A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
Remember, you’re a
business entity. You sell books, information, ideas, advice, and
expertise. As a business, adhere to some standards:
an advisory board
your intellectual property -- use copyrights, trademarks and patents
written contracts and have an attorney review what you’re about to sign
sure your contract avoids misunderstandings, identifies who does what by when,
assures payment, avoids liability, and clearly states what is being agreed to
Entrepreneurship: Starting and Operating a Small Business,Second
Edition, by Steve Mariotti and Caroline Glackin, several business plan
software packages are identified. These can help you focus on treating
yourself as a business:
To learn more about
the latest technology that can help your business efforts, consult: www.techweb.com.
Do You Need Some Market Research?
Big companies spend
millions researching and analyzing the marketplace. You can’t afford the
time or money to do this. But thanks to the Internet, you can find a lot
of information about your potential customer.
You may not be able
to conduct a phone survey of 1,000 people, but you can find out about the
buying habits and needs of the American public online. You can look into
the habits of people based on geography, demographics, book reading patterns,
etc. A harder thing to do is to measure what’s still relevant is the
behavioral or psychological patterns that people operate under. Reading
up on pop psychology may provide insight on how people tend to act or react
under a given situation. Even certain words can trigger emotional
responses, so take that into your consideration when marketing to others.
A lot is common sense, but it helps to know more about the people you market to
in order to get more yeses.
life, gets filled with to-do lists and lots of random notes that need a home.
How will you keep track of people, calendar events, things to check out,
etc?Many people are disorganized –
scribbled notes on napkins, old emails stored somewhere, online calendars mixed
with hand-written planners. We all try to create a system that works but we
start to lose track, get lazy in maintaining it, or find ourselves simply to be
our worst enemy. That said, don’t give up.
For marketing purposes, you will need to be
organized about the following:
a list of your ideas
web sites or people you want to check out
invoices and accounts receivable
you need to pay
book of key contacts
to follow-up or reach out to certain people – with notes on what was said and
place to keep resources that you uncover
collection of articles and blogs that you plan to read
for things you plan to blog about
The list can go on
and on. You may do a lot of this on your phone or computer but rarely is
everything neatly in one place. Just be sure to update the system that you
create for yourself and print/copy/or back it up regularly. And know that you
will never be perfect in this area, but learn to prioritize and be on top of
the bread and butter things.
Also, Make Note Of These Rules For Managing
paid upfront or collect payment as quickly as possible. Never assume
what you invoice for will always get paid. Every business has
debt-collection problems. Be prepared to get stiffed at least a few times
know your cash balance and keep track of planned receivables and of bills that
are due. Don’t get caught short or off guard simply because of poor
record-keeping or overly optimistic assumptions.
bill payment as long as possible – always stretch out the terms – but don’t
alienate vendors or incur penalties in doing so. Prioritize your bills
and pay what’s most overdue first or pay what’s most important first.
to negotiate the best possible deal – on everything, all the time. Don’t
be afraid to ask for a discount or to counter-offer when buying
something. Everything is negotiable and everyone in business knows this.
Keep Good Records Of Expenses And Income So
do your taxes with ease and avoid an audit
track of cash flow
activity and review ROI
be able to examine which areas need attention.
Consult with an
accountant as to which business structure you should operate under (sole
proprietorship vs. LLC or S Corporation for example). Obtain the proper
documents or federal employer identification number for the business. You
may need to collect sales tax and pay it to the government, so look into
whether you need to obtain a sales and use tax registration number.
What Will People Pay?
will pay what they think it is worth.
will pay what they are told to pay.
pay what they can afford.
pay for perceived value of your offer vs. perceived value of competing offers.
will pay for comfort, security, piece of mind, ease.
will pay for relief to a problem.
will pay out of fear, guilt or pleasure.
will pay because they don’t know any better.
will pay to avoid a greater loss or payment later.
will pay a premium if they like you, if they are attracted to you, if they
think you like them and care about them and understand them.
You set your price
and you canchoose to negotiate
downward. It is up to you. Make sure you understand the value delivered by you,
your book, your services, your brand. As long as you can articulate your value
in a confident way you won’t have to shy away from or apologize for your price.
