March 7, 2018

Successful authors focus on readers for better results

by Belinda Griffin

I recently ran a survey of 111 authors that revealed the 3 biggest book marketing frustrations are:

  1. Not knowing where to focus time/effort/resources (54%)
  2. Not getting enough exposure (51%)
  3. Getting reader reviews (41%)

Can you relate?

Fortunately, there is just one simple strategy you need to know to overcome all three of these frustrations: Focus on just one thing - your readers, or more specifically, your perfect target readers.

Over a series of three blog posts I’m going to break down the top 3 challenges and lay out actionable steps you can easily take now to start transforming your book marketing and see a dramatic shift in your sales right away.

The truth is, when you begin to focus your marketing on reaching your readers, it opens up space for BIG changes to happen.

Because, it’s all about the readers. Nothing else will work if you don’t have those people clear in your mind.

Let’s get started with the top book marketing challenge, not knowing where to focus time, effort and resources.


Marketing requires real work


For writers with limited time available for marketing, knowing what to spend that time on can be a real challenge.

I totally get it. There is barely time for writing, and you love doing that, so finding time for marketing, which you neither enjoy or know how to do well, can be one massive pain in the backside.

And when you do spend time trying to market your book and you don’t see any result, that can be a huge source of frustration.

Here’s the thing. Marketing requires consistent, sustained effort. You can’t post a social post here and there, or remember to email your list once every couple of months and expect anyone to pay any attention. Everybody is busy - you are busy and so are your readers. If you want their attention, you’re going to have to work for it.

There, I’ve said it. Marketing requires real work.

You know how frustrating it is when you tell someone you’re a writer and they say “Oh, I’d write a book if I had more time,”? And you know that, firstly, writing a book isn’t as easy as everyone thinks it is and, secondly, that if they really wanted to write that book they would be making time for it already. Well, marketing is like that too.


Take time to learn the craft


Marketing isn’t as easy as setting up a blog and posting a few social updates. Well, it can be that easy, but it needs a plan behind it. If you really want it to work, you need to learn the craft and make time to implement it.

Now, the number 1 frustration for authors is not that they have to do marketing, but rather that they don’t know how to do marketing. Where they should focus their time, effort and resources for the greatest impact.

To truly understand these things, an author needs to be prepared to learn the craft, either by learning from someone who knows more about marketing than they do, or by testing, testing, testing.

If you don’t know where to spend time and resources, pick one marketing channel and try it consistently for at least a month and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, try something else. What you can’t do is try something with minimal effort and declare it doesn’t work for you, as you haven’t really tested it properly.

The problem with this strategy is it will take you a long time to test out everything, plus marketing works better when you stack a few tactics on top of each other, so testing one by one can be counter-productive.

So what should you do instead?


Reframe your approach to book marketing


As I said in the intro, concentrate on your readers. This is the number 1 strategy that will help you to overcome the frustration with focus.

Reframe the way you approach your marketing. Instead of thinking ‘where can I yell about my book and hope people will hear me?’ think, ‘where are my readers and how can I reach them?’

Who is your reader? What are they interested in? Where do they hang out? What kind of marketing messages will pique their interest?

I don’t expect you to know the answers to these questions off the top of your head, but if you’re wondering where to focus your energy, start by focusing on reader research.


Action steps


  1. Get to know who your readers are.
  2. Plan marketing activity based on where your readers hang out and what interests them.
  3. Write a reader persona, a short description of your target reader, and keep it close by whenever you’re crafting marketing material.

That’s all for this first post in my overcoming book marketing frustrations series. Subscribe to my mailing list to be among the first to hear when the second post goes live, plus get your free guide: How to get your book noticed with fantastic results.


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