A Really Silly Self-Published Marketing Question


There are certain things that happen in the writing world that are just ridiculous. And, unfortunately, there are certain people in the writing world who fit into that category too.

Like the person who posted the following question on Quora:

What are book promotion strategies that actually work? I don’t believe in mailing lists, paid ads, author platforms, bribed reviewers, and guest posting. What is something that actually embeds your book (not your name) in history like Harry Potter?

Assuming this individual is a self-published author, he’s living in La La Land for even asking that question.

I'll give him this much: He’s not wrong for refusing to put too much stock in mailing lists. Most people are oversubscribed and don’t actually open emails anymore. They just delete them.

For that matter, the average author platform is only going to do so well for the same exact reason: The internet is already saturated with such things. So gaining hundreds of thousands of followers – Harry Potter-style – on your own is going to be very close to impossible.

But gaining hundreds of followers on your own? That’s achievable.

Similarly, paid ads can actually work – if you know how and where to run them. And as for bribed reviewers, I’ve never done that myself, but Amazon is full of fake reviews for a reason. People trust other users more than sellers, so they’re much more likely to pick up a book if it has four- to five-star ratings from other supposed readers than if it has nothing at all.

Put simply, getting good reviews is worthwhile; and there are ways to get them ethically.

Besides, how else is a self-published author going to operate? Through magic? Is that what this Quora questioner is asking for?

Sorry, but that’s not how it works, baby boy. Unless you already have fame and fortune, you’re going to have put out some significant time and money in order to get noticed. As in more than you already have.

And even then, you’re not going to get anywhere close to Harry Potter without an absolute miracle on your side.

Harry Potter got famous because Harry Potter was traditionally published by a big-name publisher with big-name publisher pockets and resources, including paid publicists. These are people whose whole job is to call the right contacts and connect the right dots.

They’re professionals who run in all the right circles. And they’re the reason why Harry Potter is embedded in history.

For the record, that’s no offense to J.K. Rowling. Nor is it meant offensively to anyone else. It’s just that you can be the next Shakespeare or Emily Bronte or Dr. Seuss – but you still need someone or some way to get the word out about your work.

The more money and resources you have to put behind getting that word out, the more successful you’re bound to be.

That’s just the way the writing world works.

You can try to fight it with a million-to-one chance of succeeding. Or you can try to work with it and see how far you can go.

It’s completely up to you.

Either way, in all seriousness, here’s wishing you and your book the best.

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