The “copycat” marketing culture that’s brought book sales to a screeching halt

(and what a few indie authors are doing to buck the trends & create unlikely success)

Written by Carissa Magras

Published: June 10, 2019 | Last Updated: June 17, 2019

Every day I meet authors who have spent the last 5 to 8 years, spending an average of 20 hours per week, doing #AllTheThings in an attempt to market their books and grow their platform, with only a few thousand email subscribers to show for it all (and that’s if they’re lucky).


Most of these authors are at the end of their rope, ready to throw away this career they’ve worked tirelessly for, because they don’t think there’s any hope left. After all, they’ve done everything the marketing gurus have recommended: blogging, podcasting, promo sites, email newsletters, giveaways, social media posts, paid ads, guest posting… (and the list goes on).


The problem isn’t that they aren’t good enough or don’t have what it takes (even though that’s how they feel). The problem is that this “one-size-fits-all” marketing advice doesn’t grow a raving audience, much less sell books.


You know because you’ve tried it all (and trust me, you aren’t the only one who’s not getting results!).


The truth is these tactics actually stopped working a longggg time ago.


And the gurus know it…


Popular online courses (like those on blogging, building your platform, and growing an email list) from the top influencers in the world, only have a 1% student success rate – and even those people had a lot of assets already working in their favor to make that success happen.


When asked behind closed doors why they keep selling these courses if so few people actually achieve the desired result, the majority of them answer along the lines of: “It’s my job to provide the information, and it’s the student’s job to take action and do the work.”


But where does this leave authors who have truly put in the work and it still isn’t working?!


If authors don’t solve the “marketing puzzle”, their books will never get into the hands of the people who need it and want it most. Which means all their time, stress, and tears spent, will have been for nothing. Leaving most writers haunted by a dream that just won’t die, and feeling like a failure for the rest of their lives.


Writers require a large audience of actual real-life fans no matter what genre and publishing route they go down. The #1 reason traditional publishing houses reject manuscripts isn’t because of the writing; it’s because the author doesn’t have at least 10,000 email subscribers of raving fans ready to buy the book when it releases. And hybrid/indie authors equally need a large audience in order to successfully launch book after book.

Authors require readers. Without them, reaching book goals is practically impossible.


But if everyone is using the same strategies and everyone’s marketing is getting louder and louder, then eventually only the rare few will actually be heard.


And that’s exactly what is happening and why no one starting out in the last few (or even 5) years can hardly get any traction.


Book marketing as we know it has stopped working for the majority of authors.


Marketing experts have been able to get away with still selling courses on their flash-in-the-pan tactics that worked for a few months or years because (at one point) they were new and novel in the very early days of the internet. But these “sales-y” tactics are not based on the ways people actually buy books. And book-buyers are no longer responding because they’ve become immune and tuned these tactics out.


The gurus will tell you that you just need more Instagram followers, better blog post headlines, or a more complicated marketing strategy.


But the authors who are seeing CRAZY platform growth are doing the exact opposite.


They’re flipping the script…and paying attention to how readers actually want to buy books.

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