Friday, October 18, 2019

Do You Have The Book Marketing Gene?

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I always knew I would be a writer.  It’s all I’ve ever done.  I don’t know from blank pages or writer’s block.  My problem has always been that there is not enough time to pursue all of the writing that is inside of me.  How does one steal time?

What I didn’t know is what form my writing would take.  I used to think it would be as a newspaper reporter.  I instead wrote a book and now blog virtually every day.  I write press kits, letters-to-the-editor to magazines and newspapers, and work, alternately, on three books.  Whatever the form, the core skill is the same: write something of interest.

In theory, anyone can write.  But most don’t and of those that do, many don’t do it very well.  Some can write for a situation – a eulogy or toast, a term paper, or a love letter – but otherwise, lack the discipline, skill, ideation, research capabilities or analytical qualities to write with any depth, consistency or durability.

Writing book marketing content such as press kits, website copy, social media posts, or advertisements is a skill.  Even for those it comes naturally, it must be practiced and perfected.  Where possible, you should have an appreciation for language, a sensitivity towards the psychology of humans, and a broad awareness of the world on multiple levels.  That said, you can do it.

Some say you are born an artist or a writer. For others, their lives shape their creative expressions.  Maybe it’s a combination of the two. But in any case, authors who need to promote their book and market their brand must rise to the occasion and find the calling of their book marketing gene that they didn’t even know resided within them.

Exactly what does a book marketer need to do?  He or she has to:

  • Be confident to ask for something every day, but humble enough to accept "no" more than 90% of the time.
  • Have good writing skills, such as being able to summarize a book in a press release, a 30-second elevator speech, or a tagline for a website or business card, or a social media post.
  • Be convincing and persuasive in all forms of communication – written or oral; in person or via computer; to all types of people:  media, bookstores, libraries, consumers, social media, fans. 
  • Always make an effort to promote and sell, regardless of the circumstances, venue, time, day, or your mood.
  • Process connections, actions, and thoughts through a single prism: “How can it/they help me and my book?”
  • Have a sense of urgency, opportunity, and optimism.
  • Be able to overcome objections, anticipate resistance, and assume what people want or need to hear.
  • Go beyond the book to sell a brand, a voice, or a big-picture view of things.
  • Express a vision, a way of seeing himself or herself, as some type of expert, hero, or leader, who with the power of conviction, words, and an empowering voice can truly make a difference.
But the reality is that most authors are not book marketers.  They are quiet individuals who shun the spotlight, who are more comfortable in writing than in publicly speaking.  They just want to make a positive impact, where their words do their talking and not their lips. So how do we bridge the gap between the reluctant or unskilled author-turned-marketer, and with what’s needed to become the outspoken, even brash marketing persona?

Well, some just can’t hack it.  They won’t even try.  Their only choice is:  Go without marketing and doom their chances of success or outsource to others to do what’s needed.

For those who can participate and contribute to their marketing efforts they need to decide:  To what degree will they play an active role vs. outsource vs. ignore certain aspects of marketing.

Make no mistake.  Book marketing is not rocket science but it is a skill and a mindset and you need to be willing to explore it if you have that book marketing gene before giving up or deferring to others for help.  You may just surprise yourself.

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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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