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Book Marketing Is a Numbers Game

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on May 26, 2015 5:29:12 AM

After years of referring to herself as a "professional dater," a good friend of mine finally tied the knot last summer. She was, of course, joking about her title, but in a way it was true! She was determined to find the right match for herself, so she dated and dated and dated until she found him. To her, meeting the one was essentially a numbers game, and she was right. She played it until she got what she wanted.


Book marketing, like sales - and dating - is also a numbers game. If you go into it thinking you're going to strike gold right out of the gate, you're bound to be disappointed.


I once met an indie author who had targeted five key people who were in a position to help him spread the word about his book. He had contacted them all and had heard back from two or three of them but was distraught that since then, they hadn't been as responsive as he'd hoped. He was at a loss for what to do, believing his marketing had been a failure.


My advice to him (and to any author reading this post) was twofold:


1)  Contacting five people is not enough. You should be contacting hundreds of people.

2)  If someone expresses interest in your book and then disappears, you need to follow up! People are busy, and it's not their job to help you promote your book. It's your job to make it easy for them to help you. No one is going to fault you for being too organized.


Book marketing takes time and effort, and I know how demoralizing it can be when you feel like you're not making any progress. The key is to be persistent - and consistent. You have to cast a wide net if you want to catch a few fish, so don't give up!


-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at


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8,159 Views Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writers

May 27, 2015 2:44 PM spazenport    says:

This is a great post that illustrates a fundamental rule about being an author that a lot of people still don't get. Being an author means that you're in sales.

I work with Iowa Authors to help them bridge the gap between their works and their audience, and a lot of what I do is teaching them basic sales. It's an unfortunate truth that just because you know how to make a book doesn't mean that you know how to sell a book.


While this post is great at illustrating that we need to be out there pounding the pavement, is there any sort of post or documentation on where we can start hitting that pavement? The indie author you met who had 5 contacts in key positions to help him spread the word: What kind of positions were those? Bloggers, Radio, TV? You've loaded the gun, can you help us to aim it as well?


A key strategy that I use is searching through Goodreads (which is painstakingly slow) for bloggers open to reviews or interviews. Because of how slow that process is, it'd be nice to know if there was a list somewhere of people or types of people that we should be focusing our numbers game on.


Or would you consider the topic to be too broad given the audience of many genre authors?


Once again, thank you for a great post.

Jun 15, 2015 11:36 AM nanba    says:

This blog appeared in the CreateSpace email newsletter, and it was the one link I clicked, as I am interested in learning more about book marketing. But there is absolutely no substance here - you taught nothing. What a waste of my time. I cannot believe CreateSpace shared this. If this is their standard, I will unsubscribe from their newsletter.


When you're a writer, publishing means contributing new, useful content, not just filler. No wonder self-publishing is stigmatized as amateur material! Thanks to the commenter who posted before me, who provided far more specific information than the author of the post, and apparently is more qualified to blog about this topic.

Jun 15, 2015 3:49 PM invisibleauthor    says in response to nanba:

You got that right!

Jun 16, 2015 10:19 AM RamblingRon    says:

I think it was unfair to criticize the bloger's post. This was not a treatise on marketing, it was an insightful common sense comment.  Some times getting back to the basics is what it takes to get the ball rolling again.  That is the beauty of the the indi format. There are are so many skilled individuals out there who can add to the topic.  I'm grateful to those who get the discussion going and to those who are willing to add their help to a great cause of helping each other improve which can only make the self publishing industry even better. Thank you. Please try to be fair and kind; one blog does not the total impression make for the entire industry. Nor for myself. Sincerely, RamblingRon

Jun 16, 2015 4:53 PM spazenport    says in response to nanba:

Thank you! If you happen to know anyone at Amazon who's looking to hire someone in the trenches of self-publishing, I am definitely available to start working immediately!


I found this post via the Writer's Circle on Facebook, and I feel as though a lot of the blog posts on the Createspace pages have started lending themselves towards filler instead of useful information.

It goes without saying that we need useful information in regards to marketing. None of us should feel as though we've hit any sort of self-publishing ceiling, and the above blog post makes us feel that way. Telling us what we should do, without telling us how to do it is belittling.

Thanks again,


Jun 16, 2015 4:59 PM spazenport    says in response to RamblingRon:

This blog post is under the heading of "Resources." That's misleading. This post doesn't offer anything that could be considered a resource. It tells us to hit the pavement and connect with hundreds of people, but it doesn't provide a tool or path for that.


That's why we're upset about this article.

The blog post is well written, and as I said in my article, it does much to remind us that this is a numbers game, but placing it under the heading of Resources leaves anyone who reads it without any sort of aid.


It's a great reminder, but not the best post for this category.


These questions I would love answered:

1) What are the best methods (non-spam) for reaching hundreds of people about my novel? (Both paid and free)

2) What types of people should I be reaching out to? What position do the aforementioned 5 hold?

3) How do you follow up with someone who has expressed interest in your book and disappeared?

4)If people don't want to answer your emails, posts, PM's, or phone calls, what other means are available to try?

Answering at least one of these questions, deeply and fully, would have made this post accurate under the heading of Resources.

Jun 16, 2015 5:20 PM rkrusee    says:

Thanks for the tip! I enjoy writing, not necessarily the marketing side.

Jun 16, 2015 9:33 PM invisibleauthor    says in response to spazenport:

You are right, spazenport: the vague articles from createspace (and Kindle) belittle authors. I have become increasingly disturbed by posts and author interviews that give either no real advice or bad advice that leads authors to waste huge amounts of time barking up the wrong tree (or running up the wrong tree, as Poirot might say). I read the createspace newsletters only because of a perverse curiosity that makes me want to see what kind of weirdness they're putting out in the current issue. After a year or so of reading their offerings, I have seen nothing that would help me.


In your second comment, you asked about paid and free ways to gain exposure. Some authors have said they had great experiences with BookBub. I can't afford to try it, but, well; there it is. You can look into it if you like. Some authors have had no results from Bookbub while others gained a lot of exposure.

Jun 17, 2015 9:28 AM RamblingRon    says in response to spazenport:

Thank you for clarifying for me why this blog post was so upsetting. I'm sorry for not catching that part of the issue.  I was just picking up on the criticism of self publishing; the hand that feeds some of us. I hope your well founded comments will kick things up a notch.  So far my experience with CS and Kindle has been a great one.  I can imagine the frustration when issues arise, but I still think they are truly trying to improve so I'm trying to be patient and get my help by your comments to the blogs.  I suppose it should be the other way around.  Yet I hope we can still help each other in the process of growing this industry so we will all bennefit in the long run when it surpasses the normal avenues for getting our creativity discovered. Good luck to you all. RamblingRon

Dec 29, 2017 3:42 AM jiya123    says:

Book marketing has become common nowadays. After publishing the book, the main motive of the publishers is to market their books as quickly as possible. Use different marketing techniques and try to market a good number of products for sale. directv

Mar 16, 2018 8:10 PM kizi    says in response to rkrusee:

I think that if you highlighted the 2048 kizi numbers games on pascal's triangle  you would only get primes on the sides, just to the right (or the left  if you're on the other side) of the 1's. Am I right?

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Apr 27, 2018 2:31 AM ovita    says:

What is book marketing as I am heard o this for the first time? What is the advantage of doing the same? I need more explanation. Hope I can apply this to promote my business.

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