Book marketing for the uninitiated is like paddling across a swamp filled with alligators and snakes (otherwise known as scam artists). Without a map. On a moonless night.
Nevertheless, many authors have successfully negotiated the swamp and you can too. This SWOT chart will help establish your understanding of your starting position.
If you aren’t familiar with SWOT charts read the SWOT Analysis page first.
As you can see, the Weakness and Threats are much greater than the Strengths and Opportunities. This is the picture facing all new, inexperienced self-published book marketeers. It also represents what the author would face if his book was published by a small indie publishing house. The advantage of having an indie publisher is in the book publishing process (editing, cover, book design etc) not in the marketing processes.
Not every first-time author will this exact SWOT chart. An author may have additional items in his personal SWOT analysis and some of the items may not apply.
Let’s go through these items one at a time so you will understand the situation
New Voice: No one writes exactly like you. You can provide readers with a new, unheard voice. Your stories are different from other writers. If you write non-fiction, you have a fresh perspective.
Enthusiasm: You are about to publish a book. Very few people can make that claim. You’re about to accomplish something that many people dream about doing. Use your enthusiasm. It is one of your strengths.
Unknown author: While it’s true you have an unique way of expressing your stories or viewpoint, it is also true that no one (or hardly anyone) knows about you. That makes marketing the book a bit tougher.
Unknown book: Another obstacle is that no one knows about your book. Many of the other books published the same day as yours had greater exposure to the public giving them a leg up on your book.
Limited marketing expertise: Authors generally are good at writing, not marketing. You may have no idea how to go about marketing your book.
Limited funding: Most likely, you aren’t wealthy. That means your marketing budget is smaller than you would like it to be.
Limited time: You probably have a day job and a family. That will limit the amount of time you can spend on marketing you book.
Media attention: If you work the media, you have a chance to gain prominence. That can lead to marketing leads and more exposure which can lead to higher sales.
Book revenue: Selling your books will provide income. How much income depends upon your ability to market and sell your books.
Lectures: Publishing a book, with or without media exposure, can lead to opportunities in libraries, schools and events. At these events, you can lecture on your publishing experiences or your research on a non-fiction topic. One event will open the door to other events and appearances
Inertia: Having successfully published the book, you may feel you have done enough and it’s up to the world to discover your book. That attitude is natural, but self-defeating. You have to accept that it’s your job to market the book. Turn off the TV, get up off the couch and start pimping your book.
Frustration: Faced with the daunting tasks of introducing your books to the world and the impression (at first) that no one is noticing your efforts can lead to a sense of frustration. You have to fight that felling and keep plugging away.
Lack of success: Your marketing efforts will not have an immediate impact on your sales revenue and/or your name recognition. It takes time for both to happen.
Fear of public appearances: this is quite common with many people, not just authors. However, staying in your office or home will waste opportunities to sell books and to get name recognition. How? Think of all the readers who would love to know how you went about getting a book written and published. Get out there and tell them. One-on-one is a great way to start your public appearances. It’s much easier than standing in front of a crowd of strangers who expect you to entertain or enlighten them. Actually, there isn’t that much of a difference between the two. If you can do one, you can do the other.
So what’s the upshot of all this SWOT stuff? It boils down to the fact that you have a tough job ahead of you. On the other hand, you have the determination and stamina to get a book published.
So, why can’t you do this marketing stuff?
You CAN do this.