Marketing the Wrong Element of Your Book

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The big challenge of book marketing is finding what works for you.

It’s often not just what you do, but how you do it.

The difference between a successful or unsuccessful marketing technique may lie in something incredibly simple.

Like which element of your book you mention.

You do mention your book in all your marketing.

Online, at the very least, you show the title of your book or a picture of the cover.

In person, you also mention the title of your book.

Online, you include a link to your product page.

In person, you pass out a business card—or even better, a bookmark.

But the title of the book may not be enough to really show potential readers if your book really is a good fit for them.

And a lengthy description is too much to give in passing.

What you need is very brief clarification.

But not the genre. That’s not enough.

You say something like, “It’s a mystery.”

No, that’s not enough.

But your description won’t work either. That’s way too long. (Until they finally arrive at your product page.)

I know, every newbie author would be thinking, “I want every mystery lover to read my book.”

Or, more realistically, “I don’t want to lose out on a possible sale from any mystery lovers.”

You don’t want to clarify that it’s set in Brooklyn in the 1800’s because anyone who doesn’t care for Brooklyn or the 1800’s will pass it up.

Newsflash: Once they check out the Look Inside, if they really don’t like Brooklyn or the 1800’s, it’s not going to matter that you got the customer all the way to your product page.

Instead, you’re losing traffic from your specific target audience—those mystery readers (and non-mystery readers) who really would like to read a book set in Brooklyn in the 1800’s.

Those readers hear, “It’s a mystery,” and think to themselves, “So are thousands of other books.”

If instead they hear, “It’s a mystery set in Brooklyn in the 1800’s,” those who would like such a book think, “Hey, that’s a mystery that I might really enjoy.”

Think through the various elements of your book. Talk it out with others who are familiar with your book.

Which aspects of your book may attract specific target audiences?

It could be the theme (a historical novel that takes place in the Civil War), topic (a spy novel about submarines), setting (a city that many people have visited or would like to imagine living in), an era (a time period like the Renaissance), character traits (a protagonist dealing with a particular medical condition), or a number of other qualities.

What can people relate to? What might draw interest in your book? What could serve as a helpful conversation piece?

Check out the following article on Just Publishing, which describes this and nine other common book marketing mistakes:

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • Boxed set (of 4 books) now available for Kindle pre-order

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


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Read More

Read More


Reading more is a good thing, of course. I highly recommend it. But that’s not the focus of my post.

Every writer would love to have more readers. They are so hard to come by.

Yet those Read More links and buttons are spurious.

  • Open your WordPress reader. Some articles show in full within the reader. Others include a teaser and require clicking 460 more words to read the remainder of the article. (Tip: Click the More Words link without first opening the article within the reader to save this extra click.)
  • Read a lengthy description on an Amazon product page. Only the beginning will show, followed by a Read More link. The Author Central biography has a similar Show More link.
  • View news stories on Yahoo or read sports news on your team’s official website. Very often, midway through the article it is interrupted and it’s necessary to click something to read the remainder.

However, anyone in online advertising who knows about click-through rates knows that every extra click costs a significant percentage of traffic.

So all those Read More links lose valuable readers.

What do you gain by withholding the remainder of your article? Is it enough to compensate what you lose by introducing the extra click?

At WordPress, open your Dashboard, go into Settings, choose Reading, and you can toggle between Full Text and Summary next to “For each article in a feed, show…”

Some bloggers show the full text, while others include only a summary.

There are two things to consider:

  • People who already follow you who are viewing your post in the WordPress Reader.
  • People visiting your home page who are seeing your recent posts.

I enjoy reading the posts in my Reader. There are hundreds of posts in there each day. Unfortunately, I can’t read all of them, so I quickly browse through my Reader and select those which most interest me. Many other WordPress users use their Readers this way, too.

A few will click the More Words link without first opening the post within the reader, allowing them to view the full article on your website with a single click. However, many people don’t realize that they can do this. Others know about it, but don’t do it because it takes much more time to load each post on the original site than it does to read it within the Reader. That extra loading time cuts into the number of posts that we can read at one sitting.

Therefore, many people (who might not care to publicly admit it) only read posts that show the full article within the Reader, except for an occasional article that is super compelling.

But why do you need people who are reading articles in the WordPress Reader to visit your site? Ordinarily, you don’t! These are your followers. They’ve been to your site before. They know about any products or services that you offer. You don’t really need for them to visit your site every time they read one of your articles. (You still get the View, Like, Comments, and Reblog option in the Reader, so what are you losing?)

If your site has changed recently and you wish to show this to your followers, just mention it in a separate post and many will make the special trip to check it out (and if they don’t, well, I guess they really didn’t want to, so why make them?).

Here’s what some followers may do if they must use the More Words link to view your full article:

  • Close your post without reading the remainder of the article.
  • Not open your other posts in the future, once they memorize that it takes two clicks to get to your site (since many won’t think to use the ‘trick’ to visit your site in one click, which also takes extra loading time).
  • Like your post to show support without actually reading 90% of the article, simply because reading more would have required an additional click (and extra load time).

Now how about people who happen to come across your home page. Some of these won’t click a More Words link to read the full post. They’re already on your site, so whatever you have on your header and sidebar is already visible to them. Why do they need to visit the actual page to read the full post? They don’t.

If your blog becomes an effective content-rich website, it will pull in people from your target audience through search engine traffic. These people will already go directly to one of your posts on your website, and they won’t be inconvenienced by the More Words link (unless you add an additional interruption using the Insert Read More Tag).

So the only people who are getting inconvenienced by your More Words link are the wonderful people who already follow your blog (and therefore have already been to your site and have seen any products or services that you may offer), or people who are already on your blog’s home page and therefore already see all the goodies on your header and sidebar.

Or is there another advantage of that More Words link that I haven’t considered—a big benefit that compensates for the readers who get lost on the way whenever an extra click is involved?

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that your loyal followers shouldn’t periodically visit your site. I’m just saying, why force them to visit to read the full text? You can always invite them once in a blue moon to see how things have improved.

And when you read posts in your Reader, you should occasionally read the post on the original site, even if the post shows in full in the Reader. Check out the sites of those bloggers you follow.

The Read More link serves a different purpose at Amazon.

Amazon knows that most customers won’t read a lengthy description. So Amazon only shows up front the amount of text that a typical customer may actually read.

Authors should visit their product pages and check out the portion of the description that customers can see without the extra click. Move any pertinent information into that portion of the product description.

Read Tuesday

Imagine a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers.

You don’t have to imagine it. It’s called Read Tuesday, and it’s free:

Please support the Read Tuesday Thunderclap. This will help spread awareness on the morning of Read Tuesday (December 9, 2014). It’s easy to help:

  • Visit
  • Click Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr and sign in.
  • Customize the message. (Optional.)
  • Agree to the terms. All that will happen is that the Thunderclap post about Read Tuesday will go out the morning of December 9.
  • (The warning message simply means that Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr need your permission to post the Thunderclap message on December 9. This is the only post that Thunderclap will make.)

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • Boxed set (of 4 books) now available for Kindle pre-order

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


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