What’s Your Excuse for Not Selling Books?


Reprinted with permission from Patricia Fry, article appearing in Francine Silverman’s Book Promotion Newsletter.

By Patricia Fry

I’m sorry, but sometimes I get exasperated with authors who make excuses for not promoting their books.

Some of them are known for their aggressive marketing tactics. There are also those who had every intention, BEFORE they finished their book, of presenting a major and ongoing marketing campaign. And then, when opportunities arise to promote their books, they have nothing but excuses as to why they can’t/won’t participate. Wanna hear some of them?

• I don’t have any copies of my book right now. This one still has my head spinning. You should always have copies of your book to sell. How long does it take to get copies from your print-on-demand company or your publisher? Ten days? Two weeks? What were you thinking about when you looked at your box of books and it was getting low? Why didn’t you order books then—before you ran out?

• I had a bad experience last time I did that activity. Well, what makes you think the same thing will happen again—that the same people will be there, that the stars will line up in exactly the same way?

And what can you do to change what happened last time?

• I don’t sell many books when I go there. How many do you sell when you stay home?

• I don’t like crowds. Then, perhaps, you should have hypnosis to get over this phobia or look into another business—like being a mortician.

• I’ll go out and speak only if they pay my expenses. And you have earned your speaking credentials how?

• I don’t like to get up in front of groups. If your book is particularly conducive to live presentations and if you want to sell copies of your book, you’d better find ways to get comfortable with public speaking.

• I don’t want to bother people on my email list with notices about my book award, new Kindle book, upcoming speaking engagement, etc. Helllooooo, your address book should be made up of your readers—your audience—and they should be interested in an occasional notification from you.

• I didn’t know it was up to me to promote my book and I didn’t know how hard it would be. It’s never too late to study the publishing industry, which is what you should have done before you even started writing the book.

Do you make excuses for why you cannot go out and speak, do book signings, sign up for book festivals and so forth? Are your excuses valid or are they just excuses designed to maintain your comfort zone? Think about this. And think about how many books you’ve sold in the last week, month, year. Do you see a correlation between your promotional activities (or lack of) and your book sales?


Considered “a maven when it comes to counseling authors in the art of publishing and selling their books” and “one of the most well-known writing gurus,”  Patricia Fry has been working with other freelance writers and authors for over two decades.

For additional tips, techniques, ideas and a swift kick in the pants that will surely increase your book sales, order your copy of Promote Your Book today. It is available at Amazon and most other online and downtown bookstores. Learn more about this book and the companion book (for those of you who are thinking about writing a book or in the process of writing a book), Publish Your Book. (Both books by Patricia Fry)


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good article Heidi. I must confess, I’m part of the group who says….”It is so hard, time consuming…” I haven’t given up marketing/promoting but I’ve learned to give myself a few breaks from it every now and then.

    • Oh, it definitely IS hard work. But then we’ve worked hard at writing our book(s), polishing, rewriting, polishing, rewriting, etc. And it actually is fun, getting out there and talking to people. I’ve met so many people with Montana or rodeo connections.

  2. Oh, my. A lady after my own heart! I’ve heard authors utter those very remarks. There’s no getting around it, it’s up to us to sell ourselves and our books.

  3. Right on! Every thing you say is true. If we want to market out books we’ve got to get up off our “you know what” and get moving. About the mortician analogy. I’ll say this, but not being cranky, you understand. 🙂 We owned a funeral home.Our son does now. Lots of people come to funerals and burials and you have to wait on families of every type. If you aren’t a people person, don’t try to be a mortician, unless you just want to be a trade embalmer and stay in the back room.

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