank you for another great educational post Jonathan. I’ve learned more from your blog, electronic workshops and manuals than from any other source. A great investment. Most of all, it keeps me motivated, knowing that I’m on the right track. Now, with a dash of perseverance, a pinch of determination, and a whole lot of your advice, I’ll keep on pushing the marketing!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 11, 2013 at 9:58pm

      More to come. Standby for the next 11 tips.

  • Gina Drayer (@GinaDrayer) says:
    July 6, 2013 at 4:05pm

    Great Post!
    I especially like the one about not using twitter to blast “buy my book” 24/7. I’ve unfollowed several authors because I got tired of seeing this. Engaging the reader is the way to go. Nothing thrills me more then when my favorite author mentions me or Favors a Tweet of mine.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 11, 2013 at 10:08pm

      Yes, ‘engaging’ is the word.

  • July 6, 2013 at 4:21pm

    Thanks for some great info! I do spend more time on social media then I should. Especially twitter. Part of that is reading invaluable posts like this, which I do not consider wasted time. I’ve gained so much through my social media connections. That’s where I discovered your fabulous website. Sometimes I feel like twitter was made for writers :)
    I’m currently marketing my debut children’s book. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing an okay job. The next minute I feel like it’s going to be a giant flop. I can’t wait to get this first one under my belt and learn from whatever mistakes I’ve made. Thanks for the advice to be persistent and give it time to get traction.


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 11, 2013 at 9:59pm

      One book after another is that solution. Seems a long haul, but that is where the answer lies – just as you suspect.

  • July 7, 2013 at 5:55pm

    I just tuned into your marketing points. Very solid. I had my first book, Wind-Free, published nearly a year ago. Of course, the first few book signings of this YA book were quite successful as were teacher-buyers in the school where I taught. I’m moving to a new school this year, and hope for renewed success from teachers there.I agree about a series being one key to success. Just have to get busy on book 2.
    I love fb, and am okay with twitter, but afraid I’ve fallen into the social part more than promotional part. I will continue to review your Part I and and look forward to Part 2. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 11, 2013 at 9:56pm

      Social media? Promotion? Sure. But Amazon is the elephant in the room. So remember to get your book listing and category accurate.

  • Jana Denardo says:
    July 7, 2013 at 6:09pm

    Great advice. I’ve already run afoul of the people who do nothing but blast their books on twitter or use the robot autofollowers. I do have issues with spending too much time on social media

  • July 9, 2013 at 5:51pm

    I’m all in #1 en #2 here. Sticking to my social media plan is a daily task (one needs to be a real Dr. No who says “No No No” all the time) and being patient is something that you have to learn every 48 hours approximately. It’s good to find these topics here and realize I’m not the only one. I may print these and pin them on a wall near me.

  • July 11, 2013 at 7:58am

    This is a query related to your BFA course – you requested that queries be directed through the comments forum so that all readers could benefit.
    I have a (self-hosted) site that I use for my blog and authors web site. It’s functionality is great for blogging, but inflexible for web site construction (unless you can write code, but that is also time consuming).
    I noticed that a lot of authors have two separate domains for their blogging and web site, although they are linked via the menu tab on both. I think the reason is because there are other free web-site building platforms (eg. Wix) that offer easy, drag ‘n drop functionality that enables you to build your own web site with limited tech. skills.
    So it would seem that authors go for the best of both: WordPress (or some other blogging platform) for their blogs, and a specialised website platform for their author site.
    My question is: Is this the best way to go? Will I not lose SEO ‘juice’ by splitting my sites and having two separate domains? I notice that you have only one site – your WordPress blog.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      July 11, 2013 at 9:45pm

      You are already taking the best option – having your own domain name with author website and blog with a paid hosting company.
      Yes, you will damage the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) advantages if you split the blog and website into two domains, but you don’t have to do that; Did you know that you can have a WordPress blog and a (non-blog) web site on the same domain? Your website doesn’t have to be part of the WordPress blog. (As you say, WordPress is not suited for website design.) The blog can simply be in a sub folder on the same domain name, with the website actually as the landing page of the domain. The website homepage can then have a link to the blog at the top in a navigation bar. With no loss of SEO juice at all.

