Authors and Marketing Fatigue

by | Jul 19, 2017

By Judith Briles

An email from an author arrived on my desk Monday morning … an email that echoed countless emails, phone calls and in-person chats with authors. My emailer didn’t want to put any moneys into marketing his book.

Now, this was my first contact from him. I didn’t know if he had already spent a boatload of moneys or hadn’t spent a dime. What I did hear was that he was ready to pull the marketing plug … and let his book go down the drain. I called him and what I heard is what I’ve heard more times from authors: I hate marketing … I just want to write. And he told he that he was working on his next book. In fact, he shared that he hired an editor to convert his first book—the only book—the one that he didn’t want to market—into a women friendly version.

Hmmm … he has the money to pay a content editor to transform his book into another version; yet he doesn’t want to invest in his first book to create sales. Does any of this sound familiar? Could you be an unfit book parent?

Let’s face it. If you want book sales, you need to market.

Book marketing takes work. Lots of it.

Authors sometimes don’t want to hear what works in creating a successful book marketing campaign—campaigns that include the creation, the marketing and the sales of a book … they would rather keep doing the same thing … the thing that has produced no results. Which is usually sitting on their tush.

Or if they did try “something” and it didn’t work, that they then choose to sit on their tush because nothing else will work.

Or, if they had cost overruns in creating the book (and just who is responsible for that? —yes, dear author—it just might be you), they refuse to do anything to support/market their book once they have all those books sitting in the garage.

Stop the Insanity … And please, pass me the barf bag so I can continue …

Okay … you are thinking … Don’t barf … I’m open to marketing. But I don’t know where to start.

Start with the What’s next question? Of course, the answer to What’s next? has to be marketing and selling of it.

  • What’s next is educating yourself—learning what other authors are doing that works …and doesn’t. Following the best-selling authors and top influencers in their blogs and social media and studying what they do and mimic where appropriate.
  • What’s next could be getting help. Virtual assistants have become the right hands, eyes and fingers of many authors. I’ve done several podcasts via my radio show, AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing. Click on this link to download a podcast about working with a VA.
  • What’s next is to stop rationalizing, making excuses and justifying why you can’t market it. My belief is, “Yes you can.”
  • What’s next is connecting with others—it’s a huge shout out time. Anywhere … everywhere.
  • What’s next is telling the world:
    • in person
    • with your connections
    • with groups that you belong to
    • with creating a press release and doing a push with it; so using the town hall of marketing: social media
  • What’s next is for you, dear author, to commit—recommit—to your book and yourself.

But …

I’m tired. So … we all are. The creation of a book can lead to Book Fatigue Syndrome—I get it, you need a rest. Take a week or two off … but then, it’s back to work.

I’ve already committed so much money, I can’t put another penny on my credit card … What were you thinking in the first place—that if you just held a copy of your finished book that the world would flock to the stores, the Internet, your website, your front door, you, to get a copy? Get over it—you need expert marketing help … starting right now.

I just want to write … This is so yesteryear. No author gets to do the ostrich bit these days. Part of authoring is connecting with potential and ongoing book buyers. It means marketing, marketing, and more marketing.

I hired the wrong person … Yep, it happens. We all have at some point, including me. Lick your wounds—determine what went wrong in the process—then get back to work.

I don’t know how to do all this social media stuff… Welcome to the crowd … but there are those out there that do … and guess what—they are part of the book marketing campaign—your book marketing campaign. Your book budget.

Yes there is marketing overwhelm—so much to do in what seems so little time. Yet marketing is stretched over a period. Can you get author and book marketing fatigue? Of course. Wise authors work in projects, get help where they need it and get that it’s not an all or nothing basis. Effective marketing can be in nibbles. What needs to be consistent is a plan behind it.

Too, too many authors abandon the book ship early in the process. And what do they do? One of two things:

  1. Many start another book—maybe a variation of what they just did. And what will happen when they finish? Most likely, desertion.
  2. Others walk away … MIBA … missing in book action, abandoning mega hours of blood, sweat and tears and what could be a great book—desired and needed.

In effect, you’ve become an unfit author/parent. What are you thinking? Stop the insanity. Today. Now.
Photo: Pixabay

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

    Succinctly stated. It’s tough love but we gotta do what we need to do.

