Monday, September 16, 2013

FAQ On Book Publicity

1.      What actually moves books?  The combination of timely and persistent activity on the part of the author and/or publisher to promote, market, and advertise.

2.      What’s the secret combination? Whatever actually works. If you see progress in one area, keep playing the hot hand until it goes cold. Each book may sell for different reasons. There’s no one-size formula to fit all books.

3.      But at a minimum, what’s typically needed? You need a publisher or strong distributor behind you. Otherwise you, as the author, need to do more to not only promote your book to the news media, but to market directly to the consumer. At the very least, it’s a collaborative effort. But often, in any situation, the burden is on the author to make things happen.

4.      If you have good social media, is that enough? No. There’s not a singular path to success. You can’t blog or tweet your way to bestseller lists, though social media helps you in a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the media, consumers, and retailers.

5.      Which social media is important? It depends on how often you use it, how you use it, and the results generated from it. Generally speaking, you need to utilize more than one platform, and often they work together. For instance, you may blog two or three times a week and tweet about your posts and link your blog to your website and also post additional items on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, or YouTube.

6.      How important is search engine optimization? SEO has always been the key to how searches generate your name. A higher-traffic blog or site comes up higher on searches. So do ones loaded with lots of content and the rich use of key words. Most people do not really know how to implement proper SEO and many companies use questionable tactics to juice your SEO for a short period of time (for a fee). There aren’t a whole lot of ethics attached to the process. You just have to have an awareness that SEO is just as important as anything else that you do and to be willing to give way to a pro or paid ads in order to come up high on search engines.

7.      What are the most common mistakes made by authors in regards to publicity?
·         Getting started too late.
·         Failing to have a real plan.
·         Not implementing their strategy effectively.
·         Failing to pay for help.
·         Being overly optimistic or pessimistic.
·         Expecting people to find their book without promotions.
·         Assuming their publisher will do more for them.
·         Getting discouraged after early failure in the process.
·         Relying too heavily on one tool or area instead of diversifying.
·         Trying to promote an inferior product.
·         Not willing to do all that it takes to be successful.

8.      What else do they do wrong?
·         Failing to update their site often and well.
·         Forgetting to ask for the sale.
·         Not nailing the 15-second elevator speech.
·         Failing short in both time and creativity with social media.
·         Using shyness as an excuse.
·         Making bad assumptions and then letting them dictate at your actions.

9.      What are some best practices when it comes to social media?
First, do it. Do it often and do it consistently.
Second, use images to support your words.
Third, respond to those who query you or comment on posts.
Fourth, look to build yourself up and not tear others down.
Fifth, come off as sharing substantive content and not just a commercial for your book.
Sixth, use catchy headlines, subjective lines, photo captions, etc.

10.  What else must I do?
·         Build a mailing list
·         Google yourself and manage your online reputation
·         Key word research is needed- go to Google, Wordtracker, or Market Samurai
·         Try all kinds of social media, not just the most popular sites
·         Do everything successful authors do AND do something they don’t do

The FAQ could be 110 questions. I chose the above 10 just to initiate you into common questions that arise for all of those looking to promote a book. The answers could each take a blog post to answer, but hopefully this overview gives you some ideas and guidance. Good luck!

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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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