Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Great Book? Or Great Marketing?

All writers, at some point in their lofty goals and dreamy visions, think they can write a great book, one that will bring them fame and fortune, help others, and change the world. So how does one write a great book?  

Even if a great book is penned – by some arbitrary standard, of course – will it get read and in turn be in a position to make a difference and influence the minds, hearts, and actions of the human race on a meaningful scale?  Can this book influence other writers, helping to inspire their great works that in turn further enhance society and also influence other writers?

Which is more likely to happen:

A decent book, with great marketing, becomes consumed like a great book?

A great book, with little marketing, becomes a book society embraces?

Great book marketing can help sell a book, but will that book be truly loved and handed down to others or the next generation if the marketing quality exceeded the book’s value?

Great books can really change lives, help others, influence society, and lead to generations of followers, but without enough people discovering it, there’s no marketing muscle to give it a foundation of fans by which to exponentially expand its reach.

It would seem one needs a great book – and to market it really well.  You can’t just rely on a book to sell itself – nor can you think a popularly promoted book can stand the test of time if it lacks deep substance.  So how do we get to merge great books with proportionately great marketing?

First, publishers and authors mistakenly, cheaply, and inexcusably will fail to properly market and promote a book, believing somehow great books will mysteriously find their readers without a boost.  Or, they claim poverty, and refuse to lend support to their books, looking for the book to sink or swim before investing anything into it.  That’s a recipe for failure.

Second, too many mediocre books that become commercial successes eventually die, not due to the power of their words but rather the power of their marketer’s words.  Good ad copy, sharp press releases, and savvy digital campaigns can give a book a much bigger readership than it deserves.  However, the book will not influence society beyond its first generation of readers.  The marketing will die down and word-of-mouth will not come for a weak book.

There are not too many great books, but there are plenty of great book marketing campaigns.  Unfortunately, too few great books are marketed in a great way.

So what’s the lesson here?

If you really think your book is great, don’t rely on its merits.  Do all that you can to prime the pump and get the word out.  Do it yourself.  Push a publisher, if you have one. Hire help.  Do all of the above.

If you know your book isn’t great, no reason not to market it as if it is.  I can’t fault you for trying. Let the public be the arbiter of where your book should rest in its rankings.  But know that society can’t support mediocrity for long.  Some will buy into smoke and mirrors but if a book doesn’t live up to the hype, it will die.

Books are products for some – and money will guide which ones get a boost.  But books, first and foremost, are the building blocks and fabric of the nation.  The really good ones deeply inspire us to do more, educate us to act better, enlighten us to embrace truth, and entertain us to make us feel good about our lives.  We need great authors to become great book marketers, otherwise our nation drowns in popular mediocrity and merely perpetuates a cycle of publishing what sells but not what’s truly amazing or what’s needed.

Great book?  You need great marketing.


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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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