Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Most Books Will Not Succeed Without Book Marketing

A few days ago I sent out an email blast to hundreds of publishers, seeking to represent them and their authors.  Like a good book marketer, I wanted to get their attention, so I suggested that what makes a book successful is not just the quality of the book’s content and credentials of its author but one’s ability to promote the heck out of it.

Not a radical idea.  I thought I was saying the obvious.  But one publisher wrote me back in anger, as if I personally accused him of being a failure.  Maybe he is a failure, I have no idea.  However, the fact is that most books will struggle to be profitable let alone a verifiable success, unless there’s a good publicity campaign to support them.

Perhaps more authors and publishers than I’m aware of really don’t understand how book publicity works.  I recently spoke to the CEO of an innovative company who also doesn’t quite get it.  He wanted to launch a series of books purely with Facebook ads and the sending out of a few press releases.  He didn’t plan on sending out advance review copies and he didn’t fully value or understand he needed to build a buzz months before his book’s release.

Folks, books don’t sell themselves.  They need to be discovered, yes, but they also need to be heavily marketed.  One should utilize a combination of resources to get attention, from social media and traditional media to speaking, advertising, and seeking bulk sales.

Now, there are some ugly truths out there: 

Just because you market a book, doesn’t mean it will succeed.  But if you don’t try to market it, failure is guaranteed.

Even with a big spend, publicity exposure maybe limited.  Spend wisely, but again, without pursuing publicity it won’t come to you.

Not all methods work for all people – ads may help one, but not another; some speakers sell books and others do not; lots of media may skyrocket one book but leave another struggling.  You’ll have to experiment to find what works best for you, but know that good book marketing positions you for stronger branding and sales – and helps you influence others with your empowering message.

Remember, not all book marketing has to lead to lots of sales immediately to be deemed a success.  It builds you up for the long-term, not just the short-term.  When you seek to get a new job or a promotion, when you look for representation by a good literary agent, when you seek to move people’s hearts and minds, and when you seek to get more speaking gigs, people will look at your media resume as a point of reference.

Look at the alternative.  

What’s your strategy if you don’t spend time and resources on marketing your book?  How lucky do you hope to be to have people seek out a book they don’t know exists?  How will consumers, librarians, bookstores, and others get excited for or curious about your book if they’ve been told nothing about it?


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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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. 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 http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com 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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