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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How Would Madison Avenue Hawk Your Book?



Does advertising really work?  

Companies spent north of 140 billion dollars in the United States in 2014 on advertising.  Someone thinks it has a pay-off.  It really depends on what you want to accomplish with your advertising.  If your goal is to sell a product, event, or service, the advertising needs to more than pay for itself. But if the advertising also is used for branding purposes and laying the groundwork for something bigger, the value of such a thing as advertising will be hard to define initially – but possibly worth the expenditure.

Advertising books rarely pays off for the author, given he or she only gets a royalty and not the lion’s share of the sale profit.  Further, advertising a book as opposed to a series or a brand, is tough.  So what should an author consider when mulling an ad plan?

First, think of what else you’ll spend money on for promotions and marketing.  Set you priorities.  

Second, explore the possibilities.  Are you doing billboards, infomercials, radio commercials, event sponsorships, pay per click ads, newspaper ads, or something else?  What’s the cost and reach of each method?

Third, gut-check if your book is really worthy of an ad campaign – does it have enough going for it that the selling of the book via some kind of ad will be successful?

Whatever the ad that you create, you’ll need:

·         A catchy headline.
·         A strong visual image.
·         Powerful testimonials or reviews.
·         Snappy ad copy.
·         A compelling reason to buy this, now, from you.
·         An urgent push in your pitch.
·         To explain exactly what you are offering.

You can play up to people’s:

·         fears
·         desires
·         fantasies
·         needs
·         goals
·         pasts
·         optimism
·         humor

What makes your book better than other books – or than free content or competing forms of entertainment and information such as movies, magazines, webinars, etc.?

What is better than an ad that seeks to sell the unfamiliar from an unknown?  Media coverage, speaking engagements, social media, or word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources.  Spend your time on those things.

On the other hand, the news media is desperate for capital, so perhaps you can negotiate good terms. What if you:


  • Buy air time on a local radio station or TV show – and use it to launch your own show.  Perhaps you split the cost with another author or expert.
  • See if you can get the media to agree not to collect a straight ad fee but to share in the profits of all sales that are generated as a result of the ad.
  • Trade books or a service for free or discounted ad time/space with other media.

Advertising requires repetition.  It needs lots of targeted people to experience it multiple times.  You need to make an impression – and then hope it leads someone to take the effort to process a sales transaction.

Before you even consider the cost-analysis of advertising your book do all of the other things readily available to you to market and promote your book.  The best advertisement of a book is you hand-selling it in person, directly to people at a store or event, through a media interview, or through a social media campaign.

Leave advertising to Ford, Coca-Cola, Amazon, and McDonald’s.

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 



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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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