  • July 12, 2013 at 6:34am

    Thanks for this sage advise. Focusing on these points is bound to improve results!

    • July 12, 2013 at 6:41pm

      Much obliged for the feedback, Jonathan. A small gap in one’s knowledge can have far reaching effects. Your site, and your readiness to respond, is a great safety net. John.

  • August 1, 2013 at 1:15pm

    I absolutely love this post, and I’m definitely guilty of a lot of things listed here. It’s definitely opened my eyes to see what I can do to change my marketing methods.

  • Luanne says:
    August 13, 2013 at 1:49pm

    To add to your section about book bloggers;
    One easy way to have a writer review your book is to contact You send a query and writers check in to see if anything is of interest. I have written book reviews as a fun departure from my freelance work and this is where I do it.

    My reviews have been picked up by Seattle PI and USA Today has linked to my book reviews 4 times. In other words, blogcritics is syndicated and if the writer does a good job, you have a chance of getting your books word out there in a big way.

    I recommend blogcritics as one way to get your book reviewed for free.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 14, 2013 at 9:49pm

      Useful thanks.

  • August 21, 2013 at 7:00am

    Thanks so much Jonathan for the very interesting post.

    I believe most of us make more than a couple of these mistakes, and it’s good to know what to avoid or “try” to avoid.

    I shared a link to your post on my blog. You’re welcome to visit at

    Have a wonderful day!

  • Jeevan Jacob John says:
    August 29, 2013 at 4:12pm

    Hey Jonathan,

    I have committed a few of the above mistakes when I was writing my eBook (Honestly, I am glad that I did, or else I would have never learned).

    1) I like to experiment with different things in my life – and schedules are definitely one among them. Over the years, I have tried different types of schedules (block schedules – each block allotted to a particular activity or general times – a time deadline for my tasks). I think the best way to approach this is to experiment. Find out what works best for you and then stick with it. I have also gone without any schedules (and most of the time, I tend to forget something). So, I do advise people to have some sort of schedules in their lives – be it work or home.

    2) This hasn’t been much of a problem for me. I waited a long time before I started writing an eBook. So, every time I had the feeling to quit, I would tell myself: I have come too far to quit. I can’t just forget all the efforts that I have invested. The method really worked for me :)

    I believe that impatience is important; it can serve as a great motivator. Sure, Impatience has the tendency to encourage us to quit. But, at the same time, it can also motivate us to finish the work – put more effort and wish the project.

    3) Agree with your points here. Use automated mechanisms for scheduling tweets, but don’t overly dependent upon it. Put your effort into building those relationships.

    Agree with #4 & #5. #5 is also one among the reasons why I deleted my original Twitter account (I didn’t have any sort of relationship with most of my twitter followers).

    #6 – I have never thought about this, but it makes sense.

    #7 – Indeed. Managing one account itself is hard (Unless we have lots of free time, I wouldn’t recommend focusing on more than 3 or 4 Social media accounts).

    #8 & #9 – I like to write as my heart says. But, I do get what you are saying here. We don’t want to be unfocused. Have a target audience in mind and write for them.

    #10 & #11 – Agree. It’s amazing how helpful true relationships can be. I have had personal experiences in which bloggers I respect and follow asked me to write on their blog, because of the relationship I had built with them.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing the tips, Jonathan!

  • augie says:
    September 7, 2013 at 5:46pm

    Thanks Jonathan this is valuable information. I appreciate the time in writing such an interesting and heartfelt blog. augie

  • Yvonne says:
    November 27, 2013 at 8:59am

    This is advice that is worth it’s weight in gold. I think the one thing that was stopping me from talking to people about my book is fear. Fear of not meeting the deadline I set for myself. Fear of rejection. Fear of it not being good enough. Fear after fear after fear. I guess in my head as long as no one knew about it than my series was the best series in the world. So I was going to wait till it was done. To me you are my best and worst kept secret :) Your information and guidance gives me the confidence to keep writing, with the understanding of what I can expect. Armed with that knowledge the fear all of a sudden disappears. So thank you for your words of wisdom and I look forward to reading many more of your articles.