Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint


Just out of curiosity, I checked Amazon recently to see which titles were the current bestselling titles offered by Tate Publishing (where I work as associate director of marketing). The Top 5 (at the time) were:

1. A Daughter's Worth: A Bible Study for Teenaged Girls
by Ava Sturgeon
2. What All Little Girls Need & What Most Women Never Had: Healthy, Loving Relationships with Their Fathers
by Joe Cucchiara
3. The Manufactured Identity
by Heath Sommer
4. Eden: The Knowledge of Good and Evil 666
by Dr. Joye Jeffries Pugh
5. How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary
by Danny Kofke

If you peruse these titles on Amazon, you'll notice that with one exception, they were released 3 to 5 years ago. That's right, 3 to 5 years ago. They aren't new releases which have raced up the Amazon sales rankings. The authors all have one thing in common: they have consistently and persistently worked to market and promote their titles.

As I have mentioned here before, too many authors give up on promoting their titles way too soon. In many cases, I have spoken to authors who are ready to throw in the towel 3-6 months after their book's release because the aren't seeing the kind of results or reception they thought they would get with their title. It has always amazed me that authors are so willing to give up on something in which they have invested so much time and effort.

Publishing is a competitive business. Last year, more than 560,000 titles were released in the U.S. That's more than 1,500 titles per day! What are you doing to make your title stand out?

I help market two of the titles in the Top 5, and I am somewhat familiar with a third title on the list. I know that these authors have done the following to raise the profile of their books:

They have made a number of media appearances. In the case of Dr. Pugh, she has scheduled numerous Internet radio programs for herself through BlogTalkRadio. This led to an appearance on the syndicated radio program Coast to Coast AM, and that led to her being invited to appear in a series on The History Channel called The Nostradamus Effect. She continues to do Internet radio interviews.

They are actively participating in author appearances and book signing events. These include speaking engagements and any other events where they might have an opportunity to discuss their book.

They have their own web site or blog. Most, if not all, of these authors have raised their online profile with their own web site, writing on their own blogs and participating on social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn.

They didn't quit. Even three to five years after their books have been released, these authors continue to seek new opportunities to talk about and promote their books.

A couple of years ago, I remember seeing an ad in a publishing trade magazine in which the publisher was congratulating one of their children's book authors for selling 100,000 copies of their book. Wow, I thought, that's pretty good! Out of curiosity, I checked to see when the book had been released. I was shocked to discover it had been released almost 20 years ago. It had taken two decades for the author to sell 100,000 copies of their book, but they were still promoting it, and they were still selling copies of their book every year.

It is good to set goals for yourself each year about what you would like to accomplish with your book, but remember, it all doesn't have to happen within a couple of months of your book being released. Marketing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. Your book has no expiration date. It will have a shelf life for as long as you are willing to stand behind it.
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