The book marketing secret that doesn’t get said enough

Either your book is its own best marketing, or it’s doomed for the bonfire.

This gets rephrased in polite publishing circles as the importance of “word of mouth” marketing. IE, either people are interested / excited / enthralled by your book and hence tell others who in turn become interested / excited / enthralled by your book in a chain reaction that leads to the nuclear fusion of bestsellerdom…or not.

People write books as a way of communicating specific ideas or telling a particular story. The book IS the marketing vehicle. If the book doesn’t catch any interest, the chances are those ideas or  that story just don’t resonate. Sure a poster campaign, radio interviews, blog tour etc can speed the process along. But if people aren’t interested, they’ll only help them discover that more quickly.

The important marketing decisions all happen long before a book cover is designed or a pages are printed. “Is there a market for this book?” is a question writers themselves have to answer early in the writing process, at least if they intend to earn a living from selling books. The book itself has to do the hard work of reaching that market, and succeed or fail, the book and writer must take full responsibility.

Read why point-of-view matters…but not that much.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.


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