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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

15 Pitfalls to Marketing Your Book


So many books are published every single day of the year, but few are marketed well. There are many reasons why books are not marketed correctly and here are 15 pitfalls to avoid if you want to successfully market your book:

1.      Having A Marketing Plan
I’ll bet more than half of all authors never come up with a marketing plan—an actual document that identifies action steps, budget, timeline and details. Without a map, how do you know which way to go?

2.      Advance Time
I’ll also bet that 75% of all authors do not get started early enough in the marketing process. Some things have to take place three, six—even nine or 12 months before a book is published. Don’t rush or get behind the eight ball—plan ahead so you give yourself enough time to meet deadlines.

3.      Resources
Every marketing campaign needs resources, namely time and money. How much can you dedicate or budget to this? Can you find a way to raise or borrow funds? Is there someone who will help you for free or at a low cost?

4.      Mistakenly Rely On Publisher Or Distributor
Do not expect someone else to do everything that’s needed to market your book. In the end, it comes down to you. If you are self-published or published by an independent or university press, you are on your own. But even with a bigger, traditional publisher, don’t be fooled in to thinking they are doing everything possible to market your book. You are one of thousands to them and unless you’re on their short A-list, you need to hustle.

5.      Misunderstanding Of What Marketing Is
Marketing is the bigger picture. It consists of advertising, sales, publicity, branding, social media, partnerships, speaking engagements and all the things needed to get your book sold and famous. But try to segment things into two categories—sales and PR. Sales is essentially marketing and PR is essentially anything that has to do with the media. Know the difference and cover all the bases.

6.      Being Open To All Ideas
Initially, you need to brainstorm with others and think freely on your own of any and all possible ideas for marketing your book. Don’t filter, edit or censor them. Let them flow out of you. In the end, you may have a few tangible, achievable ideas but you won’t get them until you register all thoughts regarding how to market your book.

7.      Start To Prioritize
Once you have a long list of possible ideas, move towards the probable ones. Start to rank each idea by a number of factors, such as potential reward, cost to enact, risk involved, time and resources needed, and likelihood of success. As good as some of the ideas may seem, at this time under your present circumstances, pick the best ones to rally around and don’t look back.

8.      Have A Vision
You need to dream and dream big—but at some point you need a dose of reality to temper your marketing efforts. You should have a sense of how you’ll achieve what you’re setting out to do. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but don't substitute blind optimism, hope and passion for hard work and a reality-check.

9.      Be On A Mission
Your convictions will drive your success. Always believe in who you are and what you are doing. Once you let doubt or negativity to creep into your mindset, you’ll be thrown off course. Have a sense of being on a mission—with clear objectives and goals for the short- and long-term.

10.  Chart Progress
Using your marketing plan as a checklist, take note of your progress every step of the way. Identify challenges, potential roadblocks, and remove obstacles ahead of time.

11.  Be Willing To Experiment, But Do The Basics Too
Don’t dream so high and far that you forget or ignore the basics to be executed. There’s low-lying fruit that needs to be picked. As long as you are achieving what is expected or reasonable to obtain, go ahead and experiment a little or take a chance on a big idea.

12.  Diversify Your Approach
Often, the book marketing war is won on multiple fronts. You rarely can do just one thing well enough to carry you to the finish line. For instance, you can’t rely just on social media or just speaking engagements or just Facebook ads or just a big mailing to organizations—you need to do many or all of these things and to do each one well enough to make a difference.

13.  Invest In Research
Knowing who you want to contact and finding a way to reach them is vital to your marketing success. You may have a genius idea to collaborate with Starbucks but you must research who to contact, how to reach them, and know all that you can about that person and to anticipate what might influence or drive his ability or willingness to work with you.

14.  Persistence
Good ideas are a start. Repeatedly reaching out and following up with those you want to be in touch with is the key to getting results. Persevere until you get an answer and if the answer is no, find someone else who will say yes.

15.  Get Help From Your Connections
Build up your network—all the time—and don’t shy away from reaching out to them to ask for help. Be specific in what you need and where possible, give them a real incentive to assist you. Too many people don’t network or don’t cash in on the network they’ve built up.

Book marketing is not a mysterious art. It’s quite straight forward, but it involves a lot of moving parts. Take a time out and formulate a plan and identify where you can find help. You’ll need every good idea, friend, and resource that you can get your hands on.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

1 comment:

  1. I see many articles telling me that I need a marketing plan. What I can't find is a step-by-step "how to create a marketing plan" specifically for fiction (I really do need a step by step because I don't know what I'm doing, and I really do need it to be specific for fiction because I've tried working from the instructions I've found online for more general plans and all it's done is confuse me).

    What I'd love to see you post is something like "the twenty steps to a complete plan for marketing your novel" or something similar.

    As for a budget -- the books have to pay for themselves, I'm afraid. That's just a fact of my budgetary life.

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