175 episodes

Author Media presents Novel Marketing the longest-running book marketing podcast in the world. This is the show for writers who want to build their platform, sell more books, and change the world with writing worth talking about.

Whether you self publish or are with a traditional house, this podcast will make book promotion fun and easy. Thomas Umstattd Jr. interviews, publishers, indie authors and bestselling traditional authors about how to get published and sell more books.

Novel Marketing Thomas Umstattd Jr. | Professor of Book Marketing

    • Books

Author Media presents Novel Marketing the longest-running book marketing podcast in the world. This is the show for writers who want to build their platform, sell more books, and change the world with writing worth talking about.

Whether you self publish or are with a traditional house, this podcast will make book promotion fun and easy. Thomas Umstattd Jr. interviews, publishers, indie authors and bestselling traditional authors about how to get published and sell more books.

    State of the Kindle 2020

    State of the Kindle 2020

    The Kindle ebook market is a fascinating topic for authors in every genre. Writers around the world are guessing about what’s hot and what’s not in 2020.

    If you want to write in a genre that sells, it’s a great question to ask.

    To find out, I interviewed Alex Newton. Alex is the CEO and founder of K-lytics.com, which is a leading Kindle market research resource for authors and publishers. He spent 20 years at a top management consulting company creating strategy guides and market analysis that cost millions of dollars for companies that would pay for it.

    Now he uses that same expertise to analyze the Amazon marketplace. He knows what’s going on in the Kindle market because he has analyzed the data.

    Thomas Umstattd Jr: Alex, what is K-lytics, and what does it do for authors?

    Alex Newton: We are a market research company, and we provide data on the book market to authors, agents, and publishers. Our purpose is to provide more transparency in a market that has lacked transparency. We want to help authors make better and faster publishing decisions so they can sell more books.

    Join us for our free K-lytics webinar.


    Total Kindle Ebook Sales Up 14% in 2019

    Thomas: In the big picture of the 2020 Kindle market, is the ebook market growing or shrinking?

    Alex: In order to tell, we must look at the facts and then extrapolate. The first thing to know is that it has always been a matter of perspective. Who do you ask about the data? From the traditional publisher’s view, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) reports the quarterly trade publishing numbers in the U.S.

    The mainstream media picks up on the AAP numbers and quotes them and says, “Hey, ebooks are shrinking again.” We took an extrapolation of their Q3 numbers in 2019, and their ebook sales are shrinking, another 3.8% per year, roughly.

    Once you dig into it, you find out their statistical sample—the companies they asked about ebook sales—was made up of 1,300 traditional publishers in the U.S. But the leading company in the ebook market, Amazon, was not included in their sample.

    How can you discuss these market numbers if you are using a sample that represents probably less than 20% of the overall ebook market?

    If you ask traditional publishers, ebooks are shrinking.

    But if you ask me, with a view toward Amazon, I’m going to paint a much different picture.

    Thomas: I talked with a representative from the NPD Group, which is a big publishing research firm. They collect their data by polling the top publishers, as you’ve said. Then they get retail data from the retailers. But they do not get data from Amazon, and so they have this big hole in their data.

    I’ve spent enough time with publishing executives to know that they don’t consider the indie market to be producing many sales at all. But I know from having looked at your data, and Amazon’s data in general, that in a lot of categories, the bestselling authors for Kindle are indie authors.

    • 43 min
    How to Work With Fellow Authors To Sell More Books

    How to Work With Fellow Authors To Sell More Books

    A patron of the Novel Marketing Show recently asked a great question we’re going to answer in this article.

    “How can I collaborate with other authors so we can help promote each other’s work?”

    But first, why is this something you should consider?

    Why work with other authors?

    Reason #1 Writing is the Opposite of a Zero-Sum Game

    Gambling is a zero-sum game. If I win chips, it means you lose chips. 

    In the real world, most things involving money are not zero-sum. In almost every area, value can be created. For example, if I build a mansion next to your house, it makes your house more valuable. The total pie is bigger. 

    Writing is the same. 

    “When people love a book, they want to read more books like it, even if those books are by other authors.” Click to Tweet

    When you help fellow authors succeed, you help yourself succeed as well. As the old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

    Remember: Faster alone, further together. 

    Your competition as an author is not other authors. Your competition is Netflix. 

