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Thursday, October 4, 2012

How Do You Promote A Book That Isn’t So Great?



What do you do when the book you are promoting to the media is less than stellar?

This is a tough question but the answer depends on a number of factors.  Consider the following:

If you are a publicist working for a book publisher or PR firm, and you can ask your boss to get out of promoting the book, would you do it? Or would you stick it out?

If you are the author and you realize your book just isn’t that good, you can push onward or withdraw from further promotions.

So, how do you promote a sub-par book?  First, it depends on why the book is not good. Is it boring?  Is it factually incorrect?  Is it poorly written?  Does it need an edit?  Is the topic a bit off-putting or embarrassing?  Get to the heart of why the book is a clunker and then have a plan to address each shortcoming.

If something is so bad, you’d think the publisher would not have printed it in the first place or that the author would realize his or her book needed help and made the necessary changes to release a better book. But many books come to fruition for any number of reasons and there will be times when one is tasked with promoting a weak book.

I would suggest that you only promote the book to places you believe you’d have a chance for achieving success.  Don’t pitch Today when a radio show in the suburb of Kalamazoo would be more appropriate.

Try to make a distinction between the book and the author. Perhaps the author is more interesting than the book, so create stories about him or her, focus and less on the book.  Maybe seek out interviews or byline articles, rather than book reviews.

Perhaps – if possible – find a really good chapter in the otherwise unremarkable book, and play that up more than the book.

It may be that the book is not in as bad shape as you think – maybe you’re being overly critical or are too sensitive about it. Publicists promote books that they would not read for pleasure all of the time, so make a distinction between your professional efforts and your personal preferences.

Lastly, perhaps corrections can be made to the e-book and you just utilize the revised version for promotions – this way you won’t feel embarrassed to send out a book that has serious problems.

Remember, always promote a book as if you love it, even if you don’t.  You can’t promote something half-heartedly and expect to get results.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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