    • Judith Briles

      Hi Jacqueline … yes we do … if we want to dig and expand the roots needed for ongoing success. Judith

  2. Sally cronin

    I have been an Indie author for nearly 20 years.. It was really tough back then without the Internet and social media and let’s face it a lot less titles being released each week. I was lucky and worked in the media at the time and that gave me some exposure. However, four years after a break for work I began building a platform online. Not just for my books for but other indie authors. It has been hard work and taken time especially as in that time I have published five books with two more in progress. However, apart from building that platform, and using it to showcase other authors, it has evolved into a community that supports and reciprocates promotion. I visit a great many author websites and the most successful are those that do not focus entirely on their own promotion but collaborate with others. I have developed a number of strategies for my own book launches. For example, I do not recommend blog book tours with an identical post appearing every few days, as it eventually becomes spam and people stop responding. A more effective way is to guest post, on other blogs or sites, with unique content about the story line or the characters etc, over a period of twelve weeks, with one post appearing per week. That prevents the initial bubble bursting after a couple of weeks and extends the promotional period. Finally, this is my job.. the specification for an Indie author is that your role includes sales and marketing. I am afraid unless you are one of the few to making a huge amount of money from this job… it is down to you. Love it or leave it. My other beef is that authors seem to think that if you offer FREE book promotion that it is not worth their time and effort. This week one of my new authors received over 150 views and counting and she took full advantage of my social media contacts who shared her post over 50 times. Sorry to ramble on but I do feel passionately that all aspects of this career we have chosen should be emraced.

    • Lucinda E Clarke

      I so agree with you Sally – and what Judith says is so true. Sometimes I think I’m swimming round and round in a goldfish bowl connecting again and again with the same people and not breaking out into the large fish tank. As for free, I wrote a short to give away for free and that has been amazingly successful, but not leading to sales. I’m not going to give up, but fear there may not be enough years left to make an impact :) Two marketers have turned me down as they had no further suggestions as to what I could do to get the word out there!!

      • Judith Briles

        Hello Lucinda–if the short is on your website as an opt in piece, then you are gathering names and emails. Crucial for email marketing. Fans are building. Sales will come, as well as support for other projects. Provide info and content–it’s all part of the process. Judith

    • Judithj Briles

      Hello Sally … I’ll “beef” along with you. Collaboration is a crucial key. Judith

  3. Dainis

    We live in new times and I totally agree that it’s way easier to be a writer these days and published one (look at the Amazon opportunities!) that it was 20+ years ago, yet this status comes with great responsibilities – people expect so much more from the writers! I think there should be a clear warning for everyone dreaming to become a writer – that introversion will have to stick up and talk to people, give readings, connect and more!
    And besides – it’s not like marketing tools are still ancient, they have developed too! And mostly they have customer-oriented products. Like for example – you have to have email lists and newsletters, but to think of hard work putting into the content creation and having it look good? Well.. there is an answer to that and it’s called email marketing services! (Just to put it out there, my favorite is Mailerlite –, but don’t take just my word for it, try it!) So there’s almost everywhere and for every topic modern take or solution! If it takes too much efforts or struggle to come up with ideas – get an agency to help you with! Or even graduate of communications might work for you! Go out there and face this new techy world and bring your book along the ride!

    • Judith Briles

      Thanks Dainis for your adds here. I’m not familiar with Mailerlite, but I’ll check it out. The bottom line, get help–authors can’t do it all. I do a lot. I know a lot. And, I still get help. Judith

  4. Meredith Bond

    Yeah, telling me to stop whining and get back to marketing doesn’t really help. I’ve done ads on Bookbub, FB, smaller book blogs and even Amazon’a new ad service. I’ve done it all and still my sales drop a few days after every campaign. I want something that I can set and forget while I get back to writing my next book.

    • Matt Aird

      Hi Meredith,

      To develop a marketing system that is “set and forget” requires a lot of work. There isn’t a quick fix or a single tactic that will achieve that for you. You need to develop an entire system and even then you can’t ignore it completely. This is certainly one of the challenges that comes with self-publishing but it isn’t one that is insurmountable. Establishing an author platform is key to setting the foundation of this system.

    • Judith Briles

      I’ll add an “Amen” to what Matt wrote Meredith. The reality is, that many of the “ads” don’t work well. Often, they are poorly done; don’t have the right target words; multiple posts/redos to them. If you were green-lighted on BookBub in your submission and didn’t get hits, I’m surprised. The AMS click through has been quite effective for most of my authors–the other AMS services not so.

      Building an email list that supports your Fans is essential.

