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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The 8 Rules of Book Marketing Successfully


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If you were to compare the marketing of books to other products, what would be a similar item?

Books are generally sold in bookstores and online, most often via Amazon.  But they can be sold anywhere – gift shops, schools, museums, stationery stores, churches, airports, newsstands, etc.  They can be sold via an author’s website as well.  But what is just like books – an information /entertainment product that sells, typically from $10 to $30, that can exist in hard form or digital, in written or oral?  And how many products can be sold years after they were created?  The book is unique.  So is its marketing.

Publishing is a nickel and dime business.  If you receive a royalty, you may only get a buck per book sold.  If you self-publish, your compensation per book sold is far greater but you’ll need to sell a certain number of copies to break even and cover your costs for printing, distribution, editing, advertising, and promotions.  In both cases, there’s a motivation to promote a book. Most other products are not marketed like books, simply because the economics differ or because one can’t promote a widget and the person behind it the same as one markets an idea, a voice, or a personal brand.

Here are some rules to keep in mind when marketing books:

1.      Know why you are marketing you book.  What exactly do you hope to accomplish?  Are those achievable expectations?  How much money, time, and mindshare are you willing to invest?

2.      Understand your competition is fierce and that no matter how great you think your book is, be prepared to be ignored, rejected, or dismissed.  That doesn’t’ mean you should take no for an answer, but do not expect everyone to embrace you and your book.  Be prepared to prove and demonstrate the special qualities of your book.  No one is waiting around to anoint you king.

3.      Be ready to diversify your approach to marketing and to experiment in one or more ways to promote and market your book.  If something doesn’t work for you, invest more in what does, and just because something works today, doesn’t mean it will tomorrow. Build on what works and expand to other areas, choosing from things like:  speaking engagements, webinars, direct mail, advertising, flier handouts, email blasts, social media, news media campaign, bulk sales, affiliated sales, etc.

4.      Know that what you invest to market a book now could have a substantial payoff down the road, for future books.  Also know that you help promote your backlist by promoting your newest book.  Lastly, be aware that you are always marketing your brand as an author-expert, which can help you sell other products and services or allow you to impact and influence others with your empowering message.

5.      Think about what you will do (that you enjoy doing and are capable of doing) – and acknowledge what else needs to be done.  Divide that portion up into outsourcing to others and then dismissing the rest. You can’t afford to do everything, so prioritize, and once you decide on your course of action, don’t look back with guilt or second-guessing.

6.      Do what’s free, of course, but don’t confuse that with the things that can be done to market your book that cost money.  On the other hand, just because you pay someone to do something doesn’t mean you’ll reap a reward from those efforts. You need to hire correctly – and to invest in things that are reasonably achievable and worth doing.

7.      Learn from the successes of others, but don’t be jealous of the riches of others.  Determine if you can copy what they did – or would it involve luck, a special relationship, or more time and money than you would like to spend?

8.      Just when you feel like giving up or all is lost, keep going. We often need to push just beyond what feels like a breaking point. It can turn into a breakthrough moment instead.

You are selling words and what attaches to them – experiences, emotions, ideas, opinions, and dreams.  The value of those words is unlimited.  You will set the price on what your book is really worth.


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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 ©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 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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