Thursday, November 10, 2011

Publishers Need To Partner With Cockroaches

My six-year-old son attended an event at a local temple on Sunday.  The featured speaker was a guy who brings cool animals for show and tell – a rabbit, lizard, snake, chinchilla, a dove.  He even brought two giant roaches for a race.  The kids loved it.  But the book marketer in me says an opportunity was lost. Publishers and authors who have books about animals should be going around and presenting, just like this guy, and selling books.

Lots of them.

Some authors do this, but most don’t.

There are thousands of temples, churches, non-profits, and day cares that could bring in an author and have the parents pre-pay for a discounted book.  This seems like a targeted group of consumers to go after, rather than holding bookstore singings where six people show up.

So why don’t more people sell books to groups?  It’s a time-consuming process to locate the right group’s contact person, reach them, win them over, and process an order.  But it’s worth it.  There are no returns and you get to put your book in the hands of people who will spread that word-of-mouth that is coveted by authors.

To sell a book these days requires a little bit of everything: media exposure, targeted marketing, appearances, book clubs, social media networking, and advertising (just a little). There is no single route to being a successful author that will work for everyone or work often, other than to diversify your efforts and market, promote and advertise relentlessly.

Online Ads Growing, Slowing

From 2010 to 2015 the amount of money spent on online advertising is expected to nearly double its annual spend of $49.5 billion, according to eMarketer. However, growth over the next few years is poised to dip below double digits. In 2011, online ad spending rose by 20.2% from the prior year; it will only increase by 8.8% in 2015.  Does this mean other areas of marketing, PR and advertising will grow, as well, or will the behemoth of online ads continue to dominate?  Truth is, no one has a clue. Who can predict three years out from now? 

Who knows how the economy will be or what gadget or service will be created that revolutionizes how we sell stuff?  For book marketing I don’t believe digital advertising plays a big role in a book’s success. The average book should be promoted to the media and marketed to targeted groups.  Few consumers buy off an ad unless the ad simply reminds them of their favorite, best-selling author now has a new book out.  But to establish a new author or book brand, digital ads are the last thing to spend on.

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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