A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Free speech, literacy, and great books are also discussed. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
you take responsibility for your actions in regards to your book’s success?
start with defining responsibility and what that means.
need to take ownership for your book and steward its success. If you don’t have a publisher, obviously it’s
all on you. But even with a publisher,
you need to be in charge of your book’s fate.
check with your publisher. What do they
plan on doing when marketing or promoting your book? Monitor their efforts and progress. Ready yourself to step in and supplement
their role, however small or big.
you and your publisher overlap on one goal: to sell books. But your publisher may not be concerned with
your other goals, which may include branding your name as a writer, selling
your services as an expert, sharing a positive message with the masses, and
perhaps selling other books or products that you created.
focus on a book for a certain window of time – and then move on to the next
batch. Typically a key time is about a
month prior to publication date and a few months after a book releases. Then the publisher gazes its eyes on the next
set of books coming out. So authors must
step up and take responsibility for the short- and long-term ROI for their book.
how does one take ownership? He or she
learns what they could do to promote and market a book and craft a plan as to
what they will do, pay for, farm out, dismiss, or beg their publisher to do.
need to think about several key areas:
reviews – with major print and online media
media coverage – print, radio, television interviews, heat up, stories and
– online or other means.
lists – from Amazon and bn.com to USA
Today and NYT
media – Twitter, Facebook YouTube, etc.
Media – online websites like HuffPost
opportunities – paid or free
– their site, blog, podcast, etc.
will need to:
daily and forever.
content to share.
time getting more social media followers.
to speak in a compelling manner.
with preparation, vision, creativity, and dogged execution.
their ideas, passions, connections.
publicity and marketing may seem mysterious, burdensome, and
time-consuming. It can be, but it also is
fairly straightforward. You just need to
take on the attitude of being responsible for your writing success and suddenly
your choices become clearer, your options widen, and your abilities become greater
than you thought. You can – and must –
seize your book’s future.
often think, when advising authors on book publicity, that I know what they need and want to help them succeed at promoting their books. But it has occurred to me that perhaps
authors don’t know as much as I think they do.
They may not even fully understand what I tell them because they have no
perspective to work from. How can they appreciate anything when they don’t
really know much about the world of publishing, the news media, or books?
let’s start from the beginning and see if I can help launch an introduction
into book publicity for the uninitiated but eager writer.
Rule 1: A book will not sell well without some combination
of publicity, marketing and advertising.
to properly market and promote a book it will take a collaborative effort
between the author, an outsourced publicists, and if available, the book
publisher. PR is an investment of time,
money, and mental mindshare. It’s work –
but the effort can have a short- and long-term pay off.
Rule 2: Know why you are publishing a book.
serve those needs, you will have to actively promote. Ask yourself what you hope to
accomplish as a result of executing a publicity campaign. Let your actions and marketing plans derive
from your foundation of knowing why.
Rule 3: You can never start too soon to brand yourself and
your well before you are thirsty. If
your book is coming out in six to nine months, use that advance time to set up
your website, build your social media, blog or start podcasting, develop a
marketing plan, seek out testimonials, identify sales prospects, craft your
press kit materials, and schedule speaking engagements.
Rule 4: Getting
pre-orders (advance sales before your official publication date) can help you
build towards hitting a best-seller list.
can market your book months before it’s actually available.
Rule 5: Check your ego.
it’s gotten you this far and we all have pride, but if you let your ego lead
you, that will only get yourself in trouble.
You can’t arrogantly expect things to happen for you or fall your
way. It takes hard work, street savvy,
luck, connections, skill, knowledge, a great book, and an understanding of
consumers and the media to succeed.
Rule 6: Temper your
books – that means at least half – never, ever sell 10,000 or more copies. Many authors are lucky to sell 5,000 copies
in their first 6-12 months. Shoot for
the stars, but don’t be delusional.
Rule 7: Social media is increasingly important for one’s
success, but don’t believe the hype.
do not have to obsessively live on social media to raise your profile or sell
books, but you do need a game plan.
Which platforms will you be on?
You can’t be on all of them. Will
it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or LinkedIn? Will you post regularly and
consistently? Will you also spend time
seeking to grow your number of followers and connections?
Rule 8: Network, now, tomorrow, always.
die, move away, switch industries, lose touch, or just prove to be
useless. Keep making new connections. You
can never have enough. To network, you need to do so via email, phone, in-person,
and on social media. Attend events or hold them. Ask people for referrals and introductions to
others. Work your contacts and give them
value. Human currency is available to
you – cash in.
Rule 9: You need to
be organized, prioritized, and informed to excel in life and certainly at book publicity.
good notes on what people tell you and follow-up accordingly. If you are scatter-brained just give up now!
Rule 10: Keep learning about marketing, publicity, and
successful models. Ask people questions
to learn more. Experiment too. Attend
seminars workshops and conferences on PR, writing, and marketing.
hope these 10 rules jumpstart the building of your foundation as an empowered
writer-turned-marketer. You control your
fate and should feel you can overcome fears or obstacles
to market the heck out of your book and establish your author brand. Good Luck!
