When Should a Writer Stop Marketing a Book?

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

As you know, I'm in the middle of launching the release of my third published book, Unending Devotion. It released September 1, and I've been going strong in my marketing efforts for well over a month now. In fact, during the course of yesterday and today, I'll have had a radio interview, 2 book signings, 2 blog tour stops, and a facebook party.

In the cycle of a book's life, the first couple of months after release are generally when the most sales happen. Of course, if the book breaks-out, hits best-seller lists, etc., then sales may continue to grow.

But the average author sells their largest percentage of books during the months surrounding release. That's one of the reasons why we need to take our book-birthdays fairly seriously. We really only have a month or two to shoot off the fireworks. (Here's my latest post about How To Prepare for a Book Launch.)

After that, readers are ready and excited for the next author's newest book that's hitting shelves. The buzz about ours begins to fade, the rankings slowly sink, and the book gets relegated to the back shelves of the bookstores.

Does that mean we should stop marketing once all the hoopla dies down? Do we ever reach a point in the life of a book that we stop promoting it, especially in today's market when our books are available online indefinitely? Does that mean we need to keep marketing them indefinitely?

Obviously no one has the time and energy to let off fireworks all year round every day. So no, we can't keep up the intense type of marketing that comes during the release months. If we tried, we'd find ourselves and our fans burned out.

But neither do we have to give up completely on marketing our books once that initial buzz fades.
We can look for small steps we can take to keep our books and our name alive.

I recently read an article "Marketing 101" by Jeff Gerke of Editor of Marcher Lord Press and author of The First 50 Pages by Writers Digest (thanks to Melissa Jagears for the link!) After observing many novelists, he says this: "The harder a novelist works to promote his/her novel over time, the higher will be that novel’s sales. The corollary is also true: The less a novelist works to promote his/her novel over time, the lower will be that novel’s sales."

He goes on to say that just because we market really hard, doesn't mean we'll see best seller status, but at least our novel will do better than a book that isn't marketed well. He says: "Further, as soon as you stop marketing a novel, it will probably cease to sell."

Cease to sell. Those words are scary enough to send chills up every writer's backbone. We don't want to go to months and months of hard work writing a novel only for it have a shelf life of two months before it begins to collect dust.

Ideally, we'd like our books to keep selling and generating interest, maybe not at the same initial launch level, but at least to a degree.

Gerke has created the 30:1 Rule of Marketing which states: You have to do 30 things to market your novel to get 1 that “works” or gives you some traction or a positive uptick in sales.

He suggests doing one thing every day, no matter how small it might be. Because in the end all of those efforts add up.

There are a thousand different small things we can do to market our books that are inexpensive and not time consuming. And there really aren't any right or wrong ways to go about promoting. What works for some writers might not for others.

The important thing is that we keep doing a little bit of marketing and not to give up our efforts out of weariness or discouragement. (And yes, this is a message I'm preaching to myself!)

Gerke ends his article with this charge: There is a connection between how hard you promote your novel and how well it sells. Work harder and longer on promoting it, and it will sell better. As soon as you stop working it, most likely it will stop selling.

Doing one promotional effort a day sounds manageable to me. Does it to you?

Have you ever gotten discouraged with marketing and given up? What are a few small steps you can take or have taken to keep marketing?


Hey everyone! My "Fun Secrets" Blog Tour is still taking place. Make sure you don't miss out on the fun! At each blog stop, I'm GIVING AWAY a copy of my newest release, Unending Devotion. Here's where I'll be over the next few days:

Monday, Sept. 17: Secret #10: One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Diane Estrella’s blog

Tuesday, Sept. 18: Secret #11: The area in my life I’m the most inconsistent. Dawn Alexander’s blog

For a list of all my secrets, check out my Events Page!

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