≡ Menu

Should I Barrow Money To Market My Book? In Short – No!

Books for freelance writersDear Anne,
My book is currently in the design phase and now they are contacting me for marketing.

I had only planned on writing the book for my daughter, but my friends thought it would be a book that many can use, so they talked me into getting it published.

Needless to say I was shocked at how much marketing can cost. What do you suggest I do to obtain the funds to market it, since I didn’t save for this? Obtain a credit card with value of matching miles for travel, hotel, etc., or find an investor or personal line of credit with a bank?

Thank you in advance for your advice!

Michele (in comments)

Hi Michele,

Congratulations on getting a book written – lots of hard work.

You don’t say how it’s published. But in a way it doesn’t matter. If you scored a trade publisher, you may have gotten a small advance. If, as I suspect, you self-published, all the marketing is on you.

I’m going to suggest you don’t spend a nickel on marketing, at least not until you buy and study two books – well darn, I’ve already got you spending money. The two books are:

  • The Well-Fed Self-Publisher by Peter Bowerman – I’ve reviewed it.
  • John Kremmer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. I’ve reviewed it too. (The cost of the two through Amazon is about $33 + shipping.)

Now, take time to study those books and figure out not just what you need to do, but what you’re willing to do.

DO NOT please, get a credit card and run up a bunch of expense to market – the truth is you’re unlikely to get it back unless you develop a plan. If your self-publishing company is pressuring you to buy a marketing package, don’t! Please don’t. They’re track record is awful when it comes to marketing. Don’t hire a book marketer, at least not until you understand how the business works, and you don’t yet.

Understanding how the business works, and those two books are better than a university course, will make you much more effective than if you don’t. Only after you’ve studied those books and perhaps found a publishing organization like the Independent Book Publishers Association and learned about the long tail of marketing and read Two Helpful Posts on Self-Publishing.

Stay in touch with your original goal – it’s a good one. Approach marketing slowly and thoughtfully and without debt. You’ll be glad you did, I promise.


Who else has experience with book marketing they’d like to share?


Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • You’ve not told us very much about your project, which makes it difficult to comment except in generalities. You’ve got us shooting in the dark: Who is printing your book? Is it in the hands of a vanity press? What is the book about? Is it fiction or non-fiction? What is the topic? Your friends who talked you into publishing the book–are they people who have experience in publishing? Or are they friends who are just saying “I love you.” Has the book been workshopped? Has it been read by anyone with professional experience? The fact that you’ve told us virtually nothing about your book is in itself revealing. Don’t be rushed into anything. Take a step back and review the project in the light of the books Anne recommended. If you haven’t already, find a local workshop and run the m/s past the members in small chunks. Don’t panic.
    jorgekafkazar recently posted..Watcher in the Night decipheredMy Profile

  • Michele

    I actually have a wordpress blog, but haven’t updated it in a while. I also have an account on twitter, facebook, linked in and Shelfari. I will be searching for other social media sites and signing up for them as well. Will keep you posted on my progress. I am in truly grateful for all of your assistance! The books are ordered from Amazon and I should receive them tomorrow. You are truly a God send to me!

    • Another thing I should have said… before you spend any money with anyone insist on references and check with them. Also google the person who is trying to upsell you.

  • Michele

    After thinking about this conversation last night, I believe I need to clarify something. The marketing consultant explained to me that there is a difference between marketing and a publicity campaign or publicist. The “big” money they are requesting is for a publicity campaign/publicist . I’m still going to get the books recommended and put a halt to things until I can get a good understanding of the business. At this point, I am going to go ahead with the website and the social media accounts, as I feel that they are my first line of communication for the book and are not costly.

    • Michele, yes I suppose that’s accurate as far as it goes. While you may want to pay someone to set up a website, and I strongly recommend you insist on a wordpress blog even if you aren’t planning to blog – it will make it so much easier to update, you don’t need to hire anyone to set up social media accounts for you… just go to twitter, facebook and linkedin and signup… they are fairly intuitive and there’s plenty of info out there on the web to learn how to use them. Your website should be your name – like mine: http://www.annewayman.com – no dashes or anything strange. Could also be the title of your book. Social media you probably want in your name… you’re your own brand as it were.

  • Your headline conjured up visions of taking a wheelbarrow of money down the street to a publisher’s!

    But typos aside, I totally concur. There’s so much you can do on a shoestring to market your writing nowadays, I’d be wary of any situation where you’re asked to pay big for ‘marketing.’
    Carol Tice recently posted..How to Earn Well as a Freelance Writer–When English is Your Second LanguageMy Profile

  • Michele

    Thank you so much for the advice. I will definitely be getting those two books and studying them carefully. I am feeling a bit pressured, so this will help a lot. I am self-publishing as you suspected. The whole experience so far has been a really good one, so I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun by going deep into debt! Thank you again!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »