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Monday, September 15, 2014

Author’s Role Not Up For Debate


This year’s election has Congress up for a vote – the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate are up for grabs.  But it’s not the presidential election, which doesn’t happen for two more years.  However, come 2016, we’ll see debates amongst the leading candidates and there’s something authors can learn from the underdog candidates – keep barking and looking to score a knockout blow.

Candidates seeking to unseat a favored candidate or a perceived front-runner can’t play it safe.  They need to be out there holding press conferences and going on the attack whenever possible.  They won’t win unless they provoke a controversy and find a way to get others to like them.  Doing nothing or acting passively would be their death.  Authors must take on the mindset of these underdog candidates.  You are running, not for the Oval Office, but to be president of your book.

Does this mean authors will suddenly create a slew of negative attack ads or debate other authors in a bookstore?  Of course not, nor will they have the millions of dollars in resources necessary to travel across the country and do mailers to every American.  But authors should take note in the following ways:

1.      Plan your PR campaign – don’t just wing it.  The candidates get started way in advance of publicly running for office.  You should be taking steps to market yourself at least six to eight months before your book is released.

2.      Be everywhere and anywhere.  Candidates will gladly do media interviews, speaking engagements, and seek to participate in events.

3.      Constantly send out new press releases.  When today’s story doesn’t interest the media, start over with a new hook.  If you throw enough ideas out there, one’s bound to catch on.

4.      Build your social media platform.  A candidate couldn’t run without a website, profile on Facebook, a Twitter account, and other links to YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.  They also blog and do podcasts and use all available tools.  So should authors.

5.      Where candidates will come out with a book to get PR, authors should try to come out with provocative political-like statements to drum up attention.  You need to challenge the status quo, anger someone, criticize a policy, make extreme demands and look to light a fire under a slumbering public.

6.      Come up with a brand and a slogan.  Stick to a theme and stay on message.  Candidates sometimes appear to be characters in a play, with well-defined viewpoints, mannerisms, and looks.  Authors should also consistently voice themselves in a way that becomes a trademark for them.

7.      Speak in a way that invites interest, likability, and agreeableness.  Have people feel emotionally invested in your words.  Speak with energy, wit, wisdom, and a touch of authenticity.  People gravitate to those with charisma, power, and good looks.  Authors need to elevate their game and see their position as important and then to speak and act in accordance with their new-found understanding of where they fall on the spectrum of influence.

I know the analogy of author to presidential candidate is silly.  No one is looking to dig up dirt on an author or to find a way to pressure him or her not to run.  The stakes are different – bestseller fame vs. leader of the free world.  And book publishing is not Beltway politics.  But authors could learn from those who look to use the media to craft an image, a platform, and possibly a new job.

The election is not until 2016, but unannounced candidates are already at work.  Are you already planning to market your next book?


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

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