The Book Marketing Network

For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers

What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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My biggest challenge? Quite honestly it's superfluous commas...okay, and dialogue tags. I have to train myself to rewrite--NOT check for typos, but honestly REWRITE my work.
This is great feedback. I wasn't thinking in terms of the craft of writing because this is a book marketing network, so your comments surprised me somewhat. I was thinking in terms of the biggest challenge marketing and selling books.

Have you looked into Artisan Book Reviews & Promotion? They do an excellent job of getting authors books in the spotlight and helping to get those book sales coming in. 

biggest challenge selling books? *grin* finding someone silly enough to buy them. No, seriously my biggest challenge with selling is quite simply time constraints. I'm already putting in 18-20 hours a day trying to get all my various projects up to date. Of that, I allot at least 4 hours a day to promotional and publicity work but it never seems to be enough.
Hey Celina, I really relate. Time constraints are my biggest challenge, too. I found a few things that helped, however, and they're outlined in a free ecourse I developed, which also points you to some great tools. You can get it here: Hope that helps!
Hi Bill,

I feel as if I'm in limbo until my first sales records come in and until that happens, I won’t know if my promotional efforts have been effective. I've done a lot of internet and one on one promotion. If the hits on my website is any indication, (10,085 hits in the first 80 from 25 countries and an average of 160-200/day in June), the word is getting around.

I suppose if I have a challenge, it is to wonder how a first time author who is with a small independent POD foreign publisher can get noticed by reviewers like, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, etc? What is the key factor in getting a foot in the door with these firms that will get me noticed in larger markets?

Being on two different sides of the world has its advantages and disadvantages. The book is available worldwide and I'm getting internationally reviewed but wonder what I can do to make sure the book is publicized equally on both sides?

HI, Marta. Many authors would kill to be published and distributed internationally. Congratulations on achieving that.

Book reviews are the key to selling books. Reviews are the least expensive form of marketing you can do for your book. They also yield great results. A colleague of mine, Mary Embree, has sold tens of thousands of her book simply because of one review in Library Journal early in her career.

Getting reviews is a numbers game. The more books you send out for review, the more likely you'll get a good one in a major publication. I recommend to send out a minimum of 200 review copies to various publications. 200! You might think that's a lot, but it's not. With the variety of magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites and social networks (such as this one), you'll be able to send out at least that many.

The media can be subdivided into three broad categories: national, regional (or local) and trade. National media is what many authors think of when they think of reviews. Everyone wants to be on Oprah, for instance, because they know that Oprah sells books - lots of them. National media is very competitive.

Local media is becoming more competitive. Newspapers and magazines are cutting back editorial space because the Internet has hurt their advertising base so hard. The space available for book reviews is less than it was in 2006, for instance. Therefore, the newspapers will favor to review the books from big publishers because they are more widely read and more widely available.

Trade media is the easiest to have review your book. What is trade media? It's easier to explain for non-fiction books. If you have a book on World War I, then the trade media would be the history and warfare magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. If you have a book on printing, then the print management and graphic arts publications are the trade media you'd seek. For fiction, it's a bit harder. You'll have to figure out which media cater to your genre.

Blogs and social networks are replacing the "traditional" media for book reviews, partially. There are any number of blogs or social networks that will review books they think are of interest to their readers. Go to and look up the blogs in your genre. Identify the top five or ten and start tracking them to see how they handle book reviews.

Blogs and social networks haven't been around too long and are not accepted as a total replacement for magazines and newspapers. It will take time for them to be as widely accepted as newspapers and magazines that have been around for over 100 years.

You specifically ask about Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly. It may be too late to have your book reviewed by these publications. They prefer to review books before they are published, not afterwards.

One final point about the timing of book reviews. Most magazines have long lead cycles; three months or more. Newspaper reviews can be shorter, but they are not instantaneous. Be prepared to send out review copies and then wait. It will take time for the various publications to write and print your review.
Thank you, Bill. You ARE a wealth of information. Yes, I do consider myself lucky to be with my publisher. I've had a 3-year relationship with them and they've bent over backwards for me. I've lost track of how many reviews I've received. Most have been published online at various social networks my publisher contacted that you indicate are replacing the "raditional media." I've collected them and posted them on my website. Fortunately, they've all been great.

In spite of my PR background, I knew nothing about the publishing world until this year. I've been on a mighty big learning curb. :) The next book in the Harper series will be out in late 2008. Now, knowing what I know, I'll be better prepared to set up an even better marketing strategy for it.

Thanks again. You've been a tremendous help!

help me out i have a book on amazon but i am not getting enough sales

Hi Bill, I am having some of the same challenges as other authors. I have been blogging and I have posted on several websites but I have to say I really found some valuable information here today. I am only sorry I did not pay attention sooner. You are really a wealth of information. I also learnt a lot from what Marta Stephens had to say as well.

Sounds like pretty good way to bankrupt yourself to me. Cost to send out each book around $15.00 times 200. You do the math. Maybe I should just boe out gracefully now.
This is very helpful Bill and very concrete. I have to reboot my marketing campaign and this is a good start. Thanks Tod


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