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Monday, July 2, 2018

Is Great Book Marketing Advice Wasted On Authors?



I recently served as a panelist at Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute 5th Annual Publish and Promote Conference and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  I like to help authors succeed.  But in listening to another panel that day, it occurred to me that the attendees may not be fully aware of what they need to know, and that many can’t quite process how true and helpful some of the advice being shared really is.

It’s similar to a parent-child relationship.  Parents look to inculcate certain values, share important experiences, and convey specific ideas or views, but their children simply lack enough experience to fully appreciate or understand what’s being shared with them.

One factor is, well, "That was true for you, back then but I’m me, now, in a new circumstance and environment."  And they may be right, to a degree, but more often than not, they are judging too harshly the wisdom we look to provide.  Too bad youth is wasted on the young.

Another factor is: " I plan to do things differently or better, and what happens to others won’t necessarily happen to me." This, too, can be true, but more likely than not if you repeat the mistakes of others you’ll experience similar consequences.

So how do we help others – whether as experts in publishing, parents, or some type of coach, from sports to business?

I know new or struggling authors want good advice.  And many try to implement some of the ideas given to them.  But sometimes certain things just don’t click with the writer and he or she can’t find a way to enact something that they know needs to be done.

Sometimes it’s a matter of economics.  Other times, it’s something psychological.  But some kind of barrier exists – or at least authors believe they do – and therefore, an author can’t go from point A to B without a struggle.

Other times I think people in need of advice just don’t hear things the way experts say them.  I may say something from a place of knowing and the author listens, from a place of not knowing, and perhaps my reference points, examples, or specific directions get lost in translation.

A lot of life is live and learn.  It’s experimental.  We need to witness or experience things firsthand to be in a position to truly act in our best interests.  Sometimes a pro telling us what to do just doesn’t cut it.  We have to find our way by choosing a path – risks and rewards aside – and learn what works for us and what doesn’t.

But if I had a few words of advice for authors to heed, it would be:  Please listen to experts and at least try to act on some of their advice.  They can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.

Many authors get bad advice. Others get good advice but doubt or don’t understand it.  Many authors simply don’t find out – until it’s too late – that certain things need to be done a certain way by a specific date.  I’ve tried, with nearly 2,900 blog posts over seven years, to set the record straight and inform, enlighten, and inspire authors to success.  Sometimes I wonder if I really make a difference.

Even, in my capacity as chief marketing officer for MEDIA CONNECT, one of the leading book publicity firms in the world, I often feel that my professional guidance, insightful advice, experience-based strategy, and visionary ideas go wasted an authors who fail to grasp – or choose to act on – the simple truisms of book publicity.

Everyone wants to be a best-seller without really putting in the work.  People love the idea of having a book published, but they’re less excited to drive its marketing.  They say they want to know what to do but, like an obese person seeking the help of a nutritionist, they lack the willpower or feel they don’t have the resources to be successful.

Look, some authors get it.  They read up, take advice to heart, plan ahead, have dreams, and invest their time and money to really make a go at building their brand, selling books, and promoting their message to the news media and targeted groups.  They learn from their mistakes, and are willing to make more.  They’ll sacrifice short-term inconvenience for long-term gains.

Being an author in today’s ever-changing book marketing landscape is challenging and demanding.  You are going up against mega competition to sell your product – a book – and you are seeking to break through a record amount of clutter to pierce a quantity of quality media outlets.  

Maybe too many authors feel burdened by all that’s needed to be done to spread the word about their book – especially after having researched, written, and edited a 60- or 80-thousand-word book that they either were responsible for publishing or had to find a literary agent to get a publisher.

But excuses, competition, laziness, ego, or ignorance aside,  I want to see more authors succeed and to get their writing careers elevated and books embraced by the masses.  Authors can create entire worlds and make a real difference with their words.  But they’ll need to go beyond just writing in order for their writings to make their mark.

Authors need to listen to people like me, who try to tell them in clear terms, what they need to do - or avoid doing – to have a chance at being truly successful.  It’s not that I know everything, because I don’t, but I know a lot and I just want to see really good writers give themselves the best possible chance to achieve.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

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