Friday, October 11, 2019

How Do You Make Good Book Marketing Decisions?

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For authors to promote their brand and books successfully they will need to have a keen understanding of what they are doing, why they should do what they do, a positive, persevering attitude, resources, and the ability to evaluate the choices in front of them.  So how will you weigh your options – and execute a winning game plan?

The first step in this whole process is to first have a clear understanding of:

·         What are you seeking to accomplish with your book – and the marketing of it?  Set your goals.
·         What options are available to utilize to promote your voice?  Identify which tools and a approaches can be employed.
·         What resources – time, money, skills, connections, ideas – do you have that can be applied here?

Next, you need to come up with a marketing plan, one that includes small, incremental steps over a sustained period of time that can be both evaluated and built upon to maximize results.  You need to commit to a plan – but allow for a reasonable flexibility, depending on the circumstances, to change it where needed.

Do you understand the challenges, pitfalls and potential problems you will face in pursuing your plan?  Do you have a Plan B when things don’t work out as well as you’d hoped?

Are you ready to commit your mind, body, soul, and schedule to making your book a success?

Ok, so once there is a plan in place, and you are properly educated, rested, and motivated to succeed, the next step is to determine how you will make solid book marketing choices along the way.  You can’t just wing it – you need a certain frame of mind to approach this, otherwise every day you are merely reactionary or subject to whim.

For instance, will you be guided primarily by one of these things:  ego, greed, fear, knowledge, experience, hope?  Or will your approach reflect blended motivations?  Be aware of what really tugs at you and rules your decision-making process.  You need some type of system or structure to classify, analyze, and act upon the book marketing methods and opportunities circulating about us.

We don’t want to operate out of confusion, chaos, ignorance, or something other than the facts.  You must pace yourself each day to act with urgency, but not desperation, an to distinguish what truly is a time-sensitive priority vs. a convenient desire.  So determine, for any task, when you will do it, if it needs to be done at all, or if someone can be delegated to do it.

Early on in the process of marketing a book you must evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).  Be honest and list everything, confront who you really are and what the landscape for marketing your book actually looks like.

Book marketing is something you need to embrace.  You must acknowledge there’s no avoiding it.  The odds are highly in favor of your book going nowhere if you don’t attempt to execute a marketing campaign.  So step one really is this:  Commit to a book marketing campaign of some shape, size, or form – or commit to not doing one and make the decision that you choose to not support your book.

Book marketing can work for an author, especially when one’s goals are reasonable and moderate.  We, statistically, can’t all be best-sellers or sell a million copies of our book or turn our novels into movies, so if your demand or expectation is for a lofty goal, that’s okay, but put it into perspective.  You’ll need to work that much harder, longer, and smarter to have a chance at striking gold.  But the payoff is worth it and if you truly believe in your book and have surveyed your competition with open eyes, go for it!

To make good decisions about book marketing you’ll need to establish a foundation for making tough choices.  What values, mission statement, or standard will you set as a barometer to weigh your decisions upon?  For instance, what will you absolutely not do and what will you be willing to try, provided the potential outcome leads you towards whatever goals you set?

To make wise decisions we need reliable information.  Gather the facts and dismiss the hype and uncover the half-truths.  Be sure to analyze and weigh things vs. appealing to hope and passion.  We cloud our judgment when emotion competes with reason, and when we operate from a disadvantaged standpoint.

The four things you’ll need to rely on to execute your book marketing plan efficiently will be awareness, attitude, aptitude, and assertiveness.  

You need to be aware of the possible paths to follow and resources needed to follow them.  You most certainly need a positive, resilient and open attitude.  Your aptitude is your skills, knowledge, and experiences.  If they are lacking, you’ll need to hire help.  Lastly, you’ll need to be assertive in your actions.  No waiting around for a lucky break or giving people two weeks to respond to your outreach. Get out there and get in front of people.

Everything you do needs a quick cost-benefits analysis:

·         Is what you're doing the best use of your time and resources?
·         What is the potential payoff -- if successful?
·         What are the odds of success for a task vs. odds of success for other tasks?
·         Am I doing the right thing, but choosing the wrong method?
·         Are you pursuing the right goal and prioritizing them properly?

Some decisions get simplified if you start to dismiss options. It’s hard to choose from eight things. Narrow it down to three.

