Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Benefits of Having More Than One Book to Sell

The Benefits of Having More Than One Book to Sell

The Benefits of Having More Than One Book to Sell

By Irene Watson

Writing the second book is one of the best things any author can do. It may not be an easy thing to do, and it may not always seem worthwhile at first, but numerous reasons exist for why writing a second book is one of the best ways to reap the greatest benefits from your role as author.
Whether you are traditionally published or self-published, once your first book is out in public, you as the author have to commit a great deal of time to marketing it. This commitment can be exciting and exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting and time-consuming. You may find yourself putting so much time and energy into promoting your first book that you don't have time left over for the second book. Perhaps you even wrote the first book, not because you like to write, but to boost your public speaking career or to look like an expert in your field to increase your business; you may feel your first book accomplished that goal, so you don't need a second book. Whatever the case, good reasons exist for why writing the second book should be an integral part of your business plan.
"Why? My first book isn't even selling," you might say. Maybe not, but a second book will help make that first one sell. Here are some primary reasons why:

  1. Increased Expert Recognition. The first book has made some people perceive you as an expert on your book's topic. While many people will be impressed by you and think you are a celebrity just because you wrote a book, you won't impress everyone. Let's face it-especially if you're a self-published author, some people will view you as an amateur. Writing that second book shows that you are committed to being an author, that you are professional, that writing, or at least the topic you write about, is your primary career focus. A second book is a great addition to your credentials.
  2. People like Variety. People might have noticed but not been sold on buying your first book. But when the second book comes out, it gives them a push to buy. They now have an option between books-they now have a choice, and people like choices. People will now notice both books and rather than ask themselves, "Should I buy this book?" the question will become, "Which book should I buy?" Many people will decide to buy both to avoid having to make the decision.
  3. People Don't Want to Be Left Behind. When a second book comes out, it makes people who haven't read the first book feel like they are behind the times and better hurry to catch up. The second book's publication will then encourage them to buy and read the first book. I know many authors who have reported that their first book continually outsells subsequent books because people want to start with the first one, and each time a new book comes out, the first book's sales go up. People who buy the first book may never get around to reading the second or third book, but at least you got them to buy the first one.
  4. People Like to Get a Deal. People always like a bargain. Even if it's just saving a dollar or two, if they think they are getting a deal, they are more likely to buy. If you have two books, you can sell them together and let customers know they will save 10 percent, or whatever amount you decide on, if they buy the books together.
  5. You Already Have an Audience-So Sell to It. If people already bought your first book, a good percentage of them are likely to buy the second. Why do you think movie studios make sequels to films? Because a fair percentage, probably 50 percent or more, of those people who saw the first movie will come back to see the second. If people like your first book, they're more likely to read your second book, and they'll choose it over another book by an author they don't know because it's more of a sure thing.
Writing that second book can only increase your sales and strengthen your position as an author. And once the second book takes off, the more you write, the more people will be curious about you and want to read more. Agatha Christie hasn't sold 2 billion copies, half of them thirty-five years after her death, by writing just one book. She wrote eighty-and only the Bible has outsold her. Would Harry Potter have been so successful if J.K. Rowling only wrote one book? You know the answer. Get that second book on paper or your laptop as quickly as possible.Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Borders' Bankruptcy Means to Authors

Borders, the second-largest bookstore chain in the U.S., has filed for bankruptcy.   For publishers, this news has really been a long time coming and isn't a big surprise.  The writing was on the wall when Borders began delaying payments to publishers and to the landlords of their various bookstores.  But what does this news mean to you, the author?

1.  If you have a scheduled book signing event at a Borders store, it may or may not happen.  Borders plans to close 200 stores over the next several weeks.  They have not yet indicated which stores will close.  You'll just need to wait and see if the store hosting your event is affected.

2.  It may take longer for you to get paid for any books you have sold through Borders.  Borders has been delaying payments to some publishers and distributors.  Some publishers have stopped shipping product to Borders altogether.  

3.  You won't be able to schedule any additional book signing events at Borders.  At least for now.  Borders has instituted an ordering freeze on additional books.  Also, Ingram, a major wholesaler and distributor in the U.S., has stopped shipping books to Borders.  If you want to schedule a book signing event at a major bookstore chain, it likely won't be at a Borders store for the foreseeable future.

Borders says its business operations will continue as usual, but as you can see, from an author's standpoint, some things will definitely change.  If you are a fan of Borders and would like to see them continue operating as a national bookstore chain, the best thing you can do is visit a Borders store or and make a purchase.

This is one more example of why authors can't totally rely on bookstores to sell all of their books.  Customer buying habits are changing, and authors need to hit the niche market for their book to effectively reach their readers.

UPDATE:  Borders has now released a list of the stores they will be closing.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guest Post: How NOT to Sell a Book - Learn the Seven Deadly Sins of Book Marketing

Today's guest post is courtesy of Marsha Friedman, the CEO of EMSI Public RelationsAs a publicity expert, she recently debuted her new book, Celebritize Yourself, and began a national media tour.

