Sunday, August 2, 2009


ANOTHER BOOK MARKETING GURU, CAROLYN HOWARD-JOHNSON, has offered more tips on marketing your book. If your book is on idle, perhaps it is time to look at other ways to promote and market. As Carolyn clearly says, marketing is not a 'one shot' activity. This may be a bit corny, but if you do not put in the time, you will not make a dime. Again, there are many great links in this blog to follow and if you want your book to be a success, there is no time like the present. I have used Carolyn's books in my own marketing efforts. They work!

In terms of promotion it matters not a whit who publishes your book, you, dear author, must learn to promote it if you want to give it a fighting chance on the freeways of commerce. If your name isn’t King, Grafton, Oates or Bradbury, forget a free ride. Even famous names like these once paid their promotion dues and some still are. John Grisham’s story about selling books—store to store, person to person, out of the trunk of his car—is legend, if not letter-perfect true.

Further—and this is the more vital part of this message—no matter how big the budget or adept the publicity and advertising department of your publisher, there are some things they cannot do as well as you can. They, after all, are the publishers. For the public, the magic is in the author’s name, her smile, her story, her signature.

It is said that business and art don’t mix. Actually they mix very well. The chances of success for artists who are natural promoters (Think Warhol. Think Dickens.) grow incrementally compared to artists who prefer to remain cloistered.

The reasons that authors tend to fail at promotion are two-fold. They think they must only show up at bookstores with a good pen because that’s all that is expected of Hilary Clinton or J.K. Rowling. They may be frightened by the magnitude of what they suspect they must do to give birth to this book of theirs—their baby—and so they dig in their heels and go into a severe state of denial.

My HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers ( addresses both groups. Unfortunately authors often don't hear about the need to promote until it is too late or nearly too late for their books. That almost happened to me. And that is the reason I wrote THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T. I should have added or CAN'T. There just isn't that much profit built in the sales of book these days. It troubles me because now there are books out there--mine and others--that teach authors to market their book for very little money. The cost of a book should not be too much for a writer to invest in the future of his writing career.

THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER will lead you up the publicity rungs of the publishing ladder. You’ll learn what you might do before your book is published, what you must do soon after it is published and beyond. Consider everything offered in the book, as if you were testing desserts at a smorgasbord; then select what suits your book, your personality and your pocketbook.

You will need to know how to write and assemble a media kit, write a great media release (please call them media releases, not press releases!), how to write a great query letter so you can ask (and get!) reviews. You should have a Web site, and a blog. A newsletter is also a good idea. And this is just for starters.

To do all of the above things, you'll need to know how to build a contact list. Without a list of your personal contacts, your fans (as your popularity grows) and the media, all else is to little or no avail. Marketing is not a one-shot thing. You, the author hold the future of your book in your hands. No matter how much your publisher or publicist or anyone else loves your book, they will not love it as much as you do. So, why would you neglect giving it a great start in life?

When you finish THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER you’ll know what it took me—with a publicity background—three years to learn. Publicity for authors is a specialized arena of public relations. I tripped and fell into many PR potholes; negative experiences can be good teachers but learning from a book like this is less painful.

THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER is not a text. It contains many opinions—some as black and white as the page you find them on. You may also notice omissions. I avoided topics that have been covered ad infinitum and for which I have nothing new to add but you will find some new (or rarely used) ways to promote that have not been scorched, stirred and then warmed over.

I hope you'll learn what you can and do what you can. Give your publisher a break. At a very minimum, the two of you are partners. Know that the publishing world is not operating with the same ground rules they did even a couple decades ago.

The good news is that THE AUTHOR is in charge of his own career these days.

Award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for writers, including USA Book News' award winners
The Frugal Editor
The Frugal Book Promoter


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