What is Book Marketing?

This post will try and explain what book marketing is

Please do read our post on What is Book Promotion, as book promotion and marketing are interlinked

What is Marketing?

There are lots of convoluted and opaque definitions of marketing. A very simple definition is

  1. Marketing is determining the ‘perfect set of customers’ for a product
  2. Marketing is making these customers aware the product exists
  3. Marketing is reminding a customer of a need the customer has, or creating a need in the customer
    1. Both aspects are important, even though most marketers will try to whitewash things and claim they only cater to existing needs
    2. Very good marketing always includes CREATING A NEED in the customer or MAGNIFYING AN EXISTING NEED in the customer
  4. Marketing is showing the customer that the product being marketed will satisfy these needs (which they have just been reminded of)
  5. Marketing is selling the product to the customer
    1. Critically Important: Marketing has zero value until and unless it leads to SALES (either now or in the future)
  6. Marketing is actually satisfying the needs of the customer
    1. Ideally you want to DELIGHT CUSTOMERS
  7. Marketing is turning the customer into a loyal, repeat customer
  8. Marketing is developing a strong, ongoing relationship with customers
    1. The ideal state is that your customers are delighted and become marketers for your product via word of mouth, reviews, social media, etc
  9. Marketing is creating a competitive advantage over other people selling the same product, via brand loyalty, a better product, a better marketed product, better explanation of the benefits, and better customer satisfaction

You can read more about what marketing is, at the Wikipedia Page for Marketing

Very Important to Keep Marketing SIMPLE

You will notice that Wikipedia use a lot of fancy words, when what they really want to say is

  1. Marketing is showing customers a product exists, that it will meet their needs, and then getting customers to buy the product
  2. Marketing also includes making sure the product meet the customers’ needs and making sure that they become loyal, repeat customers and have a strong relationship with the product and the company

It is absolutely critical to keep Marketing SIMPLE

Both in definition AND in terms of what you do

You should be able to write and explain in One Single Line what the marketing for your product is, and what it achieves for you

The Product itself is Part of Marketing

One very important aspect, which Wikipedia also covers, is that

  1. Having a very good product which SATISFIES CUSTOMER NEEDS is also a part of marketing
  2. Ideally, you want to Delight Customers, and turn them into your External Marketing Team
  3. Remember, customers trust other customers more than they trust any company
    1. Good Reviews and Delighted Customers are your best marketing tool
    2. That can only happen if your product satisfies customer needs

Your product being very high quality is one of the most important parts of Marketing Success

What is Book Marketing?

Book Marketing is the marketing and selling of books

  1. Book Marketing is determining the ‘perfect set of readers’ for your book
  2. Book Marketing is making these readers aware that your book exists
  3. Book Marketing is showing readers that your book will fulfill their reading needs and desires
  4. Book Marketing is selling the book to readers
    1. Your book marketing is useless until and unless it gets the reader to TAKE ACTION and PURCHASE
  5. Book Marketing ALSO INCLUDES actually satisfying the readers’ reading needs and desires
    1. Your book must deliver a GREAT READING EXPERIENCE
    2. Your book must delight readers
    3. It is not enough to just sell, your book must also deliver reading satisfaction
  6. Book Marketing is turning the reader into a loyal, repeat reader who actually buys your others books
  7. Book Marketing is capturing that reader on to your email list and blog or website, so that they can be reached again in the futrure
  8. Book Marketing is developing a strong, ongoing relationship with readers
    1. The ideal state is that your Readers are delighted and become your External Marketing Team
  9. Book Marketing is going from having a good product to having a great product
    1. Yes, Book Marketing must be included in the book writing process
    2. Yes, you have to keep improving your actual product
  10. Book Marketing includes
    1. Improving your product so it satisfies readers even more
    2. Improving your Product Market Fit, so that you write for the right market
    3. Improving the targeting of your marketing, so you ensure you do marketing and promotion to the right market

As you can see, Book Marketing is absolutely critical and touches nearly every thing you do

Book Marketing and the 3 Core Skills

Firstly, these are the 3 Core Skills that every author must master

  1. Knowing What to Write
  2. Writing Very Well
  3. Marketing Very Well

Marketing Very Well is 3rd on the list. However, it is just as important as Creating a Great Product

While Knowing What to Write i.e. picking the right market to write for, is the single most important Core Skill

You will not get any sales, even if you write for the perfect market, until and unless you do very good marketing

The Benefits of Book Marketing stack up as you write more books

You really should read about Customer Lifetime Value

Basically, every customer has a ‘lifetime value’ and you need to figure out what that is for your customers

Perhaps the most important thing about writing books is that the more books you have, the higher your chances of success

