Writers ask me all the time, what do I need to do to sell more books? What they are really asking is what is the magic easy button I need to hit to launch my book straight to the New York Times Bestsellers list. While I'd love to lean down, whisper in their ear and be henceforth known as the magic marketing guru, I can't. Because their isn't an easy answer. In fact, there aren't even any hard answer. Because marketing isn't universal.
Here are just a few different contradictions I've found recently that are enough to send any writer into a coffee coma.
Some author swear by Amazon KDP select. It's the opportunity to post your book for free and be a part of the Prime borrowers money pool. Others will tell you that there's no advantage to KDP and you're best off getting your book in front of as many readers as possible, including those who don't shop at Amazon.
Frontal assault vs. Gorilla marketing
One tactic is to get all your fireworks lined up and fire everything in one quick blast to get your book pushed to the top of everything at launch. Set your book tour, your reviews, your media blitz, and interviews to release all at the same time. Another tactic is to spread your launch out over several weeks. Set off a few fireworks a day and draw a steady stream of readers to your book.
30 Day deadline vs. Ebooks last forever
Some authors will tell you that if you can't get your book to sell well in the first 30 days you've already lost the game. After that point, your book will be swept under the tidal wave of the thousand other books to be released that month. And then another author will tell you it took them 3 years before their book finally found traction and that's the beauty of an Ebook. No one ever takes your book off the shelf.
Tours are essential vs. Tours are a waste
This one is apparently a real hot button, with authors on one side of the fence claiming their book would be nothing without all the amazing reviewers who were a part of their blog tour. And on the other side of the fence, authors will tell you that a blog tour didn't do squat to increase their sales and was a complete and total waste of time and energy.
With so many contradiction, how is anyone supposed to know what path to take when it's time to promote a new book. You could spend all day reading blog posts, Writer's Digest articles and interviewing authors. And at the end of the day, you'll come up with 20 different, and useful ideas that all contradict each other.
The hardest part about marketing is that you can't market two books the exact same way and expect the same results. Every single book will need something just a little different. Based on genre, theme, author platform, author comfort level, time of year, the current market, other books with the same release, and past marketing campaigns. All of those variables and more play a part in sculpting the perfect marketing campaign for your book.
So why even bother?
Don't give up yet. I didn't say you can't find a successful marketing tactic. Just that you can't copy what someone else did. Research the success of authors and, by all means, learn from where they fell or flew. But know that even if you duplicate an exact copy of their campaign, you can't recreate their path. The universal truth of marketing is that everyone has to create their own universal truth.