How do you become a best-seller? How do you get on the Today Show? How do you get more book reviews?
These are the questions I am most often asked. The answers to these questions, in some way, are very simple and clear. But the real question one should ask is: How do you do something differently and in a way that will put a book on the map?
There are many ways to make a book successful. There are even more ways to fall short of even mere mediocrity. One needs a strategy – success rarely just happens.
To evolve in your book marketing, you will need to take a hybrid approach. First, at a minimum, do what is necessary and expected, so that you secure media attention and sales for your book. Second, do the unusual, atypical, not-so-ordinary thing that could propel your book forward in a way that can’t fully be planned or anticipated.
For the first part, there are no shortcuts. You need to contact lots of media, in a targeted and timely manner, with strong pitches – and then hope for a breakthrough.
For the second part, you need more than money or a publicist – you need creativity. We’re talking bigger picture here. What can you do to get your book in front of lots of people or lots of potential consumers that meet your reader demographic?
Do you employ a stunt, and if so, to what degree will you go? Will you break the law and risk arrest? Will you hurt someone or risk your health? Are you looking to start a controversy, fight, or lawsuit?
If you start to think that nothing is off the table, your mind opens up to all kinds of possibilities, even if they are crazy, risky, or costly. Maybe, for brainstorming purposes, you need to allow yourself the freedom to think anything is possible, however improbable, and then edit the list down.
How far would you be willing, to go to get attention for your book? Sometimes the book is controversial enough to merit attention, but often authors need a press conference or an event to magnify an issue and draw media exposure.
It’s been a while since a book made news for revealing something so strange, horrible, amazing, or newsworthy. But the marketing surrounding a book can be any of those things.
So what will you do to light a fire? The event doesn’t have to directly link to the content of your book. Let’s say your book is science fiction and the plot centers around Mars and Russia. Your stunt could be related to space-travel and powerful nations or it can be about something totally different, such as protesting school budget cuts for science. You can use the PR to make a link – that without teaching science, great things such as what’s featured in the book will never come true. Or worse, without enough qualified scientists out there, a handful of renegade scientists may control the world the way the fictional book depicts.
Book marketing is not a static practice. It changes. What worked today may not work tomorrow. Keep experimenting and thinking big. Take a risk and try to create something where nothing exists. Evolve, or perish. You can find a way to be heard – just contemplate if the price is worth it. The bigger the potential reward, the bigger the risk or cost. But if you don’t try something, you’re left with nothing.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013
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