Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why Must You Promote Your Book?

Imagine you write a great book.  It gets published.  Book reviewers find the book on their own and rave about it.  Bookstores sell copies faster than they can reorder them.  Book clubs voluntarily adopt your book.  Foreign publishers inquire about rights to publish in their languages and movie studios want to option your story.

Does it sound like a fantasy?

Well, yes, it is!

This scenario may play out once or twice a year.  The rest of the publishing world has to make its own breaks. Little happens organically or accidentally in book publishing.  Often there’s a force behind a book that propels it forward.  Marketing and publicity drive sales and today’s author has to push his or her brand or they are left to the mercy of the marketplace, one that’s deluged with some 2,000+ new titles released every single day of the year – including weekends, holidays, blizzards, birthdays, and election days.

Authors will say:  “Why can’t I just write and let sales take care of themselves?”

Well, if you are self-published you know that no one else is pushing your book if you don’t.  It simply will not sell on its own.  There’s no guarantee it will sell even with a big marketing campaign, but there’s a virtual guarantee it’ll die if you don’t promote it.

If you have a publisher, don’t expect them to do a lot for you, no matter what they say.  They may have good intentions – they want the book to sell – but they have different motives and models for success that often do not position them to promote your book as much as you need it to be promoted. Let me explain.

A publisher may publish books that it believes can earn a profit or at least break even.  When it publishes a book it believes that several will break through and make a lot of money.  It will put its limited resources into promoting the handful of books it is banking on.  The rest get few or no resources at all.

Even when the publisher shows support for a title, it can only go on for so long for so much.  But the author can always -- and should – supplement their efforts.

The publisher and author have different goals, though they both want more sales.  A publisher has to first make sure it recovers its investment.  An author is looking to sell books to earn a royalty beyond his advance.  A publisher only cares about book sales, whereas an author cares about branding, being in a position to earn a new book deal, and possibly improving one’s speaking career, consulting business, or professional track.  Both would love for other rights deals – foreign, audio, movie, digitally, theater – to come of it, too.

The beauty about book marketing is there’s always something that could be done and you can rest assured even if you have a very active publisher they are not doing everything, nor doing anything for too long.  You must fill in the gaps.  Look at what could be done to promote a book and divide and conquer the tasks:

·         Contacting the news media’s book reviewers prior to publication.
·         Blogging, You Tubing, Podcasting, Webinars.
·         Social media:  FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linked In.
·         Bookstore signings.
·         Library appearances.
·         Paid or free speaking gigs.
·         Best-seller campaigns.
·         Contacting organizations, schools, non-profits, companies, or gov’t agencies for bulk sales.
·         Networking.
·         Securing local and national radio interviews.
·         Soliciting online media:  Amazon reviews, blogs, podcasts, guest-posts, interviews, feature stories.
·         Contacting print media:  daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, newswires, newsletters, book trade publications and industry publications, for reviews, athletes, and by-line pieces.
·         Direct mail or targeted e-mail blasts.
·         Paid advertising online, TV/radio commercials, printed ads.
·         SEO advertising.

If you can’t afford the time or resources to support your book, rethink publishing it. If you find your writing speed far outpaces your ability to promote your books, slow down.  You need to rally your efforts around a single book or series, establish yourself, and then look to build on that brand.

We all wish to get lucky and win the book publishing lottery but the odds are so stacked against you.  There are plenty of great books that go unread and lack public discussion.  Don’t let you hard work go to waste by failing to give it the support it deserves.

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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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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