Thursday, May 14, 2020

How Should Authors Promote Books During A Plague?

green and white braille typewriter

In any given day in America, people die, suffer pain, or loss, fall victim to a crime, or battle something tragic. Millions battle an affliction, an illness, an addiction, or a dangerous environment. This was before corona – and life in the nation went on. People went about their business.

Today, the majority of the nation is challenged by an unstable economy that has led to tens of millions instantly unemployed. Further, over 85,000 families have had to bury a loved one, while hundreds of thousands of others had to deal with a hospitalization. Can we still promote books like nothing has happened?

Yes. No. Depends.

Like anything else, there is a right time, a wrong time, and a better time to sell or promote something. You don’t see gun ads a day after a mass shooting. Nor do you see airline commercials after a major crash. But what about books? And what about when it is not a single-day event that we have to navigate around, but the next year or more?

Books are both needed and desired. They will educate, enlighten, inspire, and entertain us. They are invaluable and for the past six centuries have helped preserve history, while creating some history too. One might say that books help society go on, and so any marketing of books that is necessary for them to thrive should be not only permitted or accepted but embraced.

Authors should not feel guilty, shy, or ashamed about promoting their books. Life goes on. It has gone on during times of war and terrorism, or political unrest, or national disasters, or civil strife, or past health panics. Today, with corona, is no different.

We can rebuild the economy. We can treat the sick. We can morn the deceased. We can unite to honor heroic workers. We can plan better for the next stage of the outbreak. But none of those things should prevent us from celebration, selling, promoting, or reading books.

So, what should authors be doing in a time when there is a fragile sensitivity to what has fallen upon our nation?

1.      They promote with class and professionalism. They treat people with respect and kindness and don’t market in a blind vacuum. They acknowledge the crazy times that we live in and make announcements about their books in the context of a pandemic that is a living hell for some.

2.      They act with flexibility, whether it means changing marketing plans or book launch dates, or switching specific methods to promote their book.

3.      They’re collaborating with a charity, donating some books or a percentage of profits to a corona-oriented cause.

4.      They are doing things virtually, in the absence of bookstore signings and in-person events. They have ramped up their social media and aggressively pursue media opportunities.

5.      They’re making themselves more accessible to readers by doing online readings, webinars, and online courses.

6.      They are either highlighting how their book provides a welcome reprieve from corona 24-7 – or they show exactly how their book relates to corona.

7.      They are experimenting. This is foreign territory to every industry. How do any of us sell and promote anything when retail opportunities have shifted, when consumers are suffering, when finances are tight, when there is no proven formula on how to act? Try something, anything, and keep at it until you find what works.

None of this may feel natural or comfortable to you. Marketing a brand, selling a book, or promoting a message to the media always has its rewards and pitfalls. Certainly during a pandemic that has taken a mental, financial, and physical toll on many is not easy, but it is necessary if we are to ensure that books stay in the forefront of our country’s consciousness.

Birth Of A Blog
Nine years ago -- May 13, 2011 -- I launched my award-winning blog. Here is the very first post:


Advice to Authors From A Book Promoter of 30 Years

The Bestseller Code For Book Marketers & Authors

What Should You Do to Market Your Book?

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 ©2020. 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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