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Thursday, December 20, 2018

How Much Money Should You Spend On Book Publicity?




It is becoming apparent there are several types of authors out there.  Which one are you – and what type of approach to book marketing should you take?

The first way to look at authors is how they are published.  Are they with a major traditional publisher, a small press, university press, hybrid publisher, or self-publisher?

Another way to look at authors is whether this is their first book or not.  One also has to determine if they are writers who hope to generate many books, or if they are not writers by trade but merely consider this a hobby.

Do authors see their book as:

Launching a series and a writing career?
Having true best-seller potential?
A mere calling card for their business or profession?
A one-time event to tell their story and legacy?
A way to promote a movement or useful information?
Being unique, amazing, first to say something, or newsworthy?

Depending on how a writer views the purpose and potential of his book, one can then determine an appropriate book marketing strategy and set a budget to reach certain goals.

Certainly other factors play a role in what types of PR campaign you should execute, including:   timing, distribution, genre, and competition.

When I broke into book publicity nearly 30 years ago an old standard for book publishers was to invest one dollar per book printed for book promotions. So if you printed an initial run of 7,500 books, you spent 7,500 bucks on marketing that book.  But today’s metrics have changed.

Sales are hard to predict, no matter who the publisher or author is.  Many publishers overguess sales of an anticipated blockbuster and end up pulping leftover copies, while other times publishers need to scramble back to press to fill orders for books where they didn’t predict such demand would exist.  However, one knows that publicity is needed to jumpstart sales and give a book at least a chance at success.

So how do you determine how much money and effort to put into a book?  It comes down to this:  Will you benefit from getting publicity, even if the book doesn’t sell a ton of copies?  How do you put a value on marketing when the payoff may come through other means?

For instance, maybe the book publicity exposure allows you to get a better job, launch a business or grow your consulting and speaking gigs? Maybe the publicity helps change people’s lives and push forward a movement or agenda that until now had been lacking? Perhaps the publicity helps you get a book deal with a literary agent or publisher – or earns interest from movie houses?

When it comes to setting a budget, you need to spend what it will take to get the job done.  You can’t half-repair a broken car, can you?  

You need to determine what types of job you want done.  You don’t want to just throw money at something, thinking it just has to work – and you don’t want to shortchange a dream or a real opportunity at success.

Some authors borrow money, find investors or determine to make financial sacrifices in order to do what it takes to fund a strong book publicity campaign.  I don’t recommend taking a second mortgage out, but I do see the appeal in authors stretching their budget in order to have a legitimate opportunity to break through and advance their careers.

It’s not an easy decision.  I get that.  But if you are willing to write a book and put your all into it, don’t stop supporting it.  Do what you can to give yourself true fulfilment.


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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.

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