Monday, March 12, 2012

How Do You Sell Your Book?

There are so many ways to sell a book these days. The question is: What’s your budget, how much time can you invest, and which methods will work best for you?

·         Should you create a video and try to make it go viral?
·         Will you advertise in newspapers and magazines, or on TV or radio?
·         Can you advertise on Web sites or through Google Ad Sense?
·         Do you plan to use direct mail or buy lists to do e-blasts?
·         Will you telemarket key groups or individuals?
·         What will you do for search engine optimization?
·         Will you pay for social media advertising?
·         Will you buy a booth at a convention?
·         Will you use mobile marketing via text or phone?
·         Will you create an app?
·         Will you pay for a flier to be selected in a group’s mailing or distributed to an event’s attendees?

There are many choices and thus many decisions to make. The option that has a potential payoff is to fund a PR campaign – to hire someone to conduct a media campaign, where your book gets reviewed, you get interviewed, book excerpts are posted or you guest blog or write by-line articles. Consumers are more likely to buy-in when they hear about you through a respected third-party source vs. seeing you in an ad pop-up somewhere.

The key to remember is that the marketing or promoting of a book is different from many products and services because of distribution, price points, competition, and other factors. Another key point is you need to diversify your approach. You can’t just do radio interviews or only Google Ads to move the dial. You need a combination of PR, marketing and advertising, and further, you need a blend or mix of services within each of those disciplines.

You’ll also need:
·         Timing
·         Luck
·         Money
·         A Platform
·         A great book
·         A catchy title
·         An attractive book cover
·         A big pool of potential readers
·         A long-term plan

It’s not easy to sell books, but if done right, the campaign will yield results for now and plant seeds for the future. Good luck.

Smartphone Ownership Lends Marketing Insight
Which age group has a greater usage of smartphones than any other? 71% of 25-34 year olds own a smartphone. Next? 67% of 18-24 year olds own the device. The numbers drop down from there. 54% of 35-44 year-olds have them, 44% of 45-54 year-olds have them, and only 22% of the 55+ set own a smartphone. Source: The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

E-Book Market Share Poses Problems
What do you do when e-books are sold primarily from just two sources, and even amongst them there is a huge disparity? What’s needed is more competition and diversification of the marketplace, otherwise Amazon remains like Mr. Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life:  It wants to own the country the way he owned a town. Amazon, according to a Wall Street Journal report, accounts for 60% of all e-book sales. Barnes and Noble has half that, with a 30% share Apple, in third, accounts for just 6%, and then all other options combined only make up 4% of the e-marketplace.

Interview With Fiction Author Dale Thompson, Writing as Pat Dale

  1. Dale, as an author of mystery, suspense and romance, where does your inspiration to write come from? Inspiration for me comes from dozens of sources. My first novel was inspired, literally, by a rainbow prism of light reflected off the gorgeous hair of a waitress in a café where I was having my afternoon coffee. You know, that sudden ‘what-if’ and my imagination was sparked. Three months later, I had a 130K novel on my hands. I’m a daydreamer. A sad piece of music can provoke poignant memories of things that never happened. Story ideas have never been a problem. Finding time to write the ones I have was a problem. Now that I’ve settled into writing full time, I just have to make best use of my time.

  1. What do you think makes for a great writer or a wonderful book? A wonderful book goes a long way to making a great writer, so I’ll concentrate on that. In my estimation, a wonderful book has to be carried by a great protagonist. Not necessarily a person you’d like to know or to be, but one who has heroic characteristics that he/she does not abandon when the going gets tough. I’ve created such a character in my new mystery series. Daniel Quinn is a homicide cop in St. Louis, but he doesn’t play well with others and has a tendency to let common sense get the better of him. So, he’s considered a rogue by his boss and fellow cops.  I’m not saying that creating Quinn will make me a great writer, or make the books wonderful. What I am saying is, if you can’t come up with an extraordinary lead character, your chance of becoming great is greatly diminished, in my view.

  1. What is your current or upcoming book about? Sorry. I got worked up on my answer to that last question and veered into this one. The first of my new St. Louis Blues Mysteries, Toccata, will be released in May. I’ve just sent in the second book, Blood Lust, and am in the beginning stages of the third, A Fatal Flaw. Toccata begins with accomplished pianist/psychologist Sera Moreland and a case of juvenile abduction in the city. Daniel Quinn is drawn into the story and, with Sera’s help, goes about solving a series of abductions in a most unconventional way. In Blood Lust, Quinn and Moreland tackle an escalating series of murders, eventually uncovering a scandal at the top level of police work. In book three, they’re confronted with a stealth autopsy expert/killer, who leaves professionally autopsied bodies all over mid-city. The mad genius is finally caught because of a fatal flaw in his scheme.

  1. Any advice for a struggling writer? Yes. Keep struggling. If you give up, you’ve lost. If you keep it up, you may make it if your ideas and your writing style give readers something they’ll like. If you’re not struggling, you’re not working hard enough. ‘Nuff said.

  1. Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? Now this is a tough question. I wish I had a crystal ball that wasn’t on the blink. I’m an old guy, but with a background in electronics, and I saw the digital era on the horizon a quarter century ago. Trying to keep up with it is tough. I know enough about electronics to realize that our entire education system is on the cusp of revolution. Just as kids will soon be carrying tablets or their equivalent, with an entire year’s worth of studies loaded up and ready to go, we’ll all be reading books, news, you name it, from similar kinds of devices. That’s the easy part. Maintaining a way for the artist to be rewarded for his creative efforts is the hard part. Just as some folks think it’s okay to be able to ‘steal’ music from musicians without paying for it, some also think they are entitled to my books at no cost to themselves. Sorry, Charlie. Just as doctors, technicians, clothiers, etc., deserve to be paid for their contributions, artists have the same rights. The virtual world of the internet makes distribution simple, but it creates too many ways to enable piracy. Solving that will be a godsend for us all. One thing for certain, we’ll lose lots fewer trees to literacy.

For more information about Dale/Pat, an author of mystery, suspense, and romance, please see:

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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