Marketing 101: How NOT to Promote Your Novel


So, you’ve completed your first novel. Now what? Publish it, duh. Did you really spend three years and countless hours creating this thing just to keep it to yourself. No. You want to share it and hopefully make a little money as well.

So, how do you promote a new novel? Do you spam your followers on social media? Pay for expensive ads? Write the title of your novel in the sky?

Not unless you want to turn off readers. Of course you don’t.

Here is a list of things NOT to do when promoting your book:

1. Tweet ads and links to your novel incessantly (on the hour every hour). Author platforms are for building communities and for sharing content, not for spamming.

2. Redirect every conversation (on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, ect.) to your novel. Interaction with other bloggers and writers should be genuine, otherwise you will lose credibility and followers.

3. Slam another author’s work to build yours up. Reviews are meant to inform readers whether or not that particular novel is worth reading. They don’t care how your novel is better or how you might have written it better. In fact, you might invite negative feedback in retaliation.

4. Misuse unrelated platforms to promote your novel. Are you the coordinator of a non-profit organization or do you host a Website about the many varieties of cheese? Even if these platforms have a large following, it won’t be worth your time (or theirs) for you to advertise your novel here.

5. Send out a mass newsletter or email to unsuspecting recipients. Because everyone enjoys getting junk mail. Right? Instead, focus your advertising efforts on your target audience. It might be fewer people, but at least you might make a few sales.

I’ve provided a video to illustrate these points. In the video, failed author Peter K. Rosenthal provides critique on Peter Jackson’s latest film while simultaneously promoting his own work . . . which is a blatant copy. In his review, he slams Tolkien’s story and world building, suggesting the audience might prefer his. He even goes as far as dressing up as one of his characters. Obviously, this is not an example of good marketing. Enjoy!



19 thoughts on “Marketing 101: How NOT to Promote Your Novel

  1. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    My first novel took me 20 years to complete — and I’m not kidding! (Actual time, perhaps four years.) But that’s only the writing part…how do you spread the word that your opus is finally ready for the eyes of the world? This was my challenge when I decided to self-publish (rather than continue with my literary agency)…I made a ton of mistakes and the beat goes on. It is articles like this that can really help…thank you Lit Chic and Chris!

  2. You’ve got to love the Onion. That video is awesome! Really good points you made, especially the incessant tweeting. Part of me wonders whether it works because so many authors seem to do it, but then it could just be a few authors doing it many, many times.

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