Monday, May 17, 2021

Why Authors Must Market Books To Their Tribes


The race for the mayor of New York City falls, to some degree, along ethnic and gender identities. Voters, misinformed or naturally comfortable with their own kind, vote for someone that represents their tribe, such as Asian, Black, or woman. The same tends to hold true when people in my community vote for people running for the local school board. The process repeats itself in many other contests. Tribal marketing is still a winning formula. It could work for authors peddling books, too.

When people have little to go by, they make decisions based on incomplete data. They look to find something in common with you. Did you grow up in the same city? Follow the same sport? Belong to the same organization? Like the same movies, foods, or fashions? Are you politically matched? Are you from a certain nation, race, or religion? Biases, common interests, or memberships to similar groups all play a role in whether one is drawn to you or not. This holds true on a date, job interview, or college application. We make connections with people not just because of the merits, but because of tribalism.

Authors can sell their books this way, to a degree. They should exploit whatever is a part of their profile and use it to their advantage. Play the cards you are dealt. If someone buys a book because they feel a bond simply based on something like race, gender identity, or religion, don’t turn it down. But find a way to win over those who need a reason beyond having something in common to buy from you.

First, think about what groups you are a part of. Next, find organizations or gathering clusters where those type of people gather or consume information. Then, craft a message that highlights your social heritage or commonality in order to exploit their built-in prejudice to support your kind. Make their bias work for you.

Everyone, whether they choose to or not, is part of multiple groups. You can’t not be part of a group. You have to have a race, a body shape, an eye color, a place of origin, a gender, etc. In some cases, you are defined by what you are not. You are not a southerner. Not a senior citizen. Not a religious person. Not a golf fan. So, that’s who you are. And someone else likes that.

Whomever you are and whatever classifications you willfully or unknowingly belong to, people are sizing you up, labeling you, and then treating you based off of these perceptions and prejudices. The book world is no different.

Ir categorizes you as self-published or traditionally published. Big 5 or small press. POD or not. Audiobook vs print vs e-book. Best-seller? Which list? Award-winner? Which one? Which genre do you write in?

Get the message?

Embrace tribal marketing. Find your kind and guilt them to buy. You are one of them. You know how they think. Have them help their own. Let racism, sexism, politics, religion, regionalism, and any ism work to your advantage. Don’t exclude anyone but do sell to those who should see you as being aligned with them.

Every trait counts. People buy from you because:

* You like the same things
* You have similar habits and styles
* You express similar viewpoints
* You share the same fears, needs, desires, or goals
* You have a shared history
* You suffered a similar loss, pain, disease, victimization
* You are of a certain sex, gender, or sexual preference
* You are a certain race, nationality, and creed
* You are a certain faith, agnostic, or atheistic
* You lived or now live somewhere
* Of your age, height, weight, hair color, or eye color
* Of your intellect or wit
* Of your way of speaking (style, accent, vocabulary)

Play to every stereotype, perception, myth, expectation, and bias. Use it to sell your book and don’t feel a need to apologize. You are not alone in this world, even if your family is small or lack friends or recently relocated and are far from anyone you know. You are part of all kinds of groups, whether you want to be adopted by them or not.

Now go sell to them!


The Etiquette Show, a cable access television show that airs on MNN in New York City, just featured me for nearly 14 minutes. Would you like to see me in my man cave interviewed by a woman in her attic, dishing on what I love about marketing authors since 1989? Check out the clip below – skip the ads and start at 24:30 on the time counter.

Interview on MNN, a NYC Cable TV Station


Contact Brian For Marketing Help!!

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

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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 and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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