Marsha Friedman launched EMSI in 1990. Her PR company represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. Some of the more prominent names on her client roster are Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and the famous Motown Group, the Temptations.
She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.

As a radio personality and public speaker, Marsha can be heard every week on the nationally syndicated talk radio show “The Family Roundtable” where problems that modern families face are discussed. Marsha and her co-hosts have enjoyed interviewing family experts as well as celebrities such as Tony Curtis, Ed Begley Jr, Augusten Burroughs, Faith Evans, Vicki Lawrence, Denise Jackson, Janine Turner and Rose Rock.

Not a day goes by that I don't hear this same question from people who contact me to help them market their books: If I do PR, how many books will I sell?

This seems like a straightforward question at first, until I start asking some questions myself:  Do you have a Web site?  What's your marketing plan?  Is your book available online?  What's your message?

At the risk of demystifying what I do for my clients, let me make it abundantly clear, there is NO magic wand that will help you sell your book.  PR, advertising, promotions, Web sites, social networking, none of it will guarantee you a bestseller.  However, I think it's imperative that I point out a few things which, if absent, will practically guarantee barely any sales beyond family and friends.

It's important to understand that leaving out key elements of book marketing will make any of the tactics you use ineffective.

1.  No Web Site: If you don't have a Web site for your book, you're missing one of the most basic elements of book marketing.  According to recent stats on, about 48 percent of ALL books sold in North America are sold online.  So, if nearly half your potential customers are buying online and you don't have a Web site, how do you expect to attract potential buyers and make sales?

2.  Poor Web Site: Having a Web site is a step in the right direction, but if it doesn't effectively market your book, it's almost worthless.  The good news is that researching effective book Web sites isn't difficult.  For starters, look at the Web sites of your favorite recent book purchases.  Also, look at the Web sites of a few bestsellers and see how they do it.  I'll bet you find the same basic elements (synopsis, about the author, excerpts, testimonials), but more than that, you may gain valuable insight about marketing tactics to implement on your Web site that can also work for you.  The bottom line is in order to be effective, your visitor has to have a reason to want to buy your book, and your Web site has to give it to them or you lose the sale.

3.  No Book Marketing Plan: Marketing plans don't cost anything to create.  Even if it's your first attempt at marketing, having a marketing plan in place is essential.  Even an elementary one is far better than having no marketing plan at all.  And, to take it one step further, even if you've developed marketing plans in other industries, it's important to realize that marketing your book is like nothing you've done before.  So, while researching the topic of book marketing, look for ideas you can apply to your own book marketing that have been successful for other authors and publishers.

4.  No Publicity Plan: Books are not magnets.  They're made of paper, for the most part, and as a result they won't inherently attract anyone to buy them if the public isn't aware they exist first.  Being interviewed as a guest on radio and/or TV or having the book mentioned in newspapers and magazines is the first measure of awareness your book will receive.  Will it sell 100,000 of your books?  Not by itself.  Will you sell any books without it?  Not likely.

5.  No Amazon or E-Book Availability: We've already mentioned that about half of all books sold in North America are sold online.  Moreover, the e-book is a growing category that is beginning to chart some serious numbers.  If you aren't listed on Amazon and you don't have an e-book, you are literally telling more than half of your potential customers that you don't really want them to buy your book.

6.  No Message:   Every book has a key message intended for the reader to walk away with.  That key message is undoubtedly the passion that drove you to write the book in the first place.  That's why your ability to communicate the essence of that message is an important element to selling your book.  I've seen it happen all too often where the author thinks his message to the consumer is "buy my book."  That doesn't work.  You've got to give them a reason.  You need to answer the question, "What's in it for me?"  What will the reader know after reading your book that they don't know now?  What problem might it solve?  What will they learn?  Without identifying the answers to these questions, your marketing and publicity plans will go nowhere like engines without fuel.

7.  No Budget: The old axiom of “you get what you pay for” is 100 percent true for marketing a book.  At the very least you will need a small budget for things like hiring someone to build your Web site (ideally you hire a pro who can program AND understands marketing), buying books from your publisher to send out to the media, support material for book signings, travel expenses, postage, and working with a PR pro.  Even if you don’t hire a PR firm, you still need a budget for purchasing the media lists in order to perform your media outreach.  Whether you are published by a traditional publisher or self-published, these are real expenses that will need to be accounted for.  So plan in advance, because getting that first shipment of books from the publisher is not the end of the race.  It’s just the first milestone.