Once you make a decision and pursue a course of action and you find the results fall short of expectations, evaluate if you should:

·         Continue as is and hope things change.
·         Throw in the towel and shut it down.
·         Change expectations to align with results.
·         Do something to change what you are doing.

Should you want to tinker with things look into these areas:

·         Personnel – change who you use for help.
·         Materials – add in or switch out resources.
·         Reduce/Expand – do more or less of something.
·         Reverse – just do the complete opposite of what’s been done.

Can you think outside the box? When does it make sense to stay in the box?

Often we make decisions without really having all of the facts, properly understanding them, evaluating them. Many people are risk-averse or lack confidence in the unknowns of book marketing.  Know what is knowable, make a choice, and move on.

Sometimes you need to make no decision simply because the stakes are high and you doubt your options.  Sleep on it.  But don’t think making no decision is a game plan long term.  By not making a choice, you have chosen.

When you make decisions, think of the immediate present, near future, and long-term to act accordingly.  You must figure out what will help you – by when and why.  All of your decisions have consequences and each one impacts other choices you made or will soon make.

Sometimes our judgement is clouded.  We see what we want to see or simply haven’t exposed ourselves to other ideas, people or situations, leaving us to make decisions based on bias.

How often do we feel forced into a decision, simply because we procrastinated or suddenly feel urgency?  How often do others look to pressure us to decide on something faster than we feel comfortable in doing?  Where possible, don’t feel boxed in.  Explore your options and look beyond what’s in front of you.

Of course all of our decisions are made based on our understanding of reality (perception and interpretation), our emotional state, our needs (physical, financial, health, relationships), our desires and fantasies, and what we know of the choices out there and our ability to properly evaluate them.

We also make decisions based on expectations, hopes, and dreams.  How realistic are they?  Further, do you understand the risks, dangers, payoffs, and pitfalls ahead of you?  You must be able to weigh the totality of what you plan to do.

Sometimes we follow our gut, instinct, or intuition in making a decision.  Other times we let facts and numbers purely dictate us.  But mixed in there are your past successes and failures, your childhood, your circle of family and friends, and your deep desires all whispering in your car.

So what kind of mistakes can undermine your ability to make smart and effective book marketing decisions?

·         Making an incorrect assumption.
·         Not looking at alternative options.
·         Lacking the knowledge to properly evaluate options.
·         Dismissing or liking things for the wrong reasons.
·         Bad mindset, intoxicated, sick, tired, angry, or depressed when making a choice.
·         Not knowing the things to look for.
·         Appealing, disproportionately to something (status, lust, hungry, fearful) that is not the factor by which you should judge upon.
·         Following habit for no reason other than comfort and familiarity.
·         Seeking perfection unreasonably.
·         Not planning for disasters or a rainy day.
·         Relying on faith over knowledge.
·         Trusting a single person, source, product, or service too much.
·         Failing to rely on others to contribute.
·         Not being willing to get needed coaching, training, or support to help carry out a wise decision.
·         Being too much of any of these things – or not enough: emotional reaction, analytical, critical thinking, optimism, ideation, or structured, big-picture thinking.
·         Obsessing over price, speed, availability – and not enough on overall results.
·         Making moral judgments or philosophical claims when you simply just need to weigh efficiencies and opportunities first.

In the end, we try to simplify our decisions, even avoid making some, and defer to others to help us.  To promote your book, you’ll need to make choices such as:

  • ·      What should I do today?
  • ·         What are my goals and how will I reach them?
  • ·         What’s my budget of money, time, and resources?
  •        What should I outsource?
  • ·         Who should I hire?
  • ·         What will not get done?
  • ·         How will I write while marketing my book and brand?

Maybe you’ll just shut down, overwhelmed by things.  Or you’ll let something as simple as a coin flip or random only story or service review tip your hand.  

Maybe you’ll just follow some familiar formula or path or you’ll purposely take the road untaken.  You might do things cautiously and slowly – or you’ll go for broke and be all in now.

It’s not easy to promote a book or make tough decisions.  But you can do it.  You have to.  Your book deserves to be discovered and your writing warrants a chance to live another day.  So buckle down and take a wild ride on the road of book marketing.

“Your library is your paradise.”

“All philosophy is based on two things only:  curiosity and poor eyesight.”
--Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle

“Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.”
--William James

“To teach is to learn twice.”
--Joseph Joubert


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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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