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5 Book Marketing Mistakes Writers Make

All About Book Marketing

Book marketing isn’t always easy, especially when you’re trying to shop a book to people who’ve never heard of you before. Making mistakes is part of the process, but there are simple ones that you can avoid.

1) Creating Covers That Don’t Suit Their Genre

This might not seem like a book marketing mistake, but it definitely is … Readers do judge books by their covers, but maybe not in exactly the way you think.

What readers want differs from genre to genre. They have expectations of how a book cover should look. They’ll purchase books –assuming the description is intriguing and the ‘look inside’ draws them in–based on this.

How to Fix It:

Research the bestselling books in your genre. So, for instance, if you’re writing in the sci-fi military genre (my favorite), the bestsellers in that niche look like this:

You’ll notice that most of them have images of massive ships on them or soldiers, and the majority are themed in blues. Sit down and note down the elements, themes and colors on the bestselling covers in your niche. Then re-design!

Top Tip: Research the bestselling covers in your genre before you hit publish and make sure your cover is genre-targeted! MORE: I’ve Written A Book, Now What? (Traditional Vs Self Publishing)

2) Not Putting Enough Effort Into Their Book Description’s Copy

If your cover is great, and a reader clicks through to your book’s sales page, the first thing they’ll see is your book description. Book descriptions are tough to write. Often, authors will write a synopsis that discusses the entirety of the book’s plot. This is a big mistake.

How to Fix It:

The easiest way to fix your book description is by rewriting it. But first, you’ll need to research how to create one that’s enticing.

Here are a few steps you can take to turn your book description into your greatest selling tool:

  1. Research what the bestsellers in your genre are doing. What words do they include? How do they structure their book descriptions?
  2. Learn how to write an enticing blurb. Bryan Cohen’s How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis is a great resource to check out.
  3. Write your new book description. You might find it easy or hard, but write the description until you’re sure it’s enticing enough to draw in readers.
  4. Include the right HTML tags. When uploading your description, you’ll have the option to bold or italicize certain parts of your description using HTML tags. If you’re unsure of how this works, check out this cool book description generator tool.

Top Tip: Study the successful books in your genre and note what they do in their book descriptions, then rewrite!

3) Improper or Ineffective Keyword Research

Keywords and keyword research are a major part of marketing your book as an author, particularly on Amazon. There are two types of keywords you’ll use in this case:

  1. Kindle keywords. These are the 7 keywords you insert when first publishing your book in the KDP dashboard. The right keywords will tell Amazon where to place your book, and enable you to get more visibility.
  2. Amazon keywords. These are keywords you use for your Sponsored Product ads in the Amazon advertising dashboard.

How to Fix It:

You can easily research keywords for your Amazon ads and Kindle keywords by heading over to Amazon in incognito mode and setting the category to ‘Kindle Store.’

After that, type in keywords that are relevant to your genre and let Amazon predict the next word. For instance ‘sci-fi military’ might bring up the keyword ‘military science-fiction’ or the like. Try going through each possible option by stating your keyword then adding an ‘a’ or a ‘b’ and then a ‘c’ at the end of the word.

If you want to cut out all the searching and refining on your own, check out Publisher Rocket, a software I created to help authors get results instantly.

Top Tip: Research keywords that people are actually searching for to better place yourself in the market.

4) Not Writing in Series

Writing a standalone book and publishing it, then expecting the sales to roll in, is a mistake authors make quite frequently. The truth is, series tend to be better at building loyal fans and word of mouth marketing.

How to Fix It:

This is a pretty simple fix! Write your books in series. You’ll greatly increase the efficacy of your ads. Why? Because when you advertise the first book in your series, readers who buy it and enjoy it will likely buy the next one too, and the one after that.

Here’s an in-depth guide for calculating series read-through.

Top Tip: Writing in series will make it so your marketing dollars go the extra distance. Consider planning a series.

5) Overspending on Ads

Overspending on your ads is a common mistake authors make in the start of their careers. And since self-publishing is an expensive process, you want to make sure your ads are doing what they’re supposed to do — making you money.

How to Fix It:

Here are a few tips you can use to avoid overspending on your ads:

  1. Start with a low budget. Even a low budget can drive traffic to your book’s sales page.
  2. Start with reasonable CPCs in your Amazon Ads. You don’t need to bid a dollar a click to see traffic to your sale’s page. In fact, you shouldn’t bid this high. A bid of between 20 to 30 cents per click is a good starting point.
  3. Advertise when you have two or three books already published in your series. This will maximize your return on investment when you start seeing readthrough.

Top Tip: Start with lower budgets and test before you go all the way with your spending. MORE: Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Email Marketing 

Final Thoughts

If you fix these 5 simple mistakes in your marketing, you’ll be well on the way toward marketing your book more intentionally and seeing a return on your investment — no matter how big or small your budget is.

Good Luck

BIO: Dave Chesson is the creator of, a website devoted to teaching advanced book Marketing which even Amazon KDP acknowledge as one of the best by telling users to “Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books.” Having worked with such authors as Orson Scott Card, Ted Dekker and more, his tactics help both Fiction and Nonfiction authors of all levels get their books discovered by the right readers.


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