    Reason #2 Writing is Hard

    Non-writers don’t understand that you suffer when you kill off one of your characters, or even worse when you have to edit them out of your novel altogether.

    “Authors who “go alone” almost always give up before they reach the finish line.” Click to Tweet

    Reason #3 Publishing is Hard

    Finding an agent, a publisher, and a good book deal is hard. Indie publishing is the same amount of work. It’s simply a different path. There is so much to learn and many potential mistakes to make.

    If you are going alone, you won’t have the advantage of learning from someone else’s mistakes. You’ll have to learn by making the mistakes yourself. 

    Reason #4 Marketing is Hard

    Promoting your book requires hard, ongoing work. Not only must you accomplish various marketing tasks, but you must also learn what works and what doesn’t for you and your book. 

    Collaborating with other authors makes the writing, publishing, and marketing processes. Each stage becomes easier when authors collaborate. I have been working with bestselling authors for over a decade, and I can’t think of a single writer who made it to bestseller status without a community of other authors helping out.

    Now that you know you need to work with other authors let’s talk about how to work with other authors.  

    There are three levels of author collaboration.  

    Level 1: How to Connect with Other Authors 

    At this first level of collaboration, the goal is to connect with other authors to learn from each other’s experiences and to encourage one another to go further. We recently released episode 217 about mentorship, and we explored several types of level-one collaboration. 

    • 39 min
    How to Rank in Amazon Search Results with Dave Chesson

    How to Rank in Amazon Search Results with Dave Chesson

    Many authors believe search engine optimization (SEO) is a cryptic mystery average humans cannot solve.

    But SEO is simply crafting a page in such a way that it ranks high in search rankings. In this article, we’re going to explore Amazon SEO. We’ll explain why it is essential and how to apply it to your marketing plan.

    Dave Chesson is one of the top Amazon SEO experts. He’s the creator of Kindlepreneuer.com, a website devoted to teaching advanced e-book marketing, which even Amazon KDP acknowledges as one of the best resources on optimizing your book’s marketing.

    Why Is Search Engine Optimization Important for Authors?

    Thomas Umstattd Jr.: Why is Amazon SEO so important for authors?

    Dave Chesson: Amazon, SEO, is about getting your book in front of the right shoppers. A shopper goes to Amazon and types what they’re looking for into the search bar. When they hit the “search” button, Amazon decides whether to show books, which books to display and the order in which those books appear in the search results.

    We have found that 20% to 30% of the shoppers will click on the book that appears at the top of the search results. That percentage quickly drops to single digits the farther you get from the top. Appearing at the top of the list increases your ability to get seen and your ability to make sales.

    Thomas: A lot of people think Google is the dominant search engine, and it is for certain kinds of searches. For example, if I’m searching for a dentist, I’ll use google. But when people are searching for products, over half of the searches happen on Amazon.

    More people are searching for products on Amazon than on all the other search engines combined, including Google. No one is going to Google and typing “mystery suspense writer” or “Amish romance.” For authors, Amazon is where you want to rank at the top.

    Dave:  More than 197 million people have an Amazon account, which means it’s easy to make that purchase right then and there. If I find a book I want to buy on another website that sells books, the problem is that I’ve got to create an account, make a password, and enter my credit card information on a website I don’t fully trust.

    A lot of people will leave that website, search for it on Amazon.com and buy it there because they already have an Amazon account all set up. It’s a wonderful marketplace people trust. They know Amazon will always have what they want.

    Thomas: Amazon took over the market by simply caring about the customer—the book readers. The traditional publisher’s customers are Barnes and Noble and Amazon and other retail channels, but Amazon customers are the actual humans who are reading books. That has been their secret sauce.

    Why is SEO so hard or scary for so many authors?

    Three Keys to Amazon SEO

    Dave: SEO for Google seems to be a hard-core, billion-steps task. Amazon is more straightforward than Google.

    There are three keys to Amazon SEO:

    * Identify the target that you want your book to be shown to. When a customer types a phrase into that search bar, what are the phrases you want your book to show up for?* Identify where you want your book to be indexed.

    • 37 min
    How to Use Scarcity & Ubiquity to Make Your Book Irresistible

    How to Use Scarcity & Ubiquity to Make Your Book Irresistible

    Back in episode 223, we talked about how to create urgency. Today we are going to talk about the second social trigger: scarcity and its sister ubiquity.  These social triggers will give you a powerful edge when it comes to selling your book.

