Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What To Do When Book Marketing Fails You

Many authors and publishers throw their hands up in the air out of frustration and fear when it comes to proactively marketing a book.  Some do little or nothing but expect more results, while others do a lot but not necessarily the right things.  And others do many things well but wish they could get more out of their efforts.  What is one to do when he or she feels they hit a brick wall?

First, truly take stock of what you’ve done and assess the results.  Of the things you’ve done, what did what exactly?  Ask yourself where you can improve things when it comes to the specific things you did.  Could you do more of something, less of another?  Would you do it a different way?

Second, list other things you could do but have not done.  Are you examining all of your options or have you left some off the table, either accidentally or intentionally?

Third, have you examined what your competitors are doing?  What seems to be working for them?

Fourth, question your thinking or your values system as it relates to book marketing.  Perhaps you’re operating under some type of limited thinking, misinformation, or prejudice that is interfering with what you do and how you go about doing it.

Fifth, are you doing the right things – but at the wrong time?  For instance, advertising your book in a magazine of targeted readers might make sense, but perhaps you need to do several other things before you’re up to that point.  Or, in the case of sending books to reviewers at magazines and newspapers, send them four months prior to publication, not two months after your book launches.

Sixth, maybe you did the right thing, but you just didn’t do it well.  Perhaps you contacted 30 organizations to inquire about lining up a speaking engagement, but you failed to write a really good email to highlight why they should want you.  Maybe you didn’t include the right links or you offered a speaking topic that is off-target for the groups.  Maybe your letter had an error or misspelling that turned off the recipient.  Go back and see how you could improve what was already done.

Seventh, ask others for guidance or help. Sometimes a second pair of eyes – or a supportive voice – can help a lot.  Reach out to others without expectation and you may just be surprised at the results.

Eighth, think about what can be done better or differently if you were to use a professional.  Instead of hiring a college kid to contact bloggers –and instead of doing it yourself – you hire a pro who specializes in book publicity.  Sometimes, an outsider can contribute greatly.

Ninth, sometimes it’s not the book marketing that’s failing, but the book itself.  Maybe you are trying to market a book with limited potential.  Perhaps the price is too high, the cover’s ugly, or the title is confusing.  Maybe the topic doesn’t excite people or the book is simply not well written.  If you conclude the book is the issue – and not the marketing – stop everything and move on.

Tenth, sometimes you are doing what’s right – and doing it well – and things just don’t go your way.  It happens.  In such cases you can persevere and keep going, hoping that something will change and a breakthrough opportunity will present itself.  Others take a break and simply try something new, hoping to shake things up.  And others may look to repackage or re-release their book in some fashion, seeking to give it a second life.  For instance, they print a new edition with added materials, maybe change the title, and give it a bit of a makeover.

They key is not to give up, get angry or depressed, or to act as if you have no control over your fate.  With book marketing there’s always a path to pursue, always a method to try.  If the book’s good and you still believe in it, you’ll find the marketing path that’s right for you.

If not, donate your books to the nearest library and get started on the next book!


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 © 2015

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