Thursday, October 23, 2014

What One Can Do To Market A Book

What would you do to promote your book if you had lots of resources, namely time and money, to give it its optimal chance of success?

First, you exploit loopholes in how best-sellers are calculated and you strategically unleash a campaign to process pre-orders of your book to people you know – friends, relatives, employers (if you own a business) and social media connections.  You can buy them for other people but use their credit cards and then reimburse them.  Sales will count towards the best-seller list and you’ll now be called a best-selling author.

Second, you would hire a public relations team to generate media coverage for your book.

Third, you would engage a social media specialist who’d use SEO tricks, Google and FB ads, and create and circulate content across numerous social media platforms – Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  All things would direct people to your website and to order the book.

Fourth, you’d go on a speaking circuit of bookstores, libraries and organizations (businesses, non-profits, schools, churches, and gov’t agencies).

Fifth, you’d pay for ads in The New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, select websites like Huffington Post Books, and targeted publications such as Bloomberg BusinessWeek for a finance book or People for an entertainment book or Cosmopolitan for a book on relationships.

Now, keep in mind, one can easily spend $400,000 to execute a campaign like this – and may not come close to making this investment back in book sales.  However, by becoming a bestselling author with a big social media following and a sparkling traditional media resume, you can position yourself for other types of success, such as:

·         Getting a book deal from a big publisher
·         Selling other products or services
·         Being hired as a consultant/expert
·         Getting noticed by a speaker’s bureau (they will get you paid gigs)
·         Having a platform to speak out on a topic
·         Being in a position to share a truly valuable message that helps people

Book marketing and promotional campaigns can really put an author on the map.  Once your brand is established, you can build on it and leverage your new found fame.

Authors have to determine what their goals are and how much time and money they are willing to invest.  There are times when it makes sense to spend $25,000-$35,000 to push a book.  There are a handful of times when one should or could spend $75,000-$100,000 and it’s very rare any person or company spends $200,000 or more.  Sometimes spending $10-$15,000 wisely can have a pay-off.  It depends on a number of factors.

First, prioritize what you plan to invest money into.  Same with your time.  Create a metric by which to judge your success.  As you monitor progress and see there’s a short and/or long-term payoff to your investment, consider expanding and putting more into it.  But if you find you aren’t getting traction, throw in the towel and try again another day, with another book, with a different game plan.

I wonder sometimes what can be done if someone has time to dedicate to their book promotions and marketing, when that person will spend 24-7 on it.  Most people work or write or have a life while trying to promote a book.  But what if you took a sabbatical from it all and just went all-out on your book publicity.

Imagine if you had a whole week to just email people, make calls, mail books, visit stores or groups, and connect via social media.  Or two weeks?  Or four?

If PR, marketing, and sales are a numbers game and you make enough calls and send enough emails, shouldn’t you see the needle move?  The extent of your success begins with quality outreach, not quantity.  Calling the right places and saying the right things is much better than blasting out a weak message to a zillion people.  However, if you do your research or get advice on who to approach and have accurate contact information and make a compelling case for a truly good book by a credentialed author in a timely but assertive manner, the only thing limiting your success is the quantity of people contacted.

I tweet 24 times a day, thanks to TweetDeck.  That’s once an hour.  What if I increased that to twice an hour, or 48 times a day?  Or how about 10 times an hour – one every six minutes?  Will I turn my followers off more than I gain people to click on tweeted links?

Instead of over-tweeting, should I expand to another social media platform, such as Google+ or Instagram?  I already do LinkedIn and Facebook, although I could spend more time engaging people there as well.

Maybe instead of tweeting more I research more people to connect to and send more direct tweets to strengthen existing contacts.

Perhaps I should expand to audio with podcasts or video on YouTube.  One can spend all day and night on any and all of these platforms.  I wonder what kind of payoff people have if they literally spend 10-12 hours a day on social media for 10-20 days in a row, compared to one or two hours a day, if that, during workdays?

Try it and let me know.  Success is based on ideas, connections, luck, quality products, and effort.  Perhaps if one makes a concerted, focused effort to drive their social media activity crazy, he or she can break through the clutter.

Social media is the one thing that has no limits, and few gatekeepers.  You can create your own media and blast it out there.  But there are constraints, namely time, one’s knowledge, one’s creativity, one’s strategy, and one’s ability to say what people want to hear in a way they’ll buy.

Good luck in whatever you do.  Just do something – and a lot of it!


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

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 © 2013

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