Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Publishing: Trick Or Treat?

In honor of Halloween, here are six “tricks” for better book marketing:

Be Creative
I was walking down Lexington Avenue the other day, rushing from my office towards Grand Central Station.  I noticed a large electronic bulletin board with the words Shish Kabob brightly lit across it.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  A street vendor with a push cart who sells pretzels, hot dogs and shish kabobs was promoting his street corner enterprise with this bulletin board that was about 1 1/2 feet high and stretched around the cart’s eight-foot perimeter.  It certainly does what it is intended to do:  Get your attention amidst a crowded marketplace.  Book publishers and authors should think like this guy and explore how they can get their message out front and center.

Be Hot
A young, attractive woman with a great smile and body to match was handing out toothpaste samples on another corner.  For her she used her tight clothes, draped around a curvaceous body, as her billboard.  Men were drawn to her and women wanted to be like her.  She wasn’t slutty, just naturally beautiful. She possessed a seductive innocence. Book publishing knows a little bit about using sex to push books when it publishes books that are provocative or when it poses attractive authors to grace its covers.  Still, the industry can benefit from a makeover.  Newspaper trade groups are running a campaign that reading newspapers is sexy. Maybe book publishers should adopt that approach too.

Break The Rules
In the past week, have you jaywalked, exceeded the speed limit while driving, told a non-truth to a colleague, or avoided paying taxes by paying cash for something? Perhaps all of the above?  That’s okay. Sometimes you need to break the rules out of convenience, boredom or need. Think of other “rules” that you follow when promoting or marketing a book. Break some of them. I don’t want to encourage you to break the law or act unethically, but it’s fine to find ways around the things you find to be too limiting. Liberate yourself!

Be Bold
Doing and saying what everyone else does or says will get you nowhere. You need to be different, better, unique and bold.  Take some chances and promote your book like you have nothing to lose.

Be Smart
Don’t put all of your brainpower into words. As a writer, marketer, or publicist it’s natural that you love words and use them to communicate what you want done. But you need to go beyond words to convince people they should buy your book, so apply your intellect, wit, and savvy style in a way that wins people over.

Wear A New Mask
For Halloween you can pretend to be anyone you want to be. With the right mask, clothes, makeup and props you can be a superhero, a devil, a vampire, a witch or whatever you like. Want to be a whore, a maniacal killer, a hero?  You can be anyone you want, without reprisal.  Why not put on a new mask after Halloween, one that only you can see.  The mask can liberate you.  You can now assume the image of a great author, top-notch book marketer, or elite editor.  Become your dream.

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 He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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