Know Thyself In Book Publicity & Marketing

Carrie Fisher, who you may remember as Princess Leia in Star Wars among other things, is credited with this quote:

“Instant gratification takes too long.”

I’m sure many of us have felt that way at times. In a world where so many seem to be having so much success, “Why am I not at that huge level NOW!?” seems like a fair question.

That is, actually, part of the problem.

Because we live in such an open world, and because with social media we can easily share the high points of our lives (both true and exaggerated), there is an expectation that gaining media attention and going viral with our own content should be easy–and quick!

Not so fast…

While promoting a book isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, it takes work and persistent, consistent effort. There really are no shortcuts, even though some might try to convince you otherwise. It’s really like those who tell you that “ can lose 10 pounds in 10 days,” or “You, too, can be wealthy with just these few tips!” Uh huh…

In recent months I have had a number of people coming to me totally perplexed that they aren’t celebrities yet. I am seeing more and more authors with expectations that book publicity and marketing should be immediate, and they should be immediately appearing on top tier outlets — even though no one has ever heard of them — yet.

The truth is, those who seem to come out of the blue usually have been working at it for quite some time. Those overnight sensations, e.g., Marie Kondo, have been at it awhile. In most cases, years.

Marie is enjoying enormous success at the moment, but her book, Spark Joy, was originally published in 2012 in Japanese. That’s 7 years ago; hardly an overnight sensation. Her rise was not immediate, even though it seems like it was…suddenly she is everywhere.

I have observed that those who want immediate success think that if they just try more strategies and more tactics and if they try harder, somehow suddenly it will magically happen and everyone will be clamoring for them and their book. So, in addition to the blog, they start a podcast. Then they open additional social media accounts. They take more classes. They hire coaches. They add all the new platforms they hear about in their efforts to unlock the secret combination and they’re doing it all at breakneck speed, all the time wondering why nothing is working. Now they’re tired and overwhelmed and they seem to be losing ground.

They are.

It doesn’t help that others tell them they need numbers! Their agents, their social media managers, their publishers, their coaches, their publicists, and whoever else is continually reminding them that they must increase their numbers.

Yes, numbers do count, but desperation doesn’t attract anyone. In fact, it repels people.

Remember way back when when you had a crush on that person and you tried to get their attention just a little bit too hard? Or someone was crushing on you but you weren’t interested because they were trying way too hard? It fits here regarding your book too. People can smell desperation a mile off. Stop it.

So what to do?

I believe it was Socrates who said, “Know thyself.”


Know thyself. You need to be very clear on the following:

Who are you? What is your brand? What is your book? Who are you speaking to? Who needs you? What pain are you the answer to? What concern are you here to fill? Figure out who you are. What is your voice? What do you want to say? Once you can answer these questions, do some research and see what others within your niche or space are doing. Figure out how you’re different and highlight that.


Get focused.

Once you know who you are and what you want to emphasize, identify your core market and start with them. Where do they like to go? Do they like to read or watch videos? Are they into podcasts, or do they prefer live webinars or your newsletter? You can always ask them, and you can always test this. When you know, be there and focus your energy on making your content memorable.


What exactly is time anyway?

Get it out of your head that you know how long (or short) this should take. You don’t know. No one knows that. Do what you do well. Do it for those you serve. Continue to check in with your tribe to make sure you’re delivering. Continue to deliver great content and find fulfillment in what you are currently doing. Continue to get media attention where you can get it. Do interviews. Write articles and guest blog posts. Build upon that. Learn to attract, not repel.


Continue to expand when you are ready.  

Who else are you here to serve? How can you reach them? Where do they hang out? Go there. Be there. Do media that speaks to this group. If you find most of your people love Facebook then you need to have a presence on Facebook. It may mean posting to your profile, creating a page, or developing a Facebook group. Each choice has its own strategy and reason for being there. If your audience is on Instagram or Twitter, then be there and contribute.

Yes, it sounds simple, and it is simple. We get distracted by all the bells and whistles and the success (or pretend success) of others. You do want to be making progress, but you don’t want to start furiously throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something will stick.


Be willing to adjust your voice for your audience.

You may have a particular message and a preferred way of saying it. But remember, when you’re talking to a child, you don’t speak with your college vocabulary. You come down to their level so they will understand you. Sometimes you have to adjust your message it be heard. Learn to be OK with that.


Exude confidence.

Trust that your message is getting out there, even when you don’t see proof yet. Continue to do interviews. Continue to share your message. Sometimes we have to make adjustments if our message isn’t landing, but give yourself time to really make that discovery before changing things up. Give it time.


Testing testing.
Get feedback. Ask the right people. Get a coach or consultant if you need one.


Be willing to try.

Be bold. What is it you need to say? Say it.


And remember:

When you do start enjoying great success there are cautionary moments to look out for. This is one of them. In fact, I can graph this. When authors start becoming successful, in response to some media and speaking opportunities, they start saying things like, “I think I’m beyond that.” Or, “I think I’m above that now.”

Don’t do that.

One thing I love about Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, co-founders of the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, is that they never said no to anything. Even when they were at the height of their success if someone in Decimal City, Wyoming or Armpit, Nebraska wanted them on the air at 2:30 a.m., they would do the interview. (Nothing against Wyoming and Nebraska; I love them both)


Bottom line:

Desperation doesn’t work. It repels others and it leaves you feeling depleted. It’s better to slow down, do what you do very, very well, and pay attention to results. Trying to do everything all at once just leaves you feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, and confused. It just doesn’t work.


Keep the faith.

You never know who you’re talking to, or who is listening or watching, or where they will be in the future. You never know the moment when things will really shift for you, so keep trying, keep going, keep believing, and relax a little. Enjoy the moments. You deserve it.

To your success!


P.S. Have you heard my story before? Just in case you’re interested, you’ll find it here.





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