Thursday, September 4, 2014

11 Book Marketing Truisms

Having marketed books and promoted authors over the past 25 years, I’ve come to discover there are certain rules, truths, or realities associated with marketing and publicizing authors.  Here are 11 of them, though quite frankly there are probably hundreds more to share:

1.      It doesn’t matter how good the book is, but how good the author is.  The media, before deciding whether to interview an author or even determine if they want to see a copy of the book, wants to know what the author will say and if he or she is uniquely qualified to speak on such things.

2.      Timing is everything.  Too often the media is contacted too late.  They have deadlines to meet and when authors don’t get books or press releases out soon enough they’ve closed the door.  Work ahead, think forward.  Book reviewers need the book sent to them three to four months prior to publication at print outlets.  If you want to tie your book to an anniversary, date, honorary week or a holiday, don’t wait until the last minute.

3.      Pitch extremes, not the ordinary.  The media loves fear, disaster, death – and love, birth and human interest stories.  Present story ideas that tap into big emotions and life-altering moments.

4.      Appeal to the personal side of the journalist.  Research them – are they young or old?  Hobbies?  Past jobs?  Where they grew up?  Relationship/child status? Pets? Whatever you learn about them, use it in a pitch so they feel you can relate to them.

5.      Make’em laugh.  If you can win over the media with humor, do it.  They can use a laugh.

6.      Sound like you’ve read, viewed, or listened to their show, site, or publication.  The media loves to get pitches from people who sound like they are familiar with what they do and cover.  Check out the media that you pitch and you’ll gain insight for what they like.

7.      Don’t bother leaving voicemails, but hunt them down.  Voicemail is a waste.  What you should do is press “0” and see if someone can page the person you need or at least tell you of when a better time to call would be.

8.      Capitalize on the news cycle at hand.  What’s in the news now is what you need to tie your pitch to.  Then, once the news changes again, you change with it.

9.      Be exclusive.  One way to get the media’s attention is to say in the email subject line “Exclusive.”  It makes them look because they think it’s important and they don’t want to get beat by a competitor.  Offer them exclusivity and your story immediately is elevated.

10.  It’s a numbers game, pure and simple.  You need to contact a lot of media outlets.  Reach out to multiple people at each outlet, multiple times, in multiple ways (email, call, mail, meeting).  It’s okay to be rejected and ignored over 90% of the time. You live for the yesses and forget the rest.

11.  Never accept “no” or throw in the towel.  Keep trying.  Expect rejection but don’t accept it.  Use it to motivate you to keep digging and to find the one that says yes!

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 He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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