Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Your Book Doesn’t Stand A Chance, So Let’s Promote It!
Probably around 15 years ago I saw a play called I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which reveals just how elusive the ideal mate is – if one even exists. Perhaps the same thing applies to books. No perfect book exists – yet everyone wants their book to be seen as great and worthy of attention, sales, and praise. The truth is, the vast majority of books don’t stand a chance of either commercial success nor of achieving critical acclaim. But don’t let any of that stop you from trying!
In fact, because the odds are greatly against you, you’ll need all of the help you can get. Just don’t go into this arduous, time-consuming, expensive brain-numbing venture without being fully aware that you seek to paddle against the current.
I know exactly how authors feel. I also know that ego, feelings, and emotions mean nothing. You just need to have hope, belief in your book, and skin as thick as an elephant in order to enter into the Wild West book publicity gold rush.
Some people like a challenge or they recognize some underdogs are worth investing in and fighting for, but admittedly most authors get themselves in too deep without really knowing what they have signed up for. Go in with your eyes wide open -- and enjoy the ride.
Most books fail to succeed because they:
· Lack distribution
· Are not priced right
· Have a stupid title
· Offer an ugly cover
· Aren’t properly promoted to the media
You’ll notice I didn’t comment on the author’s credentials, quality of writing, genre, or other things that would seem relevant. It’s not that those things aren’t factors in success and failure – but none of them are considered prior to the five I mentioned above. If a book doesn’t look appealing or costs too much or simply is not available to consumers, nothing good will come of the book, no matter how well-written the book or important the author is.
Books need to be pushed – maybe not like a miracle drug or an “as-seen-on-T.V.” mop – but they do need to be marketed, promoted, and made visible to those who buy books. It’s a simple tenet of sales -- people can’t discover what they don’t know exists. The news media, social media, bookstore displays, public events, and ad campaigns can go a long way to making a book successful. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll have a publishing success if you do some or all of that – but you’re virtually guaranteed of failure if you don’t do one or more of them.
All things being equal, I would say that the thing that moves book sales or leads to good things for an author’s career are as follows, in order of what the best thing to do is:
1. Speaking engagements and events
2. News media campaign
3. Targeted social media
4. Bulk sales marketing to key groups.
5. Calling in favors or paying people to send info about your book to their lists and connections.
We know few books can be best-sellers or receive a lot of great reviews from major outlets or influencers. We know only so many books can be bought. We know big T.V. shows, radio shows, or magazines and newspapers can only interview so many authors. But you could break through and be among the lucky few who gets to lay claim to book publishing success. Don’t give up – and don’t believe the hype. You may not stand much of a chance – so go for it!
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