How Much Time Should You Spend Marketing Your Book?

You write. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?  As an author, the rules used to be very clear:  you dream it, you write it, you publish it.  And because it’s so good, word of your accomplishment spreads, and soon, people are excited for your next release.  And this is all still true enough.

But these days, the market is saturated with great books, both in traditional print and in ebook format, and it’s harder to rise out of the stacks and be heard.  So the solution for savvy writers is to market their work. 

I recently spoke with an author who made a full-time commitment to writing and promoting her work.  It’s hard to remember that this is a job, just like any other, and it takes a lot of time and dedication to be successful.  How long would any of us be employed if we showed up to a traditional 9-to-5 job only when we were motivated or in the mood?  I’m guessing not too long. So instead of waiting for her muse’s divine inspiration, she makes a choice to spend time most days doing some writing.  And equally important, she spends time every day marketing herself and her work.  She balances it with the rest of her busy life.

During the course of this conversation, we were discussing how much time it takes to do all this leg work.  At best, it can take a long time doing the things you’re “supposed” to do.  And at worst, you can get sucked into social networking vortex, where you find yourself browsing more for fun than making the networking a useful endeavor.

After this conversation, I went online to see how regular writers do this—the ones without multi-million-dollar publishing companies footing their publicity bill—and to search for a standard time amount that people spend marketing.  After only viewing a few pages, I found numbers ranging between 40 hours a week and 85% of your available writing time.  Other sites state to spend only as much time as you can, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your writing.  But that doesn’t seem like much of a commitment.

Somewhere between 40 hours per week and no time at all, I know there is a middle ground.  If writing is going to be your job—your business—you need to devote some time daily to marketing or hire someone to market for you.  When you market, you’ll sell more books, gain more recognition, and likely, you’ll make yourself more marketable for future publications. How much time do you spend now? And what is the “right” amount? Leave a comment!


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Like most writers, I live a busy life with family and work commitments. For me to eke out time each day for writing is struggle enough without losing 80% of that time to marketing.

    I’ve had several books published over the years, and I’ve seen how limited marketing results in mediocre sales. I think the sales of those earlier books (still available) would’ve been far better with even a limited online presence.

    Other writers may find other answers, but for me the solution has been to have a promotion planner(in my case ) help me understand the various online options available, and then, design a strategy which allows me to promote my writing in an efficient way.

    Will any of my books or eBooks currently available become a “best seller?” Probably not — but having a plan and learning how to use the internet to my advantage now allows me to keep most of my “spare time” for writing. So maybe I’ll write that “best seller” this year! 🙂

  2. I’ll admit I get sucked into that vortex of social media, aiming to make connections, but finding a wealth of distraction instead. I can’t even count it research!


    Having a plan, setting a timer, those things have helped me, but writing – then finding where and how to market that writing effectively is a delicate balancing act.


  3. I usually have a set time scheduled for marketing weekly… it may be as simple as handing out my business cards and bookmarks to people I meet, or the several hours spent online updating the abundance of websites I belong to. Some days more time is available for these things, due to other obvious committments, but I think if you capitalize on what time you do have and make a nose to the grindstone effort, your work will resemble that committment.

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