How to Become a Book Marketing Ninja

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To be effective in today’s noisy world, you can’t be lazy when it comes to marketing and selling your books. You have to stretch your thinking and your methods. You must break old paradigms and shatter trusted formulas.

You must become a book marketing ninja!

Here are three ways to do that:

1) Reconsider all of your marketing tactics. One of the biggest promotional mistakes you can make is doing something just because that’s the way it’s always been done before. Just because everyone else pursues book reviews, bookstore distribution, library sales, and media exposure in a certain way (or even Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn), that doesn’t mean you have to.

Your marketing decisions should be based on what’s best for your particular situation, genre, target fan base, etc. Don’t mindlessly follow the flock. Be different. Think creatively. Get focused on how you can most effectively reach new readers and fans — regardless of how the established authors or “experts” (including me) say it needs to be done.

2) Think in terms of opposites. Make a list of all the specific things that major book publishers and mainstream authors do to promote their books. Then imagine what would happen if you did the exact opposite.

What if you never did public appearances or book signings? Or made your books available only on USB drives? What if you were mysterious and never displayed your photo and never did interviews? Or … what if you did book readings live only on tennis courts, city buses or roller coasters? In short, what could you do to radically set yourself apart?

3) Redefine your small-scale, independent status. One of the reasons independently published authors feel they need to “act” like they are traditionally published is because of an inferiority complex. Without a publisher’s or a literary agent’s official backing, indie authors often feel they’re imposters and aren’t worthy of pursuing their dreams.

Guess what? That’s nonsense!

Embrace your independence! Don’t hide it. Flaunt it! As an indie, you have the unique ability to communicate on a far more personal level with your fans. You get to call the shots and control your destiny. You have freedom. Celebrate it!

And let your fans know you are doing this on your own, and how much you appreciate their help. Make them a part of your success story. So don’t you dare shy away from your independent status.

If you agree (or disagree), please leave your thoughts in the Comments section.


P.S. Did you enjoy this blog post? Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my Full-Time Author ezine — filled with even more book promotion tips and author career-building advice. Go grab your free subscription now.

The ninja photo above is by Seth Werkheiser.



  1. Hey Bob:

    I agree with you totally.

    I try to convince the people at my distributor NBN about the importance of being different.

    I tell them that instead of doing what the competition is doing, they and I should be doing what the competition isn’t doing.

    Of course, I do what the competition doesn’t do but they go on doing what the majority of others are doing in the book industry.

    Mark Twain once said, “The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.”

    Check out some more great quotes about creavity and innovation at:

    Creativity Quotes

    One more point: One of my heros is John Reese, who was the first person to ever make $1 million marketing on the Internet in one day. John recently killed both his Twitter account with 25,000 followers and his Face book account with 5,000 so-called “friends”. I admire John for going against conventional marketing wisdom and saying that both Facebook and Twitter are largely a waste of time because there are many much more effective ways to market books and other products.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    Author of
    How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 125,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  2. Awesome advice. I’ve been working hard the last year doing the same thing everyone is doing…Every author on Twitter has the same approach, I guess I’m not standing out like you say. I changed my Twitter profile to make it more ‘me’ and not just about the book. Need to think of a way to develop the brand and get a cult following, then build-up. will be reading your blog closely 🙂 Have a good week. Mike

  3. Hi Bob.

    Twitter isn’t a waste of time for me. It drives a mass of traffic to my fairly new blog for authors.

    But FAR more interesting than that is your hint: “…Or … what if you did book readings live only on tennis courts, city buses or roller coasters?”

    That for me is not tongue in cheek advice at all, but an exceptionally clever guideline for indies.


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