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Book Publishers Grow Their Brand & Sales With Their Authors’ Help
Memorial Day weekend I took a road trip with my wife and two kids – 11 and 14 –
to Gettysburg, PA, the site of the bloodiest and possibly most significant
battle of the Civil War.More than 150 years
after the last shot was fired, one can still feel the historic significance of
the war that could have destroyed the United States.
the Revolutionary War birthed our nation, and later World War I and II would
save the world, the Civil War preserved a country that very much could have
split into two, limiting the prospects of survival by either side.
love history and paid attention in school and I consider myself well read, but
I have to say in coming to the Gettysburg National Military Park you get a real-life
feeling for what took place on the battlefield and what the nation must have
felt like at the time.
also couldn’t help but feel the nation is still divided today.The battle line may not be a physical one and
there’s no one lightning rod issue at stake such as slavery was back then, but our
red state, blue state approach to every issue is going to tear our country
apart.Half the nation hates the other
half, led by a president with a greater negative rating than a likability
rating.At best, little gets done by the
federal government, with far fewer bills being passed by Congress this year
than just about any other time in history.At worst, key issues like healthcare, immigration, and climate change do not go acted upon.Individual states seek to
legislate over things the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on.
This past holiday weekend we were supposed to honor those who gave their lives for
freedom, who died, heroes, who risked themselves for the greater good of
others.But one has to wonder how many more
wars must we make the ultimate sacrifice for?Will we even head to another civil war?
Civil War, at its center, was over slavery.Southern states wanted to keep it legal and grow it.They also wanted U.S. expansion west to
include the use of slavery.The Northern
alliance would have none of that.All of
Abe Lincoln’s presidency was spent governing over a split country, dying just a
few days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the North.
Confederate States of America consisted of a rogue nation.These states opted out of the U.S. to form
their own country, elected their own president printed their own money, and
fielded their own army.But President
Lincoln never acknowledged them as a nation – just as petulant rebels seeking
to overthrow America.
shocks me today is how many people still worship the Confederate flag.The North won the war, but did not capture the
hearts and souls of those they defeated.It wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s that black
Americans had full legal rights and protections that should’ve gone to them a
angered me that some stores sold Confederate objects, including magnets and T-shirts emblazoned with the southern flag -- the nation’s ugliest symbol that has come to
represent hate and racism as well as rebellion and insubordination.How can anyone justify displaying this ugly
image, this vestige of a past we need to distance ourselves from?
a store today sell the Russian flag?Would a store sell a Nazi swastika?Would a store sell something that so many find offensive, oppressive,
and is diametrically opposed to the values of the community?
of the things that being at Gettysburg made me wonder and feel was about the
town itself.How did it handle being overwhelmed
by what took place there? The town had about 1,800 residents when over 150,000
soldiers used it as a bloody battle ground, leaving some 6,000 dead and another
45,000 wounded, captured, or missing. They had to deal with an incident that
combined the number of people killed in Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
town not only had to bury thousands of people, it tried to tend to tens of
thousands who were physically and psychologically damaged.Everyone’s life was put on hold.Commerce came to a halt.People gave up churches, houses, hotels and
restaurants to help the armies recover and recuperate.What was it like to also have thousands of
enemy soldiers right in their town?
can see many story lines, as a novelist, coming out of this.Could a young woman of the Union fall in love
with a Confederate soldier she was tending to?Could one of the black residents use the chaotic opportunity to kill
some of the slave-holding Confederates in custody?Who were the hero townspeople?What could have happened if the battle was
not won by the Union?
city has forever been shaped by the calamity to befell it.It’s built on tourism, with many buildings of
that era the dominant architecture of today.The town will forever be stuck in 1863, defined by the ravages of war,
the hate of racism, and the fighting spirit of young men who proved their valor
against other Americans.
contrast, Pearl Harbor is not consumed by WWII.It’s part of Hawaii, a beautiful tourist island.Lower Manhattan is not consumed by 9/11.Business and living go on as usual there.But Gettysburg is a town that forever
leaves us in the middle of a bloody war.
Civil War, by most estimates, led to 620,000 deaths, which represented 2% of
America’s population.But there were
evermore casualties and not a town in America was untouched by the war’s death
and destruction.The dead from World War
II, World War I, Vietnam, and Korea combined don’t quite equal the number lost
in the Civil War. Just 25,000 Americans died in the Revolutionary War.
hope we learn from history and all of the wars fought.Enemies become friends. Peace lasts a little longer than war.But we keep fighting and re-fighting wars
because new generations follow the patterns of prior ones.There are not many enduring periods where the
U.S. is not engaged in a war.We can’t
get past two generations without a war. I was born during the Vietnam War.My kids were born into the Gulf War II.My parents were born during World War II.Their parents came in between World War I and
the Spanish-American War. In between formal wars you had other battles going
on.Today, we’re in an era of fighting
terrorism.Earlier in the nation’s
history we battled Native Americans – the Indians.And when we don’t fight war around the globe,
we turn on ourselves with crime, racism, and mayhem.
perhaps said it best.“America will not
be destroyed from the outside.If we
falter and lose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
Book Publishers Grow Their Brand & Sales With Their Authors’ Help
The genres that sell
are the ones that people need the most, that offer a big payoff to the
recipient, and the one where people cannot merely find information in a simple
Google search. Promote the books that people want or need.
People always need to:
how to do something: get a job, fix a car, buy a house, raise kids.
therapeutically, with self-help books, and find out how to live life fully.
love and make their relationships last.
inspired and motivated, to overcome setbacks, loss, death, failure, addiction.
rich and build up their wealth, pay off debts, and save on expenses.
the edge on creating and running a business, whether it is management,
leadership, sales, entrepreneurship or climbing the workplace ladder.
healthy and lose weight, overcome a disease, or get stronger.
with travel, entertainment, and lifestyle issues.
their spirituality, whether it’s religion, meditation, or some type of guiding
for some kind of test, get into a school or program, or be selected for a
certain position, so guides on how to gain entry into an exclusive club are in
course, there are other genres that sell well, including fiction, sports,
children’s books, etc. But in each of these genres consider the level of
competition, how unique you can be vs. others, and whether the genre is
growing, changing, or declining.