Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Marketing Books Case Study: Mary Higgins Clark

When it comes to selling and promoting books, Mary Higgins Clark obviously knows what she is doing.  She has written 42 bestselling novels, and she sells 3.7 million copies of her books each year.  She has become such a consistent seller that her publisher figures the sales of her books into their annual budget.

But, you may say, this is Mary Higgins Clark we are talking about.  Just having her name on the cover of the book ensures that her book will be a bestseller.  There is truth to that statement, now.  However, Mary doesn't just write her books and then hand them to her publisher and expect them to sell with no further work on her part.  Far from it.

At the age of 83, Mary Higgins Clark is a marketing powerhouse.  She knows what works when it comes to moving her books.  They are also things that any author can do when it comes to marketing and promoting their own books.

1.  Clark knows her audience.  The marketing of a Mary Higgins Clark novel actually begins when she is writing her books.  She doesn't include an graphic sex or violence in her novels.   She doesn't switch genres and she continues to write the type of novels her readers have come to expect.  Her books usually launch on Mother's Day, so she caters to mothers and their daughters who like to read the same books.

2.  She doesn't completely rely on bookstores.  One of Clark's favorite book signing locations isn't a bookstore at all.  It's the Wegman's supermarket stores.  That's right, this multi-millionaire, bestselling author can be found signing her new releases at grocery stores.  Why?  That is where her readers (woman) are.  Clark knows book signings are not a vanity event for the author.  They are sales and promotional events for the reader.  Always put the reader first.

3.  She still works to sell books.  Could Mary Higgins Clark sell books without doing book signing events?  Probably, but she still wants to remain relevant for her readers, and attract new readers.  At the age of 83, she will still do book signings, even at a supermarket.  She even tried to sell a book to the reporter interviewing her for this recent article

4.  She is involved in the marketing of her book.  Even with 42 bestsellers to her credit, Clark takes an active role in marketing her books.  She does signings, meets with fans at every opportunity, and even approves ad copy for her books.

5.  She writes for her readers, not the critics.  Clark doesn't rely on book reviewers to spread the word about the release of her new book.  In fact, she says critics typically ignore her books or give them bad reviews.  Out of the 42 novels she has written, Clark recalls getting a positive review for just one of them.

What can you learn from Mary Higgins Clark?  Know the niche audience for your book, do book signing events at the locations where you would find them, write the kind of books your audience has come to expect from you and be involved in the marketing and promotion of your books.  It has worked well for Clark, and should benefit you as well.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Free E-Book: Savvy Book Marketing Secrets

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are probably familiar with Dana Lynn Smith, the brains and talent behind the superb The Savvy Book Marketer web site.  I have also featured a few articles by Dana here on my blog, and she has also featured a few of my articles on her site as well.

Now Dana has compiled some of the best book marketing tips from around the blogosphere and published them all in one e-book:  Savvy Book Marketing Secrets:  52 Experts Share Insider Tips for Selling More Books.  The e-book features one of my articles and a lot of other great book marketing information. 

The best news is you can get this e-book for free!  It is available in a pdf file and you can download it here:

I think you will find this e-book extremely helpful.  After you read it, feel free to post your reviews here in the comments section of this post.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Marketing With Viral Video

By now, you may have heard of the music video "Friday" by Rebecca Black.  The vanity music video featuring the 13-year-old "singer" has been called by some "the worst music video...ever."  Still, that hasn't stopped people from watching it and posting it to their Facebook and MySpace profiles.  The last time I checked, "Friday" has had more than 65 million views on YouTube, and people are buying the song on ITunes.  One business article I read indicated Black stood to make at least a million dollars from the video that has been vilified by many.

In a word, the video has gone "viral."  Imagine if you could harness that kind of advertising power behind your book!  What elements cause a video to go viral?

They get people talking.  Viral videos are usually humorous, but others elicit a strong emotional response, such as empathy, or even anger.  The videos make people say to their friends "you have to see this."

The video gets shared...a lot  Once people start talking about the video, you want them to share it.  You want it posted on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, on blogs, etc.  Posting a video to YouTube and making it easy to share is key.  More than 10,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube every day.

The video looks like it could have been done by anybody.  If the video looks like it was shot by a Hollywood video on a big budget, it's probably not going to go viral.  If it looks like it was shot with a cell phone camera in somebody's bathroom, and it's funny, it has a better chance of going viral.  Like these guys:

Book trailers are great, an every author should have one.  But, if you have a video that can somehow incorporate your book and it goes viral, the sky is the limit.

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