    But first, a paradox from Adam Smith. 

    Why are diamonds more valuable than water?

    You can live a happy life without ever even seeing a diamond. Without water, you will die in a week. So why are diamonds so much more expensive?

    Once you understand this paradox, you will understand a marketing principle that most authors, and even most publishing houses, don’t understand. 

    Scarcity creates value.

    The rarer something is, the more valuable it is, even if that thing is mostly useless. Other than a few industrial uses, diamonds are mostly useless. What makes them valuable is the fact that they are rare and beautiful. They are a way of displaying wealth. 

    But scarcity is not the only thing that drives value. 

    Desire drives value as well. The stronger the desire to obtain a thing, the more valuable it is. Emeralds are rarer than diamonds, and yet they cost less.


    Because people want diamonds more than they want emeralds. This is due to the custom of giving diamond engagement rings. Most married women wear diamonds. This makes the desire for diamonds higher than the more scarce emeralds.

    This strong desire for diamonds over emeralds is the result of clever marketing by the diamond industry. Remember the slogans “Diamonds are forever” and “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend? That’s marketing at work.

    The interplay between scarcity and desire is what economists call supply and demand.  

    A Second Paradox:

    “On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.” Stewart Brand

    Knowledge is like a candle flame. One candle can light another without being diminished itself. Giving someone an idea is not like giving someone cake. You can give your idea and have it too.  

    When selling knowledge, the owner will make more money if the product is either ubiquitous or expensive. This is why I offer a free podcast and paid premium mastermind groups.

    But this principle applies for fiction as well. In fact, in some ways, it is easier for novelists.

    Of the social triggers, scarcity is the rarest for authors to leverage. In terms of pricing, indie authors are in a race to the bottom. Some indie authors sell their books for as little as possible to try and undercut their competition. But, as Seth Godin says, the problem with a race to the bottom is that you might win.

    That said, you can make a lot of money selling books for almost nothing if you sell a lot of them.

    You see, while diamonds are more valuable than water, we spend more money on water than we do on diamonds. In fact, most Americans spend more on bottled water alone than they do on diamonds. 

    You would likely make more money selling water than you would selling diamonds. Think about that.


    • 32 min
    How Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith Grew Her Email List by 23k Using a Reader Quiz

    How Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith Grew Her Email List by 23k Using a Reader Quiz

    The million-dollar question is this: how do I get people to join my email list?

    I recently interviewed Saundra Dalton-Smith who shared one extremely effective strategy. Saundra is a physician and author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, and Restore Your Sanity (affiliate link).

    Saundra grew her email list from 2,000 to more than 25,000 subscribers.


    She created a quiz for people to take at RestQuiz.com.

    In our interview, Dr. Saunda Dalton-Smith shared how she did it and how you can too.

    The Story Behind RestQuiz.com

    Dr. Saunda Dalton-Smith: I wanted a way for people to be able to determine which of the seven types of rest they were deficient in. I wanted them to do the same self-analysis I walk my patients through in my office. A quiz seemed to be the quickest way to do that. Plus, it was automated.

    There are many different quiz platforms out there, but I happened upon a WordPress plugin called Quiz and Survey Master that worked with my blog. It was simple to use, so I jumped on it to figure it out and see what would happen.

    Thomas Umstattd Jr.: Did the questions for the quiz come from questions you ask in your practice? Or from somewhere else?

    Saundra: They came from actual questions I ask

    in my practice as an internal medicine physician. Typically, a patient

    comes in saying they’re tired. They suspect something’s wrong with their

    thyroid or adrenal glands, and they want me to help me figure out what’s wrong.

    I was spending a lot of time trying to determine why people are

    so tired all the time. Some of them were getting more than adequate sleep, so I

    knew it wasn’t the number of hours they were sleeping.

    In my research, I discovered there are seven types of rest. People might not be deficient in physical rest, but they may have a deficiency of rest in another area. After I explained this to my patients, the question became, “How do I know which one I’m deficient in?”

    The quiz questions came from thinking about each of the types of rest and how someone would feel if they were deficient in that area. The quiz allows people to grade themselves on where they’re at. I don’t ask “Are you deficient in physical rest?” I ask questions related to someone’s physical symptoms. I’ll ask if they have experienced increased neck and back pain or whether they’ve had more headaches or infections than their coworkers.

