1. Not testing the market
An author once told me that her vanity-published book, which was about a certain disorder, would sell tens of thousands of copies in its first year because it was the only one of its kind. An Amazon search showed that the disorder was common enough for dozens of other books, including a Dummies guide.
2. Having too many websites
Create multiple blogs, at a minimum twelve or more, each on separate themes.
Derek Armstrong, Kunati Book Publishers (now defunct)
I was surprised to read this – how could any writer keep up with so many blogs, providing unique content for each? I’ve got my hands full enough with one blog. Then again, Kunati is no longer in operation, so…
Two or three websites, maintained and updated regularly, give a better impression than six or more. Quality rather than quantity counts here.
3. Contributing articles to unknown websites
Writer Beware recently had a guest blog about whether or not it’s productive for writers to contribute articles to content mills - a website with a large number of articles from freelancers, who tend to be paid poorly for their efforts.
I’m not sure whether this is a good way for writers to gain recognition for their books (this article suggests it could be) but I am sure that there’s something worse than a content mill. That’s a website which doesn’t pay writers at all and which can’t be easily found on a Google search. Here’s an example.
What does the writer get out of it? If all a writer wants is the satisfaction of seeing his or her work on a website, that’s fine. But there are better options and sites out there.
4. Not having a goal
Don’t do anything without knowing why you’re doing it and whether it's likely to work.
Don’t start a blog because a blog is expected of you. Blogs are time-consuming and if you don’t enjoy writing them, that will show.
Don’t make bookmarks, personalized coffee mugs or anything else just because that’s what other writers do. The profit of any such promotion should cover its expense.
5. Not having distribution
The writer makes people aware of the book, and the publisher sells it. Demand and supply. Yesterday I saw the website of XoXo Publishing, which has e-books that aren’t even on Amazon (but which does have marketing and promotional packages for sale to authors).
If a publisher isn’t selling to readers, then it’s selling to authors. And that will eventually defeat any promotional efforts.