Too Much Is Not Enough

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, chances are you like change. You like to shake things up. You don’t like to do the same thing over and over and over again. You like variety! And you hate feeling stuck.

Those are all excellent traits, but they come with a downside. How do I know? Because I have experienced both the upside and the downside of moving on.

Moving forward in your business can take you to great places. But moving on too quickly may mean that you never really get your message into the hearts and minds of the people you serve. And when it comes to marketing your book, moving on too quickly may mean that you are unintentionally sabotaging your book’s success.

If you have gone to the work of writing a book and have invested the time, energy and money it takes to get it published—whether that’s through a traditional publishing house or using independent or self-publishing means—investing time, energy and, yes, even money into marketing is both wise and essential.

When I was studying advertising in college, the minimum effective frequency was around six or seven. That means someone had to see your message six times before it even made a dent in their psyche.

I feel quite confident that number has increased in the past 16 years, although if you read the excerpt below written by Thomas Smith for an 1885 edition of Successful Advertising, maybe we were fooling ourselves by thinking we could get away with as few as six exposures.

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time, they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

The amount of content available to us—shoved at us—24/7 has increased by spectacular proportions since I was in college; never mind 1885. That means that, as your brain filters all that content, it has much more to sift through to find what you might really be interested in. The same is true for every single one of your readers.

If you change your branding or move on to the next project before potential readers are even aware of you, they will never even know that you have published a book.

So what can we do to make sure that our books reach their full potential in the marketplace?

1. Commit to your book for the long term. In 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, author John Kremmer writes:

Don’t write a book unless you are ready to back it up with your time and effort to sell the book. You are your own best salesperson. For every book you write, you should be willing to commit three years to marketing it. You don’t have to market full time, but you have to do something each day for the full three years if you really want your books to make an impact

2. Maximize your message. Present your material in a variety of ways. Podcasts, speaking engagements, and blog posts (on your own site and on others’ blogs) are just a few ways to get your message out into the world. In this interview on The Wealthy Speaker Podcast, Jane Atkinson and I talk about a few ways to use your book as part of your marketing as a speaker. Selling books isn’t necessarily the goal. The goal is to share and spread your message so you can help more people. Your book is a tool in your business plan—it isn’t the end goal.  

3. Give it away. Really. I know you’ve worked hard and feel justified in your expectation for getting paid for all the time, expertise and effort you’ve poured into your book. But by strategically and generously giving away copies of your book, you’re planting seeds—for more clients, more speaking opportunities and more book sales.

Bottom line: Don’t move on from promoting your book too quickly. You likely wrote it because you want to make a difference in the world. So keep sharing your message. Because as soon as you put it on the shelf and move on to other endeavors, you lose your best salesperson.

Share your thoughts in the comments below: What has been a successful strategy for marketing your book or your coaching/speaking brand?

Image courtesy of Kittisak at

Kimberly Fulk - May 26, 2016

Hi Erin! I have heard you say soemwhere along the line about books being a series (mostly for fiction I believe?). Since I am currently in the process of the first book, would it be wise to market as a series? I can see this book with the title you and I discussed as being a series, but ‘what if’ I can’t come up with enough material to see it through to more than 1 book?

Thanks ever so much!

    Erin K Casey - May 30, 2016

    Series are popular with readers and with authors for a few reasons. If a book is good, readers will want more! In terms of marketing, sometimes authors will put the first book of a series up on Kindle for .99 or even free. When readers get to the end, they’re looking for more to the story and are primed to buy the next book. It works well for both fiction and nonfiction when the content is engaging.

    As far as having enough, my suggestion would be to map it first using an outline. Figure out the general themes and structure at a minimum. Then you won’t have to worry about what you’re going to write b/c you’ll have a plan. 🙂

    Keep writing!

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