    Some patients will report a chronic sinus infection, but nobody

    else in the office or family seems to be getting it. I ask the questions and

    let people rate how well certain symptoms apply to them. The plugin scores their

    responses and reveals a deficiency in physical, mental, social, sensory, spiritual,

    emotional, or creative rest. At the end of the quiz, the person has a

    relatively accurate assessment of where they need more rest.

    Thomas: I can verify the results. I took the quiz right before this interview, and I scored the lowest in physical rest. Since we have a newborn at home, that makes perfect sense. Your quiz did a good job teasing that out.

    How To Create A Quiz Readers Want to Take

    Thomas: The principle here is that you focused on the felt symptoms of your reader when you compiled the questions.

    • 36 min
    How to Create Urgency to Buy Your Book

    How to Create Urgency to Buy Your Book

    What do these phrases have in common?

    * Limited-time offer! * Closeout sale. * Inventory liquidation.

    In two or three words we learn there is an impending date

    when something will no longer be available.

    * The store will close. * The inventory will disappear. * The offer will expire.

    Customers hurry to purchase so they don’t miss out.

    Marketing psychologists call this a “social trigger.” Social triggers are powerful techniques used to influence customers.

    In the examples above, marketers create a sense of urgency. Customers feel their time is running out. They worry about losing out, missing out, or spending more than necessary. Getting rid of that feeling becomes a high priority, and it moves them into action.

    Why Urgency Works

    Why is urgency so powerful? Because most people will only act with an urgent deadline. 

    In education, students are moved to study

    because of an impending date on the calendar labeled “Exam.” Students attend study

    groups and review sessions for two days prior to the test date, but rarely

    before then.

    In matters of personal health, people are more

    likely to modify diet and exercise when they have a reunion or wedding coming

    up. On the other hand, people are often unmotivated to improve their habits

    until their doctor lays out a few statistics regarding mortality.

    For most of us, there has to be “blood in the

    water” to move us from a state of apathy into action. 

    Urgency is why deadlines are so motivating for writers. We are so desperate for urgency that indie authors, who generally don’t have concrete due dates, create self-imposed deadlines to make themselves finish. 

    So, if a reader can put off buying your book until tomorrow, they will never buy your book.

    If a reader can put off reading your book until tomorrow, they will never read your book.

    Since “tomorrow” never comes, authors must

    create a sense of urgency for customers and readers to move them from thinking

    about your book to purchasing it.

    How to Create Urgency for a Book

    Here are seven ways to create urgency.

    Method #1 Launch Window


    Create a bonus that is

    only available for a limited time. 

    When Michael Hyatt released his book Platform (affiliate link), he created a bonus bundle worth hundreds of dollars. He partnered with other authors and businesses who had products related to building a platform and digitally packaged them together. Anyone who purchased his book in the first two weeks of launch received that valuable bundle for free.  

    With your book launch

    date in view, you can create bonuses or prizes to giveaway to early buyers.

    Prizes can include:

    * Short stories* Guides* Tip Sheets* Courses* Discount Coupons* A piece of music that goes along with the book.

    You don’t have to create all the prizes yourself. Partner with other authors to create compelling bundles. But make sure your bonuses are actually valuable to your readers. Bonuses need not be expensive, but they must have a high perceived value for your reader.

    Printable bookmarks,

    screensavers, or lock screen images are easy to create and distribute, but they

    rarely provide a high enough value for readers to purchase today rather thanb...

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

smallfriex ,


Writing the book is half the work. Once you've done that, you'll want your masterpiece to be read. This podcast will help with that second part. I've been listening to this podcast for quite some time. It covers a lot of ground from social media savviness to printing services. I highly recommened this podcast for people wishing to self-publish and people that already have. You can listen every week or go back and select a podcast on the topic for which you need immediate assistance. I know I do!

hopeprose.com ,

The best podcast for marketing your novel!!

While on a road trip to a conference, a writing friend introduced me to this podcast and I was immediately hooked! I proceeded to binge-listen to most of the back episodes and quickly became a patron. I have learned more from Thomas and Jim than most courses and blogs I’ve read around marketing. Highly recommend!

SteveMoretti ,

Informative, great ideas for writers

This is a great podcast for inspiring writers to take up marketing, and for practical information about ideas you can start using now to sell books. Good banter between Thomas and Jim keeps things interesting. Length is just right to listen to on the way to work or for a 25 minute workout!

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