How to Declutter Your Book Marketing by Guest @PaulineWiles

Do you remember when Marie Kondo burst into our lives with her compelling bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? The thrill of decluttering swept through many of us, as we experienced the pleasure of keeping only the physical possessions that “spark joy.”

But what about your book promotion? Have you considered it could be similarly satisfying and energizing to declutter your marketing plan? How would it feel, to keep only those activities which earn their place?

​Steps to Declutter Your Book Marketing

  • 1Brain Dump Your Current Marketing Efforts

Make a list of everything you’re doing now, or have tried in the past, to promote either your books or yourself as an author.

  • If you have any not-yet-tried ideas which are tugging your curiosity, include these too.
  • Include both online and offline activities,
  • Paid and organic promotion,
  • In-person and virtual, on your own platform, and as a guest elsewhere.
  • 2Assess

A) Rank everything on your list for effectiveness.

What’s working for your author business? What’s leading to book sales, growth in your email list, or at the very least, rewarding interaction with (potential) readers? 

This might uncover a snag: what if you don’t actually know what’s working?

This can be a problem for authors: we see ten book sales on Amazon, but we can’t be sure what prompted those purchase decisions. Or a potential reader may learn about us, then borrow our book from their library (and leave a glowing online review) two years later. This is part of the territory in which we operate, so to some extent, you’ll have to use your judgment. However, you can also:

  • Use Google Analytics to understand the sources of visits to your website (a reasonable proxy for the effectiveness of your marketing).
  • Ask your readers how they found you, and/or how they discover new books to read. You could create a simple survey, and gather other useful reader insights at the same time.
  • Consider using specific short links, including Intelligent Links, to get better data on which of your promotional efforts are leading to clicks.

B) Now look at every item on your list and mark it according to how much you enjoy it. Most experts agree that book marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. So, if you really don’t enjoy a tactic, you need to acknowledge this: in the long-term, it will zap your creative energy. Similarly, there are hopefully at least a few methods on your list that you love to do.

C) Finally, estimate how much time you spend on each book marketing method. Hours spent on promotion are hours you’re not spending writing, or getting on with the rest of your life. Even if a method isn’t costing you actual money, time is an expenditure, too.

How to Declutter Your Book Marketing by Guest @PaulineWiles #declutter #marketing #bookmarketing #NaNoProMoHow to Declutter Your Book Marketing by Guest @PaulineWiles #declutter #marketing #bookmarketing #NaNoProMo

  • 3Decide What Remains

Based on these three factors, make decisions on what should remain. You might conclude that a moderately effective, but highly enjoyable tactic can stay. You might decide to purge everything that you loathe, even if it’s quick and occasionally effective. Equally, you can choose to limit the time you spend on certain activities, which don’t deserve hours of your focus. It’s up to you to make the call.

But it goes without saying: if you don’t enjoy something and it’s not effective, your sanity requires you to stop!

Take account of the total time you have available for book promotion: the fewer hours you can allocate to this activity, the more focused you’ll need to be. You can’t, for example, engage authentically on five different social media platforms, if you can only spend an hour per week.

  • 4Declutter

For the tactics you’ll keep, streamline what remains:

  • Plan roughly when your marketing efforts will fit into your schedule, as an additional check that your remaining tactics are realistic.
  • Make sure everywhere you show up online has a consistent bio, branding, and photo. 
  • Close down any social media accounts you’ll stop using, and remove these links from your website.
  • Do a further refresh of your website, with a particular focus on removing extraneous information.
  • Make a note of your new marketing plan, so you can evaluate success in the future.


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  • 5Maintain

Don’t let your decluttering efforts unravel. Set a calendar reminder to revisit the effectiveness of your marketing plan, analyze your statistics, and adjust accordingly. Try to stay consistent with your tactics for at least six months before concluding whether something is working.

And be wary of “shiny object” syndrome, so you avoid chasing the latest marketing trend that ripples through the author community. As you move forward, a reasonable rule of thumb is that for every new tactic you aspire to add to your marketing plan, you may need to let another one rest.

In this way, you’ll stay mindful about the best use of your time, and the book marketing tactics which “spark joy” in your author business.


Giveaway bundle worth $189 (1 winner):

  • 30-minute Zoom consultation on decluttering your marketing efforts. Must be used by June 30, 2020.
  • Free copy of Indie With Ease (contiguous USA: choice of ebook or paperback; ebook if located elsewhere.) 
  • Done-for-you Content Calendar, containing a year of promotional topic ideas.

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Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!

All comments must be left prior to midnight on Thursday, May 7th, 2020 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Friday, May 8th.

