Reasons your books isn't selling: Getting too big for your britches

Welcome back to Reasons your book isn't selling, where every Wednesday I discuss common mistakes I see authors make that are hurting their book sales. Last time I talked about failure to toot your own horn. 

Today's reason your book isn't selling: Getting too big for your britches.

There are a ton of really amazing promotional ideas out there, but they are not all created equal and they just won't work for everyone.

I'm a big fan of borrowing promotional ideas from other authors. And because readers never stop at one book, it's okay to use tactics that have worked well for others. But this can get newer authors into a lot of trouble.

For example, let's say you see big name author run a trailer promotion. Fans can make trailers for an upcoming release and enter to win a big prize. You've got another book coming out and think this sounds like a great idea. But if you don't have the readership of big name author, don't be surprised if your entries are seriously lacking.

Because promotions and contests that ask your readers to do too much are likely to flop unless you've laid the groundwork to establish a large and loyal readership.

There's nothing wrong with running a fanfic promotion or asking readers to create Pinterest boards, these are great ideas and can go a long way to engaging your readers and creating advertising. But before you decide to leap on one of these ideas you need to ask yourself if you're asking for too much.

Not sure?

Do a trial run with a much simpler contest and see how it goes. If you can't get a good number of readers to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway or to comment on a post for a prize, you are not going to get them to enter a contest that requires more effort than clicking a button.

And that's okay. You don't have to rush to do all the big ideas. But Sarah, I hear you say from the back corner, what if Pinterest and YouTube are obsolete by the time I have a big enough readership for this to work. No worries, my little ducklings. Social media isn't going anywhere. I'm sure it will look different in another five years and YouTube could be as barren as MySpace. But I promise that something else, bigger and better will have sprung up to replace it.

So don't force your readership to be more than it is. Use more basic and time-tested marketing methods to cultivate a loyal readership while you establish yourself as an author, then go crazy when the time is right.