Writing a book is an arduous task, to be sure.  And, I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this is ALL there is to do. There are other components that will determine the total effectiveness of your book promotion efforts, but these are the crucial ones that ALL authors must have as a bare minimum. Honestly, without these, it's naive to think you can reap the wonderful rewards from having written your book.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top 5 Reasons Niche Marketing Is More Important Than Ever

Today's guest post is courtesy of Jim Miller.  Jim also writes his own blog at

If you’re satisfied with your book’s progress up to this point in its life, then you might not need to read any further. If you’ve been frustrated with your book sales, it might be because you’ve never seen the importance of niche marketing. I hear from authors all the time who believe that their book will sell if only X number of bookstores carried it.

The boxes of returned books I have in my office tell me otherwise.

Top 5 Reasons Niche Marketing Is More Important Than Ever

5) RETAIL STORES ARE STRUGGLING – Borders just announced a freeze on ordering new books. They are struggling financially, and that has forced them to make a move that makes them less competitive, which almost guarantees they will struggle even more. Barnes & Noble has been looking for a buyer off and on for the past year. The leaders at both stores have flirted with each other about a merger, which would mean more stores closing. These are the two largest bookstore chains in America! 

4) MORE BOOKS ARE SOLD ON AMAZON.COM THAN ANYWHERE ELSE – Think about why you buy a book on Amazon: because you heard about it somewhere else. Without a known name and reputation and without word-of-mouth, few people will buy your book on Amazon. Niche marketing is the only way to build your name and reputation and begin the ripples of word-of-mouth.

3) THE MORE EVENTS YOU HAVE, THE MORE AMMO YOU GIVE ME – Publishers have the greatest pull with bookstores, and with them scaling back and closing, all publishers are scrambling to figure out how to reach the masses. When you have an event for me to promote, the media are more likely to care. When that event is more about helping people than promoting your book, people are even more likely to care, and they are more likely to promote your book. And you get more sales. As a publisher, we believe in your message and in the work we’ve both done to package it. But readers don’t listen to publishers. They listen to other people who they perceive as able to help them.

2) NICHE MARKETING IS FUN! – Your book may have a wide appeal, but there is always a narrower niche that is looking for your book even if they don’t realize it yet. These are the people who are just like you. They love your stories, they laugh at your jokes, and once they get to know you, they will become your fans and evangelists. It is indeed hard to break the ice, but once you do, you will have a blast being around the people in your niche.

1) NICHE MARKETING IS THE ONLY THING YOU AS AN AUTHOR CAN CONTROL – You can’t control bookstores. You can’t control what people you’ve never met will buy. You can, however, control your efforts. The more you do, the more you expose people to your book and message. This is not about you; it’s about your message. Your book is the only thing in the world that contains your message, and you are the one to whom your message was given!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What to Do When Retail Fails

Today's guest post was written by Mark Mingle, who has more than a decade of experience in the publishing industry. - Terry

The book retail market has been met with some startling news in 2011.

Barnes & Noble laid off 45-50 employees at their corporate offices in New York last month. Borders is on the verge of closing 150 stores and will likely be filing for bankruptcy in an effort to reorganize.

So what are authors to make of this news? How will their books get "out there?"

Here are three steps authors should make to continue to pursue sales and visibility for their books as this climate is changing:

1) Don't depend solely on the retail bookstore market to be the primary outlet for book sales. Those days are gone, and if you plan for your book like a good small businessperson, you will pursue multiple revenue streams for your book. Publishers that rely solely on the retail bookstore market are closing their doors (as the retailers close theirs). Authors that want to survive must have a plan for keeping their book relevant and visible in the marketplace outside the traditional bookstores.

It is not enough to expect customers to come find your book in the sea of books at bookstores that are more often more interested in selling a handful of bestsellers and non-book gift items in their stores than they are supporting new authors and books. Authors must be proactive in finding their customer base and recognize that this base may not ever darken the door of a bookstore.

2) Develop an online presence for your book. More books are sold online now than in brick and mortar stores. If you are not engaging readers online, you are missing a vast and diverse market - and one that is right at your fingertips!

Start a blog, develop a Facebook Fan Page for your book, and have a video book trailer for your book. This allows you to visually and electronically interact with your audience worldwide. Follow influential people on Twitter, and become a vocal expert in your field. Develop your own following by letting others hear what you have to say, and draw them to your book and how it will benefit them.

3) Most importantly, ask and answer these questions: Where are you taking your book? How are you engaging potential readers? What is the target audience for your book, and how do you intend to get the book in their hands as a professional author?

If you are not considering the above questions and making a plan based around these ideas, you will likely be disappointed in how your book is selling in 2011. But if you step out into pursuing this kind of mentality, you will find your audience, sell more books, and you will have fun! As you move into this environment of finding your book's niche, this can also drive readers back into the retail market to some degree, so the visibility you create on the non-retail side actually creates momentum and sales elsewhere.

Pursue speaking engagements, book fairs, civic groups, and other pubic appearances. If you've written a book on parenting or marriage, start your own small groups or conferences in your community. If your book is about World War II, find historical societies or college history classes that would be interested in your perspective or research. The possibilities are endless, and you as the author can find much more control, success, and profits from sales.


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