  1. The more books you have, the more marketing will benefit you
  2. Your cost for customer acquisition is usually the same whether you have 1 book or 10 books
    1. However, your earnings per customer keep going up, as you add more and more books
    2. PROVIDED you are writing very good books that make readers happy
  3. The more books you have, the more Incoming Channels you have to capture readers
    1. Remember, every book is a marketing channel, which can feed readers to your other books
  4. It is MUCH easier to sell an additional product to an existing customer, than it is to find a brand new customer
  5. An author with 20 books has such a huge advantage over an author with 2 or 3 books, that they are basically competing in completely different leagues

To illustrate just how crazy the difference can be

  1. An author with 2 books might spend $2 per customer acquired, and make $2.21 in customer lifetime value (assuming the two books together make the author $2.21)
    1. That means the author with 2 books makes 21 cents per customer
    2. Please Note: This is an optimistic estimate. Most authors with 2 or 3 books lose money per customer acquired
  2. An author with 20 books might spend $3 per customer acquired, and make $11.32 in customer lifetime value (assuming customers on average buy 7 out of those 20 books)
    1. That means the author with 20 books makes an average of $8.32 per customer

It should be painfully obvious that the author making $8.32 per customer is in a different league from the author making 21 cents per customer

It should be even more obvious that there is Nothing Else you can do, apart from Finding Product Market Fit, which will have as much impact on your chances of success, as writing more books

Book Marketing scales up exponentially (up to a point)


  1. Book Quality is not very high
  2. Product Market Fit is low i.e. author has written for a market that is either not very large, or is not a good fit for the author
  3. Book Marketing is weak

As authors improve each of these factors, the results begin to go from making losses, to breaking even, to tiny profits, to small profits, to decent profits (enough to make a living as a writer), to large profits

As you improve your Book Marketing, your results will scale up exponentially, PROVIDED you also improve Product Market Fit and Quality of the Book

Of course, once you get to decent profits to large profits, then growth will slow down

However, the key thing to keep in mind is that very good Book Marketing can scale up your results exponentially, up to a point such that you start making a comfortable living as a writer

Efficient and Effective Book Marketing can be the difference between

  1. Making Losses, and your day job having to subsidize your book career
  2. Making enough money to be a full time writer

That really is the power of Book Marketing

Key Things Authors should know about Book Marketing

Here are some absolutely essential things to know about Book Marketing

  1. You are 100% responsible for your book marketing
    1. No one else is going to take responsibility BECAUSE it is not someone else’s responsibility
    2. There is no point blaming someone else
    3. You have to take 100% responsibility
    4. You have to figure out what works and what doesn’t
    5. You have to make your book sell
  2. Book Marketing, especially at the beginning, can be more important than the Quality of Your Book
    1. If you write an amazing book, and don’t do marketing – no one will ever know the book exists
    2. If you write a mediocre book, and do excellent marketing – you can still get some book sales
    3. It is absurd that the majority of authors think their job finishes at the point that they write a book and publish it in the store
  3. Book Marketing is not as important as Product Market Fit (writing for the Right Book Market)
    1. However, without Book Marketing, even writing for the perfect market will not lead to success
    2. There is no doubt that the absolute most important thing is to Write for the Right Book Market
    3. It is also unavoidable that you can only benefit from writing for the right market, if you have good book marketing which reaches the readers in that ‘Right Book Market’
  4. Book Marketing is an ongoing thing
    1. You cannot market during book launch and then turn off marketing
    2. You cannot market in spurts
    3. You must have some ongoing marketing methods
  5. Book Marketing is different for every author, and it is different for every book
    1. You have to figure out what book marketing channels work for your books
    2. You also have to tweak and test what works for each individual book

Book Marketing is a pretty complicated thing

People who are creators, tend to think of marketing and sales people as ‘not that important’ or ‘hand waving smooth talking showmen’. The truth is that no product can become a success without good marketing and sales

This is doubly true for books, because there are an absolutely huge number of books being published each year

Book Marketing is Just As Important as The Quality of the Book

These two things are EQUALLY IMPORTANT

  1. How good the Book is
  2. How good the Book Marketing is

Every time you lie to yourself and try to ignore the importance of Book Marketing

The Market will give you a painful reminder that Book Marketing is Just as important as the Quality of the Book

Customer Lifetime Value

Perhaps the biggest shift you will have to make is

  1. Stop thinking of Book Marketing results as – what happens during the x number of days that a particular type of book marketing is being done
  2. Instead think of Book Marketing as – what is the lifetime customer value of the customers I acquire via that book marketing

When you do Book Marketing and acquire a reader i.e. they buy your book

You make money from all their purchases through their ‘lifetime’ of them being your reader/customer

So the Return on Investment of Book Marketing must be based on this ‘Lifetime Customer Value’

Book Marketing is an Ongoing Task

Finally, and painfully, you have to embrace that Book Marketing is an ongoing task

Your Book needs Book Marketing like You need Oxygen

You have to have ongoing book marketing methods, things which keep bringing new readers to your books, and things that keep generating new sales and new paying customers


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