Marketing Your Book

When I teach my class on the business of book publishing at the local colleges (yes, plural), I watch my students’ expressions of surprise to learn the marketing of their book is up to them, the author, not the publisher.

Oh, yes, the cash cows like Stephen King, Danielle Steele, and the Chicken Soup guys–Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield–get marketing help, but only after these authors have proven to the publisher they can make money for the publisher. It just makes good business sense for the publisher to put some support behind authors who are proven income streams.

For the unknown author like you (I presume), IF you can even get a royalty publisher to consider your work, the book marketing lands squarely on your shoulders. Let’s say you get a $5,000 cash advance against sales on your book. Do you know what you’re supposed to do with that money? That’s seed money for your marketing effort, not reward money for selling your manuscript.

You need to create the buzz about your book so people will buy it. You need a website for the book and one for you, the author. You need to schedule book events–start with the publish party, then move on to book signings, speaking to book groups, etc. You need to blog. You need to comment on other blogs. You need to do the social networking stuff with Twitter, Facebook, etc. In other words, you need to be everywhere talking about your book and getting people excited about it.

But, you say, I don’t like to get in front of people. I’m a writer and writers tend to be solitary. I agree that most writers like to be alone, but if you want to make money as a writer, you need readers! Readers won’t know about you unless you tell them.

I had the pleasure of meeting Literary Agent Michael Larsen at the National Speakers annual convention one year and sitting at his table.  He wrote the book, How to Write a Book Proposal.  I asked him what one piece of advice I should give my students. He said, “Tell us what you’re willing to do to market your book.”

Remember, book publishing is business. Business means making money. You make money by generating sales. You generate sales by letting people know about your book. Who can do it better than the author? The truth is, people buy the author, so get out there and let people know who you are and what your book is about.

Happy writing!

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4 Responses to “Marketing Your Book”


  1. 1 DBD October 5, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Any advice for free e-book marketing?

    • 2 expertbookpublishing October 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      E-book marketing still takes as much work as traditional printed book marketing. People can’t buy something unless they know it exists. Authors need to create a buzz about their books.

      The Internet is full of opportunity to contribute articles, comments, etc., so why not contribute a gem from the e-book that will make people want more? Don’t cram the book down people’s throats, but rather make them want to buy it. By offering a couple of tips, insights, etc. from the e-book in an article, you can whet the reader’s appetite. Just be sure you’ve got a link in the article or at least mention the website where the e-book can be purchased.

      Of course, getting other people to recommend your e-book is also a great (and free) way to market. Try getting reviews of your e-book posted on the Internet–especially on sites e-book readers frequent.

      Don’t overlook contacting your database of everyone you’ve ever known. Obviously you don’t want to spam anyone, but if they’re in the database you created, you must know them in some fashion, so why not send out a message announcing your new e-book, what it offers, and a link to the book’s website (and shopping cart).

      Finally, why not bundle your e-book with others? Work with other authors to create a package deal. Each author knows different readers, so by offering a bundle of books, people who never heard of your book before can get it in the bundle price. And who knows? They may end up discovering you and recommending you along with the other author(s) you bundled with.

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