Monday, January 7, 2019

The Book Marketing Strategies Best-Selling Authors & Big Business Brands Fail To Execute

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When promoting and marketing a book, you want to do it in the most cost-effective, timely, and successful manner possible.  But, like corporations or other authors and publishers, mistakes can be made.  Sometimes huge ones.  Here are a few marketing blunders you can learn from – and as a result appreciate the fact that even billion-dollar, Fortune 500 companies with all of their research and resources can make catastrophic errors:

Almost any search for “worst marketing campaigns” yields New Coke in the top spot.  The year was 1985 and Coca-Cola thought it was time to change a formula that addicted hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide.  It failed disastrously. Lesson here:  Don’t screw up a good thing.  You’re an iconic brand for a reason, so don’t alter the very thing you are known for!

Another blunder of mass proportions was the underage Calvin Klein ads of the 1990s, where teenagers were in racy ads and commercials that used sex to sell jeans.  The expensive advertisements were pulled after protests.

7-Up, back in the 1950’s, advocated for young moms to feed their babies the soft drink instead of milk.

Starbucks recently had to cancel its ad campaign where customers were encouraged to discuss race with its baristas.  It fell apart after six days following social media ridicule about mixing politics with coffee.

Pepsi recently was forced to yank a Kendall Jenner political protest ad days after it launched.  There was a public backlash over its video content.

The GAP, after a 30-year run decided to change its iconic logo in 2016.  After a six-day rollout of its new logo, the backlash of criticism was so severe that the company reversed its design in a matter of days.

For authors and book marketers, the mistakes made are usually on a smaller scale and less controversial.  They typically forget to mention something in a press release, come up with a horrible book title, or select a bad image for their, book cover.  Their common errors involve missing certain media deadlines, failing to hire a professional publicist, and mistakenly believing they can just use Facebook ads and a daily tweet to put them on the map. 

The biggest faux pas?  Thinking that their book is great when it isn’t or having a great book and believing that’s enough to sell it.

Authors need to know that:

·         They can’t market to everyone and that their targeted reader is not everyone.

·         They must build up a mailing list of connections to solicit book sales from – and that they need to call upon people on that list to solicit their own lists too.

·         In a Do-It-Yourself world, sometimes you still need to recruit the advice and help of a book pro when it comes to publishing and marketing.

·         You should be active with Goodreads, Net Galley, Reddit, Amazon Author Central, and other book communities.

·         You can get some attention from paid book reviewers at legit publications like Kirkus Reviews, PW Select, and the Foreword.

·         Giving away free books can pay off in the long run.

·         You need to have a social media presence and to diversify your exposure amongst several of these outlets:  Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Instagram, Linked In, and Pinterest.

Plenty of authors make marketing mistakes.  They didn’t know something.  They misunderstood.  They thought they could copy what someone else did and get the same results.  They were misinformed.  They misjudged.  They bet wrong.  It happens.  The key is not to give up or think that a setback defines you.

There’s more than one way to write a great book – and there’s more than one way to market it successfully.  Learn from the shortfalls and miscues of others, from Coca-Cola to best-selling authors.  We can learn from the biggest brands, not only of what to do, but of what not to do.

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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 ©2019. 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.

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