By knowing your customer’s perception of competitive substitutes and alternatives
you can get into their heads about how you compare.
Jeffrey J. Fox says it best in regards to price, in his book, How to Become a MarketingSuperstar: “Price your products or
selves according to the value the customer receives from the product. Do not
price your product based on its production cost plus a markup. Do not price
your product solely according to supply and demand. (Even the most basic
commodities can be differentiated and priced to value. And gouging customers
who need plywood during a hurricane may produce short-term profits but will
long be remembered by the customer base). Do not automatically price your
product to mirror competitive pricing. Do not price your product below cost.”
Here are a few more things to consider:
a dollar value on your time and keep increasing it.
the quickest and easiest ways to get clients and customers.
look for cheaper ways to market yourself.
your solution – the result of what people will get if they read your book or
hire you as a speaker/consultant
and monetize that solution and all secondary benefits.
You are an author -- and a business! Take ownership of it.
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
How Book Publishers Grow Their Brand & Sales With Their Authors’ Help
Bookshelves are filled with self-help books, so I won’t
profess to be a self-help guru, but I can tell you from reading hundreds of
them that they all have a number of principles in common. These
principles are applicable to anyone, no matter their situation, but are
especially true if you are to advance as a writer, speaker, and consultant.
1.Get Out Of Your
Mental Jail. You don’t realize it, but you set all kinds of
limits, rules and boundaries for yourself. You set rigid expectations,
make demands of yourself, and force yourself to adhere to out-of-date standards
that may have at one point worked for you. Take time to do a self-analysis of
what has been pushing your buttons or guiding your actions. It may be
time to let go of some oppressive ideas.
2.Get Healthy And
Rested. Easier said than done. The nation is filled with
addictions, obesity, lack of sleep, poor diets, and disease. But if you can
make some improvements in terms of your energy level, you’ll feel better and be
in a more productive position. Get more sleep, eat less junk, and take
some stress-busting walks.
3.Expose Yourself To
New Things. This doesn’t mean go shopping, although it may
help. The only way to grow is to keep exposing yourself to new people,
new places, new ideas, and new pieces of information. Instead of doing
more of the same, think of how you can try a new restaurant, join a new group,
and learn about a subject you know nothing about.
4.Change How You Do
Things. See if there’s a better or different approach to how you
handle problems and challenges. Old responses just get the same results.
Don’t be satisfied with the way things are – experiment. Also consider
changing your environment – clean up, paint, or build something – get a
Go anywhere. Take a bus 20 minutes away or fly halfway around the
world. The more you get out of your day-to-day existence, the more
inspired you’ll be by what you see.
6.Negotiate New Terms
With Yourself. Set higher standards, demand more of
yourself. Or if you feel overworked, scale down and allow yourself to
slow down. Give yourself permission not to be a workaholic.
7.Avoid Toxic People.
We all know such people – they are family, co-workers, friends, and people in
our life who are drains on our energy, time, and money. They are always
in a crisis, always sick, lacking something, looking for help, or needing lots
of support. Depending on your relationship to the person, you can’t just
walk away from them but try to decrease your exposure to them, like you’d avoid
a virus. Be at arm’s length.
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
How authors get their book marketing mojo – and avoid failure
easy to tune out the world and just spend a lifetime writing and reading
books.But the ideal would be to have
both – to experience life firsthand AND to interpret it with your writings AND
to get lost in different or better worlds that books provide us.Is this really possible?
are time, money, and the human capacity for creating, experiencing, and
look at all of them:
Time:How do you schedule your most precious
commodity so that you can do what you need to do, what you want to do, and to
write, and to read?
Money:It goes hand in hand with time.You need time to make money and money allows you
to have time to read and write – and to experience life.
