Millions of writers finish writing a book and then seek publication. Many will find they are going to get published if they simply self-publish. A new report issued by R.R. Bowker, keeper of Books in Print, found that nearly 800,000 ISBNs were issued to self-published authors in 2016. Coupled with well over 350,000 new, traditionally, published books last year, some 1.15 million books flooded the market. The only way a book can survive such stiff competition is with a great marketing campaign. Unfortunately, most authors and publishers fail to execute one.
Self-published authors are growing. Amazon’s Create Space is the largest publisher of self-published print books. Last year they did 501,000 titles. Lulu, in second, published nearly 42,000 titles. Blurb, in third, did 21.365 titles and Author Solutions did 19,270.
Smashwords led the self-published e-book revolution with 89,000 titles. Lulu was second with 33,336 titles. Author solutions, in third, produced 11,000 self-published e-books. However, Bowker and the ISBN system don’t register e-books released by Amazon’s KDP Program, which uses ASIN identifiers. So, suffice to say, there could be even more books out there than the numbers show. Plus, don’t forget there are millions of previously published books that remain available as well.
The competition for book sales or news media coverage is fierce.
Most people fail to execute a solid book marketing campaign for a number of reasons – they lack the skills to do it and they lack the desire or funding to hire someone to do it for them; they lack the time or knowledge to execute a great campaign; they get started too late or quit too soon; they fail to properly identify the correct target demographic; and on and on, I could go. But I think it all starts with the impression that an author is under that determines the kind of book marketing campaign that gets devised and implemented. So let’s explore what authors don’t know about book marketing.
First, authors operate out of too many misconceptions of what they should be doing. They receive bad or incomplete advice, lack professional guidance, and merely are left to fend for themselves by seeking free advice online.
Secondly, authors don’t understand or warm up to the idea that fellow authors are their best allies, not competitors. Get with authors who will share ideas, resources, information, and encouragement. Lean on one another for help.
Third, authors are not aware of all the ways a book can be marketed, promoted, or advertised, and thus make half-informed decisions that will yield half-assed results. Authors need to be aware of – and open to exploring – all of the ways a book can be marketed, from free give-a-ways and book signings, to social media, traditional media, and dozens of other strategies.
Fourth, authors are guided by their egos, not by reality. Too often they believe their book is so great that it interferes with actually doing the work needed to make a book successful. It’s similar to the “me-too-pretty,” syndrome, where a good-looking person is lazy in a relationship simply because he or she thinks the other person should be a slave to their needs or whims.
Fifth, authors don’t take into account all of their competition – and it’s not just from the roughly 3,500 new books flooding the marketplace every 24 hours. It comes from other forms of entertainment and content-creative souls – movies, music, television, theater, sports, video games, etc. It also comes for free, online, in the form of millions of blogs, podcasts, Facebook chats, YouTube videos and Instagram photo posts – not to mention tweets.
Sixth, to get attention for your book is not easy and authors should not be misled to think that all they should do is post on Facebook, email a press release, and schedule some speeches and they’re fine. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be convinced that marketing is so complex. What it really is is repetitive. It’s a numbers game. You need to be persistent and prolific in your outreach and to follow-up with anyone contacted. You can’t just mail a book to a reporter. You must call, email or tweet them. You can’t just contact 15 organizations to seek out a speaking appearance. Try 10x that. If your first call or email went unanswered, try again. And again. Change your message and alter your method of delivery.
Seventh, authors don’t know that a PR or marketing campaign can’t be judged on immediate book sales alone. In other words; if one spends $10,000 to market a book but only nets a few thousand in book sales as a result, don’t consider that a failure. Look at other metrics, even the unmeasurable. How many clicks did you get to your site to improve SEO? How many more followers and connections did you get by way of paid speeches, consulting gigs, or sales of other books, products, or services? Did your brand get built up to the point you are now positioned for success on your next book or venture? And, sales aside, did you get your message out to millions of people, possibly enlightening, inspiring, and informing some of them, making a difference in the world?
Lastly, authors don’t know that even when they get a big media hit such as an interview on a television show, or a book review with a leading blogger, or a nice article about yourself in a top-tiered publication, success isn’t guaranteed. One has to keep at it – whether struggling to break through or seeking to make a big splash. Win, lose, or other in any given day, you do your best and tomorrow’s a clean slate. Don’t rest on yesterday’s win and don’t get discouraged by a bad day or week or month.
Once authors have better insight into what’s needed to launch a successful, sustained book marketing campaign, he or she can take the next giant step of executing it.
Study this exclusive author media training video from T J Walker
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Here’s the 2017 Author Book PR & Marketing 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 email@example.com. 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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