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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Promote Your Book Like A Girls Softball Team



Sometimes a little knowledge is better than a lot. I have found this to be true while coaching a softball team of 15 eight-and-nine-year-old girls.  It’s also true when showing authors how to promote and market their books.

My daughter’s team, The Marlins, is a happy-go-lucky caravan of energy bursts, smiles, and an eagerness to learn and please others. Authors looking to establish and grow their brand, increase sales, secure media coverage, and position themselves to lock down future book deals are also filled with enthusiasm, a desire to grow, and a hunger to excel.

Teaching softball to these kids is a lot of fun, but I realize that I can only teach them 20% of what I know.  Why?  Because they can only absorb so much, so fast.  They need to learn certain core skills before they can build on that foundation.  If I can just get them to hit the ball, throw in a straight line, and run to the right base I will have accomplished something.  

But I also teach them how to overcome fear, to get more out of themselves, and to enjoy whatever they are doing.  But deep strategy and the intricacies of the game will have to wait for another day.  So it goes for authors.  Before we strategize on getting the cover of a magazine, hitting the NYT best-seller list, or getting a TED Talk, we need to tackle the 15-second elevator speech, how to answer a reporter’s questions, and when to seek out certain media opportunities.

Authors want to do it all right away. They believe they have a great book and deserve to be enriched by it.  They may have toiled for years to produce this book and see their work as a ticket to fame and wealth.  But they need to crawl before they walk and to walk before they run, and to sprint before they do a marathon.

If authors can accelerate in a few key areas, they can position themselves for growth.  Like the girls learning softball, authors need to learn many, many, skills, strategies, and rules of the playing field.  Authors need to start with a message, persona, or idea and branch out.  Once they understand what their unique selling proposition is, they can express it on their web site, social media profiles, blog posts, speeches, and interactions with the media, book marketplace, and potential readers.

So before you say you want to sell a lot of books, break it down to making sure you have a lot of blog readers or FB fans or Twitter followers.  And before you can amass big numbers on any of those channels, ask yourself about the compelling message, the interesting personality or the image and content quality you are sharing. Figure out who you are and how you want to sell yourself before you do anything else.

Then start swinging for doubles and triples. Then you can start to think of turning a double-play and not just going for one out.  Then you can understand when to run from first to third and not settling for second base.  Then you’ll understand how to positon yourself and anticipate where the play will happen rather than just reacting.

You are my nine-year-old softball player.  The good news is you can mature and grow faster than them.  You have the physical, financial and intellectual makeup to learn and grow. But make sure you learn and excel at the basics before you look to tackle your bigger ambitions.

By the end of the spring season I hope that the young ladies will have each improved, and along the way enjoy their journey.  I hope you too will learn and grow -- and come to appreciate the journey of today’s authors.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 © 2016

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