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Friday, December 1, 2017

2017: A Very Challenging Year to Promote Books



This past year was probably the most challenging one since 2001, when 9/11 rocked the economy, military, travel industry, and news media.  It’s been very tough to get one’s message out about their book when the news cycle is constantly dominated by multiple major stories.

Just look at the last few months.  Serial Hollywood-Capitol Hill sexual predators is now a regular beat for the media, as if covering weather, sports, and dog videos.  Trump is like a continuous movie premiere, where every single hour he is making headlines for his tweets, outrageous lies, and political shenanigans.  The Russia probe is non-stop as well.  Throw in some horrible hurricanes and alternating terrorist attacks with mass casualty gun attacks that spur debates on security, guns, and mental illness, mixed in with health care bills that feature Draconian cuts to healthcare and a tax bill that potentially hurts millions and bankrupts the country, and you can see why authors and publishers struggle to break through the clutter.

Compounding things is a shrinking media with less coverage given to books.  It’s a real mess.

On the other hand, we can’t whine and make excuses.  Books are still covered by the media and social media explodes with opportunities to promote books.  If you have a great book it should still find its readership, though it is harder than before to soar.

There are simply too many books – one released every 25 seconds – coupled with oversaturation of non-book entertainment and news. Still, books must and will persevere.

So how does one battle a tough news cycle?  You have three options:

Sit it out.  Simply take a break from pitching the media when it’s singularly zoned on a big story.

Join in.  Find a way to turn your pitch into something relevant to the stories they are covering.  If you have a book about something like violent domestic relationships, make a leap and tie into sexual harassment.  If you write about overcoming a tragedy, tie into the loss and destruction of the hurricanes.  If you wrote a book on personal finances, talk about tax cuts.

Stick to your strengths.  If your book really can’t be twisted to be relevant to the headlines of the day, seek to make your own headlines by lobbying for your book and its unique subject matter.

Though I remain optimistic that authors and publicists will find a way, as they always have, to break through the clutter and news of the moment to get coverage for their books, I must acknowledge that 2017 was just brutal and I predict a tougher 2018.  Here’s why:

·         Trump has a strong chance of facing impeachment hearings as the Russian probe builds in Year 2.
·         This will be a highly contentious election year where the Democrats are expected to win back the Senate and challenge to narrow the gap in the House.
·         Tax reform and healthcare will be talked about heavily.
·         More mass shootings, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other predictable things are imminent.
·         We are due for a celebrity overdose death.
·         Continued fallout from the sexual harassment storm will make its way from Hollywood through Capitol Hill to eventually other institutions -- music, sports, Wall Street,.Madison Avenue.
·         The stock market is vulnerable to a major correction and could bleed red all over the place – a ticking time bomb.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m an optimist steeped in realism, meaning, I hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  We can overcome any news cycle or wall of media coverage, but we need to work harder, smarter, more creatively, and to be ever vigilant and persistent.

But as major media shrinks in coverage and influence, social media will pick up the slack and likely be a growing playground for authors to find voice and attention for their books.

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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 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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