Good luck!

Pauline Wiles


Pauline Wiles is the author of three light-hearted novels as well as Indie With Ease, which helps self-published authors conquer stress. She believes pragmatic self-care is the foundation of a long and happy writing career. Her own version of this includes plentiful tea, cake, and running.

Get more tips on purposeful productivity for writers and a free mini-course, Focus for Writers, at


For a more detailed plan on developing your book marketing, purchase Rachel’s new book,
The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge
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Get On That, Would Ya?


  1. Rebecca Neely on May 2, 2020 at 3:43 am

    I enjoy organizing and decluttering my house and streamlining processes. This approach makes a lot of sense and is one I could use for my marketing efforts. I work a FT job so time is at a premium. Thanks for sharing

    • Pauline Wiles on May 2, 2020 at 10:16 am

      I’m like you, Rebecca, decluttering at home always brings me a sense of calm. So I try to be aware of the principle in other ways like time & projects, too. Thanks for taking part in NaNoProMo!

  2. Jessica Turnbull on May 2, 2020 at 4:56 am

    I’ve never thought about having a declutter of all my marketing methods, time for a spring clean I think! Great post.

    • Pauline Wiles on May 2, 2020 at 10:43 am

      Yes, Jessica, a spring clean feels good, and is a great opportunity to pause and consider what’s working best for your books.

  3. CHRISTY NICHOLAS on May 2, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Great information, thank you! I love the stepped process.

  4. Justin Bienvenue on May 2, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Great article. I’m a very organized person however lately I haven’t done much book promotion so I don’t need to declutter but I know the feeling! I like the steps and reasonable things suggested here. Keep off social media and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Straight to the point.

    • Pauline Wiles on May 3, 2020 at 9:55 am

      Justin, I have conflicted feelings about social media. I’d love to get a better handle on how effective it really is (for me), with the hope of moving my activity more to “quality, not quantity”. And spending a greater proportion of time on the platforms I actually enjoy, too. Thanks for visiting #NaNoProMo!

  5. Michael O'Connor on May 2, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Hi! Great post. I’m new to marketing my writing efforts but appreciated what you wrote.

    I do a lot of blogging and freelance writing but just self-published 2 poetry volumes last week to Amazon. I do some targeted marketing and feel pretty good in my overall approach but obviously am a novice. I think I could benefit from some advice to sharpen my efforts as I proceed with a a bunch of planned releases.

    • Pauline Wiles on May 3, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      Mainly, Michael, I’d suggest that finding a marketing philosophy you can sustain for the long term will serve you well. Your energy (and ability to stick with it) are good things to protect if you can.

  6. McKenna Dean on May 3, 2020 at 5:24 am

    This post is making me realize that while I market more heavily than most of the people in my crit group, I don’t necessarily market *effectively*. I’m doing some things right, but others (like the ability to track data) not so much. My technique seems to be that of throwing a plate of spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks, so I think I could definitely use a marketing overhaul!

    • Pauline Wiles on May 3, 2020 at 9:52 am

      McKenna, I do feel it’s a pretty big challenging for us as authors to effectively measure our efforts. Relationships with readers are definitely a long-term thing, so it’s hard to know where a single tweet (for example) can lead us. Nonetheless, being mindful of outcomes (where we can) does make sense. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Melissa on May 3, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Super helpful tips Pauline! When I started working in book marketing, it easy to want to jump in and do ALL.THE.THINGS. but soon realized book marketing is not a one size fits all. And to continue doing too many things with zero benefit leads to burnout.

    • Pauline Wiles on May 3, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you, Melissa. Yes: those lists of all the things we *could* do make me dizzy!

  8. Dr. Alexandria Szeman on May 3, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Declutter. Hmmm… I am fantastic at decluttering things around the house, in my office, on my desk. But I never thought of decluttering my book marketing. Thank you for that, Pauline.

    • Pauline Wiles on May 3, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Great, glad to hear of another possible decluttering dimension for you!

  9. Daniella Marie Shepard on May 4, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    One of the best pieces of advice I have gotten from a friend of mine who runs a media business is tracking how your advertising is working. It is hard to know where to focus you efforts if you don’t know what is working. Thanks for sharing this advice.

    • Pauline Wiles on May 5, 2020 at 8:19 am

      Yes, Daniella: I’ve spent ad money a few times without thinking enough about tracking, and it’s a frustrating mistake to make!

  10. Rachael Dickzen on May 12, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    /takes notes frantically on everything i should do/ Thank you so much for all the valuable ideas!

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