      • Merry Bond

        Thanks to both Matt and Judith. I managed to sell thousands of copies during and for the week following a BookBub add. The problem is that it doesn’t last.
        And, I don’t mind the work involved in creating a “set and forget” system, I just don’t know how to do it. I’ve heard from many that Facebook ads are the way to go, but if you know of any others I would love to hear it! Thanks!!

        • Matt Aird

          It might be a difficult task to outline all of the components of a complete system in the comment section of this post.

          As you mentioned Facebook ads can act as a component of the system (especially good for attracting email subscribers) you then need to think about how the following all play a part and how you can automate it as much as possible:
          -Email automation campaigns (still need to write them)
          -Social media engagement
          -Connecting with Influencers
          -Pricing strategy
          -Amazon author and book page set up
          -Wide or exclusive distribution

          The list goes on.

          What are your thoughts, Judith? I don’t mean to hijack your post =) It’s just something I’m extremely passionate about.

          • Judith Briles

            Matt–adding to the conversation isn’t hijacking. It’s an asset for all. Authors have got to get it from the get-go that marketing MUST be in the mix. I was in St. Louis last weekend presenting a 4-hour Jedi Book Marketing workshop for the St. Louis Publishers Assn. Was it, I, an overwhelm for many? Yes, indeed. But I opened their eyes. Delivered what I promised and identified a boatload of avenues for them to go down. And, I told them that I’m blunt. Getting permission to use many authors in the books as examples of “yeses” and “OMG, what were you thinking?” … all saw what I saw as a “buyer of books” … and starting thinking in a different way.

            If one is to be an author, know that you must transition from the CWO–chief writing officer to the CMO–chief marketing officer.

  5. Ann R

    Hi, Judith,
    Thank you so much for this article. It said just the right things, arrived at just the right time, and I needed it a lot!

    • Judith Briles

      Ooh Ann, don’t you love it when a door opens and you are ready? Great! And, here’s to you and your book. Judith

  6. Michael N. Marcus

    A parallel:

    I went to Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA in the late 60s, during the Viet Nam War. I sometimes had meals at the lunch counter of a drugstore near my rented room when I was a sophomore.

    People often didn’t know what to make of me: an apparently healthy young man who was neither at war nor working at the steel mill. I explained that going to college was like having a full-time job doing homework and a part-time job going to classes.

    Being an author is like having a full-time job marketing and a part-time job writing.

    • Judith

      You get it Michael. It is a job. First, thank you fir your service. And second, glad you are sharing the author space. Congrats on your book. Judith

  7. Matt Aird

    Great article Judith. Many authors don’t realize you can generate massive exposure these days without an equally massive budget. Authors need to learn how to leverage other peoples audiences effectively especially in the early days. This includes working with influencers through social media, blogs and podcasts. What comes next is learning to turn this exposure into long lasting traction. Maybe a discussion for another day?
    Keep up the good work!

    • Judith

      I’m with you Matt. There is so much “free” ways to market and promo today–all at your fingertips without trooping all over the country that author tours did. It’s work, it means social media and embracing that a book is a product fir certain people–rarely everyone. Finding them is the key; than
      connecting. And yes, another blog, another day.

      I’m in St Louis this Sat AM doing an intensive Book Marketing Workshop for 70+ authors covering all of this. I know it will be an overwhelm–it always is in the beginning. Judith

  8. Travis Chapman

    Thanks Judith. I’m in the trenches with a book 2 launch, and feeling the overwhelm. I needed the peptalk today. Time to hunker down and get cracking. Resilience feels so far away, but I know “Future Travis” will be happy knowing I stuck it out!

    • Judith Briles

      Book marketing is “get cracking” time for sure Travis. All of us need to ask ourselves, “What were we thinking …” after that book is in hand and the new wave of overwhelm hits–what do I do; which do I do first; where do I get help; do I need help; who do I know … etc. Wishing you a successful launch that leads to unstoppable momentum! Judith

  9. Linda Austin

    Good tough-love article, Judith – sharing. Looking forward to your workshop in St. Louis.

    • Judith Briles

      Hello Linda … kind of where my “butt kicking” reputation comes from. AND YES. St Louis, here I come this Saturday. You will get three hours of tips, tricks and strategies during it. It’s hot outside–saw the temp would be at least 102, but what the heck 70+ of us are going to be sizzling inside! Judith

  10. Jan Sikes

    Author Fatigue is becoming a common affliction among Indie Authors. Great post, Don.

    • Judith

      Thanks Jan. But who is Don?



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