Thursday, April 28, 2016

Trade, Pay, Act & Network: 4 Ways to Market Your Book

I am always telling authors, whether they are first-time novices or veterans of multiple best-selling books, the key to success is to go all-out on book marketing and publicity.  That is actually more important than making a book great.  A mediocre book with great PR often does better than a superior book with little or no marketing behind it.

It doesn’t matter what genre you write in.  It doesn’t matter if your publisher is big, small, a university press or an independent.  It doesn’t matter what your book is about, how it’s written or designed, or how catchy your title and cover appears to be.  You have to promote and market the heck out of it.

But some authors lack the key elements to promote:
·         Knowledge:  They don’t know what to do, when, or how.
·         Ability;:  They lack certain skills needed to sell themselves.
·         Time:  Everyone is short on this.
·         Money:  You need it if you want a professional helper.
·         Personality: You don’t want to talk about yourself or book.
·         Mental Make-up:  You fear public speaking or desire anonymity.
·         Attitude:  You think you shouldn’t have to blow your own horn, that the book sells itself.

So how do you get some marketing success when you lack one or more of the above?

You either do what you can and supplement the rest, or you outsource everything, or you do nothing and pray that you get discovered.

If you recognize that you need help, you have a few options:

·         Pay for professional services.
·         Pay less for amateur services.
·         Trade your services/resources with others.
·         Barter with your network for help.
·         Borrow funds and resources.
·         Seek an investor or sponsor to fund your efforts.
·         Use Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites.

So what can authors do to make sure they have exhausted all possible avenues for success?  They must act with a sense of urgency and assume a mindset of desperation.  They can’t have a wait-and-see attitude.  They can’t be laid back in their approach.  They can’t just hope to win the lottery or be dependent on the kindness of strangers.  Nor can they risk debt or bankruptcy to take a dream and turn it into reality.

First, you do what you are capable of and what you enjoy doing.  I don’t mean writing.  I’m talking about the specter of book marketing and PR that you do well.  Let’s say you are good at research and emailing people, but not so good in networking.  Let’s say you are good at getting speaking gigs but not at securing media coverage.  Perhaps – you know how to get radio interviews but social media baffles or even frustrates you.  Know what you do well and identify what needs to be outsourced.  Accept the things that you will ignore, that neither will you do yourself nor get others to do for you.

Second, identify who can help you do the things you plan to outsource.  Query them on capabilities, fees and past performance.  Find people you can work with.  You likely will need multiple experts to help you if you have numerous areas that you require help in.  There are no one-stop-shopping pros in the book world.

Third, figure out how to work your network, as well as build it up.  What will you ask of them – and give in return?  How will you reach the networks of your network?

Fourth, think of how to trade with people who can help you.  I don’t mean paying your web guy with books or compensating someone with sexual favors, but what you can and should do is think of what it is that you have digitally that is perceived to be of value of others.  Incentivize others to buy your book not only because it’s a great book at a great discount – or because they are your friend or colleague – but because by doing so they will be rewarded with a free item.  It can be a prior ebook.  It can be a webinar.  It could be copies of presentations, missing chapters, or a resource guide.  It can be something that belongs to someone else.  Share the digital resources of fellow authors – not only does it help you sell your book but the authors that you help promote will be willing to share your stuff with their list of connections.  It’s a win-win.

Lastly, you need to simply take the extra step or do the thing you didn’t think you were capable of doing.  To break through you need to do more than you think possible and to try things you never did.  That’s how you get moving from point A to point C: pay others, trade with others, exploit your networks, and do work on your own.

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. 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 © 2016

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