Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Book Publishing 1% -- The Good And The Bad

The book publishing industry, like every other industry, has a handful of wild successes and many, many more stories of failure and falling short of reaching one’s goals. It’s no different than the lottery – you have a handful of winners, and the rest are wannabe winners. Call it the 1% complex.

1% of the country is filthy rich. There’s a shrinking middle class, and then there’s the rest – working-class poor on down to the homeless. Something like fewer than 100 people in our world have a combined wealth equal to the bottom half of the planet. Yes, about 3,500,000,000 people equal the wealth of less than 100. But does this cause people to demand capitalism be shunned? The opposite has happened. The rich-poor disparity and slow-growing economy has spurred people to try being entrepreneurs.

Book publishing holds out the promise of being a bestselling author, but we know that less than 1% of all authors ever become bestselling ones. And being a bestselling author could be a short-lived, even unprofitable possibility. But no one is turning away from the chance to become a bestselling author.

Knowing the odds are against you stops few in this country from trying. In fact, it seems to inspire many to fight the odds. We let our dreams lead us.

Perhaps the idea of bucking the odds to get published and bought has invited millions of writers to pursue writing books. But what is guiding them to then take their book and promote or sell it effectively?

You can’t copy the methods of the 1%, simply because some of their methods are unknown, not available to you, or such methods existed under circumstances that no longer exist.

There’s no straight formula or path to follow, except that you should avoid the paths of others that can’t be replicated. For instance, if everyone is sending their book to 20 reviewers, you have a choice:

(1)               Will you send it to the same 20 – and stop there?
(2)               Will you send it to a different 20 instead?
(3)               Will you send it to the same 20 – but in such an unusual, attention-getting way?

The 1% club in book publishing may have your attention but the best approach to book publicity and book marketing is one that is customized and uniquely built around your assets and resources.

One thing I have noticed:

Though money can influence whether a book is successful, no amount of money guarantees success. How you spend it, when you spend it, and what quality book/author is attached to the money will be key too. Further, a great book will not be a success unless it has a champion behind it, and often a concerted effort or professional campaign is used to inspire or work with this champion person, group, or force. Few books succeed accidentally, but not all books that have a manipulative PR machine behind them advance far.

So what’s the take-away here? Realize that fewer than 1% of those who take to the written word truly succeed if success is defined by fame, fortune, and bestseller status. But if you aspire to join the ranks of the 1%, be prepared to do some things that were not part of the playbook of that 1%.

But one thing is certain: keep educating yourself on what can be done to promote your book and keep trying your best. And never stop reading Book Marketing Buzz Blog!


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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