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Friday, March 26, 2021

Authors Must Not Let Excuses Blow Their Opportunities

 


Having talked to more than 25,000 authors, one-on-one, over my 30-year book marketing career, I can tell you that one huge mistake authors make when promoting their books is that they mistakenly dismiss opportunities to market themselves.

Authors operate under a number of myths and misconceptions. They are uninformed in some areas, misinformed in others. Couple this with the fact that they lack certain skills, targeted knowledge, or enough confidence to succeed at certain critical tasks. This creates a negative mindset for authors who need to really be open to all ways and means to get the word out.

Let’s be clear here. As a self-published author, you absolutely punch your own ticket when it comes to marketing and publicity. The burden is on you. If you don’t do it, no one will. But even when you are published by a company, including a Big 5 publisher, you will still need to be active in promoting your book and marketing your brand. Publishers have small windows of time where the focus is on promoting a new book, and if they do something for you, it is often not as much as you need or want. If you desire to get your message out there and really sell books, you need to make the most of all of the opportunities available to you.

Here are some examples of doors that authors close without having all of the facts. Further, here is a better way to counter these concerns or fears:

Social Media

Authors may say… 

It is a waste of time.
I don’t know how to use it.
I don’t see many sales coming from it.
There are too many people on these platforms asking to be heard.

Like anything else, social media is as good or bad as what you put into it. Be on a few platforms — not five or six — and be active. Authors must post regularly and often. Their posts need to engage others and lead them to their site. They must take specific, targeted, and daily actions to grow their number of connections. It is a formula of quantity and quality of posts and connections that will lead you to grow your profile and sell books.

Blogging/Podcasting

Authors may say… 

I don’t know what to say or talk about.
Why do I need to push a blog when I need to push my book?
How do I get people to listen to my podcast?

By pushing out your own content, be it a video channel, podcast, or blog, you afford yourself a rich opportunity to take control of crafting and sharing your message. No filters to cut you short. No permission needed. You own your brand and can define it with every post of content. This content is what you share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or You Tube and use it to get more connections and lure people to buy your book.

Traditional Media

Authors may say… 

Only famous people or best-selling authors get media coverage.
I don’t know who to contact.
My emails just get lost in the shuffle.
They won’t pay attention to a self-published author.
It is not worth it unless I get NPR, CBS This Morning, or USA Today.

All media is important to the author in search of book buyers and connections. Nothing is too small to do, so don’t just hold out for big stuff. In order to get major media outlets interested in you, try building up your media resume and reach out to smaller blogs, community newspapers, or a friend’s podcast. It is not just book reviews that authors should seek out; it is also interviews, feature stories, article mentions, and byline articles that help give exposure to your book.

Speaking

Authors may say… 

No one is holding or attending public events with Covid.
I am not sure what to talk about.
I am not sure who to contact beyond bookstores.

Covid is dissipating and things are opening up. Live, in-person events are returning. If not within three months, then six, but they will be back. Conferences, seminars, book fairs, workshops, and gatherings in public shall return with a roar. There are plenty of places to speak: bookstores, libraries, campuses, K-12 schools, businesses, non-profits government agencies, annual events, book fairs, etc. Get out there! Talk about your book, your area of expertise, and passions. Offer advice, interesting facts, stories, jokes, statistics, and insights. Take questions. Make it a fun dialogue.

Advertising 

Authors may say… 

I won’t sell enough books to pay for this.

I don’t know where to advertise.

I can’t handle a big response.

Although advertising, in certain formats and amounts, is not for everyone, it can be helpful depending on what you seek to accomplish. Google, Facebook, and Amazon ads can be targeted. They offer a low buy-in to test and experiment with search term and results. Ads in industry publications, such as Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, may not sell enough books to warrant their cost but they do get you noticed by the industry – bookstores, agents, libraries, and publishers. Buying ads that cover your genre or industry make sense, depending on the cost per eyeball. And, should you get a huge response to an ad, God bless you. Deal with it!

Timing

Authors may say… 

Is it too soon or too late to promote this?
Let’s try one thing at a time and see how it does before I do other things.
 

It is always the right time to promote yourself! During your lifetime, you will perpetually promote your name and brand. Always be doing something. Of course, activity picks up just before and just after a book is published. Around six months prior to your book coming out, you should develop or update your website, charge up your social media, and develop your blog/podcast. Four months prior to the launch date, send advance review copies to leading book reviewers and magazines with long lead times. A book is “new” with the media up until the first three or four months a book is out, unless there is something timely in the news to tie it into.

Website

Authors may say… 

I have a blog and Twitter, so I don’t need a site.
I don’t know how to get people to my site.
I am not sure how to update the site or what should be on it.
 

Nothing is a substitute for a website anymore than a pushcart is a substitute for a restaurant. This is your retail space, your real estate and home. The site stays with you forever. Blogs and social media accounts come and go and are incomplete experiences. Get a site and a web master.

Writer conference attendance and writer association membership

Authors may say… 

Why do I want to be around a bunch of other authors?
Who has time to talk to other authors that compete with me?

Network with your fellow writers. They are more like siblings, sharing a similar experience with you. They can give you emotional support, good advice, share ideas and resources, and split costs with you on some things. At these events, you may meet literary agents or other useful vendors and pros. Authors should always support, not fear or envy, each other.

Hiring a publicist

Authors may say… 

I can’t afford it.
I had one and got burned.
How do I know who is good?

You ever date a guy who was a jerk or marry a woman who cheated on you? Sure you did, but you didn’t stop dating after that and become a monk, right? Well, just because you hired a lousy publicist does not mean that they are all bad. As for knowing who is good, follow your instinct, scrutinize their offerings, agree on exactly what is being done – or not done, google them, and make sure they sound knowledgeable. As for affordability, neither take out a second mortgage nor be cheap on investing in your future. There can be a pay-off to this that makes it all worthwhile.

Contact Brian For Marketing Help!!

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at brianfeinblum@gmail.com He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand.

Learn, Grow, Succeed!!

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. 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. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum. 

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