Capacity: It requires a shift in our emotional state to observe via book and
not participate in life, and then to participate in life with risks and
rewards, and then to have the creative ability to funnel your experiences,
observations, and dreams into your writings.
as humans, have been trying to figure out forever how we can balance work and play,
writing and living, learning and doing. It’s a challenge that few of us have
been able to meet.
it seems like a vicious cycle.We work
to gain money so that we can afford to not work and have more time to
experience, explore, read, and write – but the more we don’t work, the more
likely we’ll run out of resources, thus, requiring us to work some more.
human is a multi-dimensional experience. A part of us wants to take and be given
things while another part wants to be charitable, help others, and give back to
society.We find humor and reward in
work – and yet we dream of vacations, sleep, and time to just lounge.We like to read about a better life or world,
but then we want to be the one to help create it, both with actions and our
writings.I guess we are always in some
state of want or imbalance.To be human
is to never really be satisfied.
to be human is to always deny the reality we feel confronted by.We look to change things, make adjustments,
and rearrange our surroundings.Sometimes we destroy more than nurture, dismiss more than love, and lose
more than gain.But we are curious,
creative, and compassionate, so if our actions can be driven more by those
things than greed, ignorance, or selfishness, we’ll grow as a society and
maybe we’ll just destroy the world.The
odds really favor destruction.War,
nuclear weapons, hate, fear, ignorance, and environmental degradation can
easily beat out peace, love, and democracy.It only takes a few insane or hate-filled or greedy people to plunge the
world into death and despair, while it seems like it takes the masses to
preserve and save the world.
that’s a dark, pessimistic take on things.Perhaps it’s merely an accurate reflection of world history.It’s something I would rather be wrong
about.The world needs its balance of
time – a time for work, play, rest, creativity, learning, dreaming, and
observing.We need a life that allows
enough time to write and read – and to contribute to society while being
will you carry out enough time for what’s needed and desired, for what you
would like to do and have to do?
For authors and publishers to successfully promote their
books, they will need an effective PR and book marketing strategy. There
is no one-size-fits-all approach, though there are general guidelines to
follow. Here are some approaches to consider:
1.Relying on a single approach heavily
i.e. social media.
Pros: Social media is powerful, far-reaching, and growing,
and costs little to nothing.
Cons: Never limit yourself to a single approach and put all
of your eggs in one basket no matter how appealing it is. Cons: Social media
can be a big time suck if not done strategically.
2.Relying only on a hired gun.
Pros: Hiring an expert publicist or marketer is
invaluable, as they know how to execute a solid campaign. leaving you free to
write and do what you do best.
Cons: You can’t rely only on whom you hire. You also need to
support them by doing what you can do – blogging, tweeting, making appearances,
3.Making a big push once the book is
Pros: Your marketing and publicity is maximized when it hits
at the same time of your book’s launch and first three months of its release.
Cons: While promoting heavily just as a book’s publication
occurs is important, you really need to begin four to nine months prior to your book’s launch, to
seed the marketplace and deal with people who operate way in advance (i.e.
magazine book reviewers work 4-5 months ahead; organizations planning speakers
work 6-12 months out).
4.Copying the campaign strategy of a
Pros: If you can find and reach out to the people and
groups that helped to successfully launch another book you may get to ride
Cons: There may be many reasons why the other book got
so much attention (who wrote it, author’s connections, hired help, etc.) and
chasing down the people who pushed one book won’t necessarily mean they respond
favorably to yours.
5.Sending out a lot of press releases.
Pros: Staying active with the media with new pitches and
timely angles is a good idea. You just have to hope they find one idea
that they like.
Cons: The media doesn’t want to be spammed. By the third
release -- especially if you don’t offer something new and targeted – you’ll
turn off the media from even opening your email. Paid newswire services
that send out mass releases don’t get results, though they may help temporarily
boost your site’s SEO.
6.Buy coverage through advertising.
Pros: Some strategic, cost-effective advertising can provide
ROI and assist in branding efforts. It’s especially useful if you have
multiple books or expensive products/services to sell as well.
Cons: It doesn’t pay for most authors to do a lot of
advertising. Even if you do advertise, it’s a small piece of the
pie. You still need to promote to the media, make appearances, etc.
You need to come up with a plan that meets your needs,
taking into consideration your budget, time availability, skills, contacts,
experience, knowledge, and comfort levels. The plan would likely need to take
into account a rotation of strategies. For instance, you may initially
spend time seeking out speaking engagements and pre-publication book reviews and
then you replace that with a full-court press to get radio and TV
exposure. As the book ages, your approach changes. You also
evaluate success and failure, reassess the market, take into account how people
have reacted to your book, and then take a new approach.
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
How authors get their book marketing mojo – and avoid failure