Everyone wants to know the secret sauce to publishing a book successfully. Well, after three decades of helping authors advance their writing careers, I can tell you it boils down to these six key things:
What is your book about and how will it impact the reader? What will they learn, feel, or do as a result of consuming your words? Your book’s message needs to be shared clearly and powerfully. The message needs to be one that people are thirsty for. Do you fill a need or void? Do you correct a record? Share a new idea? Inspire? Educate? Entertain? Empower? Enlighten? The message is everything, so how it is conveyed and shared will dictate whether you have a winner or a loser.
A huge area that must be addressed is publicity. The media – both social and news – must be pursued aggressively. Books don’t sell themselves. To sell books, it takes lots of tweets, blog posts, interviews with podcasts, book reviews, byline articles, and appearances on media in all formats – print, digital, audio, and visual. The world runs on media. Take a methodical approach to secure local, national, or international media. It is up to you to generate and share content, to grow your network, and to lead people to take an action step to buy your book! You need third-party validation from today’s news media, so get out there and grab the spotlight.
Marketing a book means selling it. Publicity is part of this, but marketing a book extends to advertising, direct mailing, e-blasts, packaging, networking, bulk sales, and finding markets to sell into. It is about getting testimonials and having a great web site. You can go beyond bookstores, libraries and airport stores. Your book could be in gift shops, big box stores, religious stores, supermarkets, or a friend’s book club. Marketing requires persistence and strategy. But mainly it is a numbers game. Ask for the sale as often as possible, from stores, businesses consumers, organizations, houses of worship, clubs, and anywhere books can be sold.
Publishing a book today allows you to sell it in many forms. You can do a hardcover edition, as well as a trade paperback, mass market paperback, audiobook, e-book, or gift edition. You can publish in multiple languages. You can go with words/text or add images or go just with sounds. Having product available in different formats (medium), or price points makes it convenient for the consumer to purchase your work. Distribution is important too – having books in a store, online, or available via POD or download makes your book available, easily, 24/7.
Price is a factor in most purchases, including books, so price your baby accordingly. Too low, and you leave profits on the table. People will not perceive it to be of value if priced too low. Too high, and you sell fewer copies. Find your sweet spot. Your price needs to be based on competitors’ prices, your expenses, and what you believe others will pay for what you are offering. If the book is a calling card for other services or products, to get a message out or to hype your brand, you can afford to sell it for less because sales will be secondary to the benefits you seek from getting wider exposure.
This should not be overlooked or taken for granted. As a solopreneur or an infopreneur the burden is on you to make shit happen. If you don’t push for book sales, solicit the media, blog regularly, seek out speaking engagements, or talk it up for yourself, no one will. It is a draining mind zap to wake up daily knowing you have this burden. I say, turn it around. Get excited and embrace this opportunity. You control your own destiny. All that you need to do is stay positive and energize others.
You are not just an author. You are also a marketer, media generator, motivator, and messenger. Wear your hats proudly and keep your eyes focused on the prize. It may seem out of reach but the truth is it has always been in your grasp.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at email@example.com. His insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are the product of his genius. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. 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 The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby 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.