ReadWrite has a guest post from a digital marketing manager who enumerates all the mistakes that entrepreneurs make in trying to market their company or product digitally. I’m not going to enumerate them all here, but they include some fairly common-sense things like “Failing to understand your audience,” “Not planning adequately,” “Holding unrealistic expectations,” and so on.

As I was reading the article, it occurred to me that self-publishing writers are entrepreneurs, too. After all, they are entirely responsible for marketing their product and themselves, so they have to make their own marketing plans and execute them. And while some of these mistakes may not be terribly meaningful for them (“Not budgeting properly” tends to lose meaning when your marketing budget is effectively zero), a lot of them seem to be exactly the kind of traps self-publishers could fall into.

So, if you self-publish, maybe this advice could be useful for you, too.


  1. Self-publishing has the same flaws as any one-person business. It’s hard for one person to wear all the hats a business requires, having both the ability and the interest in doing all that’s required.

    I know that in my case I love creating the product, both the writing and the layout/covers, but I’d rather have all my teeth pulled than get busy marketing a book. Books, I seem to think, ought to sell themselves. Why should I have to sell them?

    Marketing is where much self-publishing falls short. If you can’t write, then publishing what you write makes no sense. But you can write but not market, that’s a tragedy in need of a solution.

    There’s an interesting article here:

    Someone asks the enormously successful James Patterson about marketing. His response is: “Don’t worry about marketing. Leave that up to your publisher to figure out.”

    That’s true, but what if you don’t have a publisher? Then advice like that is a bit like telling a drowning man, “Don’t worry, all you have to do is keep your head above water.”

    Thanks for the link to the article. I’m sure the advice there is good, but will I follow it? Probably not.

    –Mike Perry, Inkling Books

    You can find my poorly marketed books at: in one of my brief forays into marketing.

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