Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Do You Think Like A Book Marketer?

Book marketing can be fun, fulfilling, even easy.  It can also be challenging, frustrating and hard.  Most of these, you may think, depends on the book you are promoting, the news media outlet you are pitching, and the news cycle you are working under.  Though all of that is a factor – as well as your natural abilities to persuade and your learned skills as a promoter – what it all comes down to is whether you have the proper mental approach to promote a book.

It would seem that many professional publicists have a lot of traits in common:

·         Outgoing personality.
·         Always smiling.
·         Believing they can achieve.
·         Speaking with confidence.
·         Showing a command of language.
·         Opportunistic in their thinking.
·         Observant of details.
·         Good people skills.
·         Can turn any idea or subject back to them in a conversation.
·         Above average writer.

I am not a psychiatrist but I know that a lot of these characteristics stated above tend to be things people are born with – and then nurtured through environment, training, circumstance, and timing.  On the other hand, I didn’t grow up thinking, I would -- nor wanting to  -- be a book publicist.  I wanted to be a sports journalist, a writer.  When I failed to land a job in the newsroom coming out of Brooklyn College, I took what I thought was just a job to get my foot in the working world at a small publisher that went bankrupt a few years after I left it.

I started out as an assistant to the publisher - and to the publicity director -  and to the editor.  I did a little bit of everything, from answering calls from irate authors over royalties disputes to writing catalog copy to scheduling media interviews for authors.  In four-and-a-half months I took over as head of publicity and never looked back.  

I booked authors on national TV shows, generated major print articles and reviews, and secured as many as 160-180 radio interviews for an author on a number of occasions.  But I don’t think of myself as a natural publicist.

I rely heavily on my writing and research skills, my stubbornness, and my creativity.  But I’m not a social butterfly and I’m not good at being put on the spot.  I’m also uncomfortable with lying but I take pride in finessing the truth.  I realize that promoting a book comes down to capturing someone’s attention with some plausible but exciting, relevant, new or unique story idea.  So much is done by computer that even some shy people can do this job reasonably well. Few face-to-face meetings with the media – or even with the author -- occur.

As a writer, there are clear challenges to promoting your own book.  Even if you have the skills and the mindset to promote, you may not want to.  Your time is best served writing and doing other things.  In any case, a self-promoting writer can be successful, but is rarely as successful as a paid professional.  Why?  Because the media doesn’t always like dealing with writers.  They find writers to be unreliable and an unknown entity.  They would rather deal with the familiarity and consistency of a publicist who speaks their language and is mindful of their needs and deadlines.

But if a writer is to promote his or her work, the right mindset – aside from the skill set – must be present.  Writers who hawk their books need to be:

·         Optimistic.
·         Relentless in his/her pursuits.
·         Prepared for rejection.
·         Confident she’ll get results.
·         Tolerant of the attention to details that’s needed.
·         Organized.
·         Focused in her approach.
·         Seeing this as a game or competition.
·         A big believer in her book.

Many, writers, due to a lack of budget have no choice but to try to promote themselves to the media.  You won’t know if you’re any good until you try.  Develop a good mindset and the media hits will surely come.

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 

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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