Thursday, July 26, 2018

What Are The Most Important Thing Authors Should Do To Promote Their Books?

Authors often are told to come up with a really good elevator pitch, where they can present who they are and what their book is about in a powerful, moving, and inviting way – all within 20-30 seconds (the length of some elevator rides).  They also hear that they need to build their platform way before a book is released. Authors are told to get out and speak – at bookstores, libraries, conferences, churches, etc.  They are also told build an email list to solicit book sales and pre-orders from.  So what’s the most important thing for an author to do, given one may have limited time, lack certain marketing skills, or even possess little desire to get out there and sell themselves?

The first answer is:  You need to do all of the above and then some, whether you want to or not.  If you can’t do some of these things, you may be leaving money on the table and stunting your writing career.

The second answer is:  Do what you can, hire others to help on some things, and just let the rest go.  Don’t make yourself crazy over this.  Spend your time following your passion – waiting – and squeeze the rest in when you can.

The third answer is:  Be really good and aggressive at a handful of things.  If you live on social media, then go with that.  If you love to speak, then go crazy in that area.  If you like to contact the media, by all means, do it.  No one can do everything well, so if you narrow down an area to exploit, do so.

The funny thing is all three answers are correct, and each author has to decide which one to align with.  Of course there is another option -- to do nothing at all- but that likely won’t take you far or be fulfilling, so let’s just take that one off the table.

In order for all of book marketing to not seem burdensome, break down all of the things that could be done – and then make a determination on whether each item will get done and identify how it’ll be achieved.  Start to attach a timeline and note the resources necessary to achieve each goal.  You may start to see how you can do more than you thought you could, and as you start to cross certain tasks off of your list you will become emboldened to do more.

You may also find that your plan needs to be amended.  When one area becomes too challenging, problematic, or more resource-draining than envisioned, move on to something else.  And when you see better-than-expected results from certain tasks, double down on them. You need to be able to call an audible and make on-the-field adjustments to what you see going on in the book marketing arena.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – or hire some when necessary.  The book promotion experience is a collaborative one, where you do all that you can on your own while enjoying the assistance of friends, family, other authors, possibly a publisher or literary agent, and the hired hands of a book publicist, marketer, or branding strategist.

Not all tasks are equal -- not in terms of effort, pay-off, time or the skills required.  For instance, everyone should be able to come up with a strong elevator pitch, but not everyone can get featured in a USA Today article.  Anyone can set up a book reading somewhere, but not many can become a best-selling author.

So, which of the three answers will you embrace?


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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