Selling a home and promoting a book are very similar in nature. I can say they both come down to presentation and perceived value.
It would seem the stakes are higher when selling a home, for it can be worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars but the same approach to selling a house works the same as promoting a book.
To sell a home, one usually uses a broker or realtor. To promote a book, an author may hire a book promoter.
A lot of time, money and effort – and emotional agony – goes into selling a home. Same for promoting your book.
Both have a lot of competition – people can buy any house, anywhere. They can also buy any book, any time. People can buy a new book or an old one, just as they can buy a new house or an old one.
To sell a home today the process is pretty streamlined. One hires a broker and that person puts it on a computerized database, the MLS. This is where all of the home-buying traffic filters through. One can do open houses, advertise online or in local publications, hand out fliers, post signs, and contact groups or businesses that may need a place to relocate an employee.
To promote a book, one uses a publicist and that person needs to go through the news media – book reviews, social media, interviews with television and radio, feature stories in newspapers, magazines and websites – and one can also hold press conferences, advertise online or in local publications, hand out fliers, put up posters, and contact organizations that may want to purchase the book.
In both scenarios – marketing a book or a home – you get a select window of time to get the job done. A house that fails to sell after several months looks stale and gets forgotten. A book that fails to make a splash during the first few months prior to or following a book launch means death is certain.
But what they both really have in common is that both succeed based on the narrative one uses to describe them. Homes are sold when they get potential buyers to come see a house, but that won’t happen unless the listing sounds exciting and inviting. The listing shows images and provides core facts about the home and uses descriptive text to make your mouth water. Do you want to live in a charming, well-maintained, spacious home “or do you want to reside in a “tidy dwelling?” Once you get to the house, you are given a prospectus that again seeks to sell you. Some real estate agencies offer drone-shot images or video on dedicated websites. All of this plays into one’s perceptions of what’s being offered.
With books, the press releases, a marketing kit, web site, or your social media. – present a picture and feel for who you are and what you and your book have to offer. If you don’t make a good presentation with these items, the media won’t look any further. Like a realtor's prospectus, a book has back cover copy that also serves to draw a buyer in.
The media makes all kinds of snap judgments, assumptions and conclusions based on what you reveal and share in a press release. If the headline doesn’t grab them, they move on. If the bullet points don’t sound interesting, they’re done. If the facts provided don’t sound substantial, they toss it. The same is true for people scrutinizing a real estate listing. Once they sift through a search with certain parameters – location, price, inclusion, or exclusion of particular features or styles – they want to hear a story that leaves them with only one conclusion: you must have this house!
Although one buys a house with functionality in mind – to support the needs and demands of who lives there – a house is also like a piece of art. You develop an attachment to it. The house comes to represent you and state who you are. Books, too, serve a purpose – whether it’s to inform, inspire, entertain, or enlighten you – and it also represents your passions, style, values and desires. You are what you read – and you read what you are.
Selling a home and promoting a book can come down to human relationships and connections. Who does your broker know –and how convincing and persuasive do they come across in these interactions and communications? Who does your publicist know – and how passionate and persevering are they in their interactions and communications?
To promote a book or sell a home you need to provide and show value, differentiation, and confidence in what you offer. Book promoters and realtors know the competition is fierce and that a sense of urgency must push their every move. The next time you see a home listing or read a book’s press release, realize that behind every home and book is a truth – and behind it is a publicist or broker seeing to shape the truth and tell a new story.
When you promote a book, think of it is as a piece of real estate. How would you market a home? Employ those tactics to promoting your book. You may just end up with a best-seller – or a new home!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs
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