Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Do You Promote Books Like Dexter?

Over a decade ago, people used to say “I wanna be like Mike,” referring to NBA legend Michael Jordan.  The battle cry for authors may soon be, “I wanna be like Dexter,” the serial-murderer by night, police blood lab geek by day.

What could a man who kills have in common with those looking to promote and market a book?  There are many appealing characteristics to the multifaceted lead character of the hit Showtime series that is now airing its eighth and final season.

Here are 12 traits authors, publishers, book publicists, and marketers should embody – the way Dexter does – in order to showcase their books:

1.      Have a killer instinct.  Know to strike and seize an opportunity.

2.      Don’t second-guess yourself.  Follow through on your intentions and on what your gut tells you to do.

3.      Plan ahead.  Always prepare to attack and plot out the details.  Stay a step ahead of others.

4.      Improvise and be ready to react.  Sometimes a surprise pops up and you need to be ready to deal with it.

5.      Accept your role as a promoter.  Don’t deny what you do and who you are.  Being a marketer is as much a part of you as being a writer – or a lover, a parent, or anything else.

6.      Be passionate about what you do – even if you wished you didn’t have to do it.  Dexter knows he’s carrying a “dark passenger,” this urge to kill, but he knows he needs to temper it.  He’s passionate about what he does and you should throw yourself fully into promoting.

7.      Whether it’s a gift or a curse, exploit your talent.  You may not love promoting, or you struggle to find the time to do it, but when you market a book, call upon all of your skills, resources, and connections.

8.      Sometimes finding a balance doesn’t work.  Dexter can’t live a normal life nor spend time at home when there’s a kill awaiting him.  As a promoter, sometimes you need to be a workaholic. During that window of time for publicity, it’s ok to be obsessed with supporting your book.

9.      Self-preservation rules you.  Whatever you do, don’t get caught.  In this case, it’s don’t get caught doing nothing.

10.  Don’t lie.  This is where you and Dexter diverge.  He has to get what he needs but when promoting, it’s one thing to conveniently manipulate how facts are presented or omitted, but another to blatantly lie.

11.  Work by a code.  Develop a standard by which you will approach PR.  Have a good work ethic and set boundaries.  Dexter had a filter for killing and you must have one when it comes to PR.

12.  Justify your actions.  Dexter finds a way to accept that he’s a killer because he kills only killers.  As a publicist, you can feel good in knowing you are securing media exposure that you deserve.  It’s okay that you’re featured in the news over a story about a homeless child with cancer.  You have every right to peddle your book as if it’s the most important thing, for the media, in the end, serves as the final arbiter of what it wants to feature.

Lastly, accept your uniqueness.  You are a writer and a publicist, with your own voice, style, ideas, and experiences.  Be who you are meant to be and don’t worry about the body count.

You can be like Dexter, and for book publicity, that’s a pretty good role model. 

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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 He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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