I Have to Market My Own Book? That’s Not Fair!

First of all, thank you so much for being a reader of my posts, whether you’re here for the first time or you’ve been reading my words for years. This wouldn’t be a blog community without you.

A few weeks ago, someone commented to the effect that publishers expect an awful lot of authors as far as marketing. The author wants to spend time writing. As someone who wrote books for publication for many years, I get it!

You See Marketing Every Day, in Every Business

We don’t think about how businesses market to us because their ads are not our problem. Except for the ad we HATED the first time and keep seeing on TV until we want to throw a tomato at the set. Or the ad that was cute the first 600 times but has worn out its welcome. Of course, the argument can be made to cut off the TV!

Regardless, when you think about it, all businesses need and expect marketing.

Do you own a national franchise? You may be asked to pay a fee for ads they run for the brand.

See celebrities being interviewed on television three or four times a day for several weeks? They have a movie or show to pitch.

Politicians? They are selling their ideas.

And, finally, authors make appearances to – guess what? Promote their books. No doubt many of them wish they could be typing away, or writing a plot, or developing characters. This can be done while wearing favorite casual clothes and listening to preferred tunes. But, no, they need to go out in public to answer questions about themselves and their books. If everyone would just buy the book and read it, everyone’s life would be easier, right?

Your Audience Must Learn about Your Book

Perhaps, but it doesn’t work that way. However, there’s a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel; and it’s not a locomotive. There are ways an author can cut down on the amount of marketing he needs to do. Next week, I’ll explore a path to consider.


Your turn:

How did you learn about the book you are currently reading?

What is the most surprising way you learned about a particular book?

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Four Questions About Publicity

by Steve Laube

Publicity is the art of telling the world about you and your book. We recently received a few questions about publicity via the green button you see in the right hand column of our blog (yes, it really works).

1.) When should a writer hire a publicist?
I think an author should wait to see what their publisher will provide in this area. If you do hire a publicist make sure they coordinate with your publisher so as to not duplicate efforts. (Don’t aggravate your local TV station with multiple PR contacts.)

But the question was “when” not “should.” So let me re-answer.

If you are on your own with regard to your PR, you should hire that firm six to nine months prior to the release date of your book. The PR firm will be handicapped if you wait too long. They need lead time especially in the area of getting reviews for your book. Few review outlets are interested in a book after it has already been released.

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Picture-Perfect Personality

Today’s guest writer is Emilie Haney, a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic designer living in Northern California. She’s a member of ACFW and writes young-adult fiction. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, …

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How Long Does It Take to Get Published?

How much time does it take to get published?

I came to the publishing business from the retail side of the equation. The biggest adjustment was understanding how long the process takes. In retail there is instantaneous gratification. But book publishing is a process business.

There is no question the timeline varies from person to person and project to project. In the world of major publishers the diversity can be quite extreme.

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Would You Buy Your Own Book?

When I ask a room of writers if they would buy their own book if they saw it on the shelf at a major bookstore I am met with a variety of reactions. Laughter. Pensiveness. Surprise. And even a few scowls. How would you answer that question?

But the question is meant to ask if your book idea is unique. Whether it will stand out among the noise of the competition.

It is not a question of whether your book is important or valuable or even well written. It is ultimately a question of commercial viability.

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Recent Questions I’ve Been Asked

Since becoming a literary agent, I’ve been fairly impressed with myself. It became obvious, almost immediately, that (judging from people’s respect for and faith in me) my IQ climbed 20-30 points and my expertise tripled once I began accepting clients. So, as you might imagine, I field quite a few …

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What Makes You Click?

Below is a visual representation of some astounding statistics regarding Internet usage. A little more than twelve years ago I wrote a chapter for a writing book on how to use the Internet for research. I re-read that article recently…umm, Google didn’t even exist back then (founded in September 1998), much less Wikipedia (where the jury is still out if is a reliable source for verifiable facts).

210 billion emails sent per day? I think I get half of those. <!>
20 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute?

We swim in a sea of data. So how do you discern what to read or view? In other words, what makes you buy or click?

Take that same mindset and apply it to your next book idea or article. What would make the consumer buy or click it, especially when faced with a plethora of competing options? If your idea, your novel, your insight, can withstand competitive scrutiny then you have a chance to impact this world. Obscurity equals no audience. That is why publishers are pushing agents and authors to make their “platform” bigger.


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