Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some Keys to Promotion

Author 101 Book PublicityI’m continuing to give some glimpses into Bestselling Book Publicity by Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman.  Since these authors have worked for years in book promotion, they know firsthand the fears and concerns from authors about this aspect of publishing. Many years ago I visited Rick’s Planned Television Arts office in New York City where they run some high-profile author promotion. In general, I’ve found writers are shy and introverted so the whole concept of getting out in front with your book sounds threatening and contrary to our normal personality. I completely understand and it’s not something that comes natural.

Frishman and Spizman say, “After authoring and promoting many books, we’re here to testify that the writing is the hard part; it’s slow, solitary, exacting work. It’s constant writing, rewriting, checking, rechecking, editing, and re-editing deep into the night until your mind is mush and your fingers feel like linguini as they bounce off all the wrong keys. Writing a book requires intense concentration, dedication, and discipline. Plus, when you reread it in the morning, it often makes no sense. After you’ve written your book, the real fun begins—if you let it…The key to successful book publicity is approaching it positively with excitement—to open up and expand that creativity that you may have suppressed or never even knew you had. Turn the work that lies ahead into an enjoyable, creative experience, to eliminate the drudgery and increase your chances of doing a fabulous job.”  The right attitude in approaching promotion is one key.

Also you have to make your book distinct from others in the market.  Before you wrote the book, remember your book proposal?  I hope as a part of that process, you detailed the competition and distinctions of your book. It’s a great place to turn and recall the distinctions of your book for the overall marketplace.  It’s another key emphasized in Bestselling Book Publicity. These authors say, “Publicity works best when you distinguish yourself and your book and show others why it’s so special and a must read. It’s the perfect opportunity to be creative; your only limits are those you impose on yourself. Unfortunately, many of us have been sold the bill of goods that publicizing our efforts or ourselves is crass, undignified, and not what respectable people do—which is just plain wrong. According to that thinking, we should sit back and wait for the world to recognize and applaud us; do nothing but let nature take its course. However, doing nada doesn’t sell books! So take control! Start by changing your attitude and your approach. Adjust your thinking; become positive, optimistic, and active. Commit to vigorously promoting your book and yourself. If you want to sell books, it’s a must!”

Finally, these authors address something a weakness in authors which I see on a regular basis.  In particular, fiction authors don’t believe they need to promote their books. As a fiction acquisitions editor, you’d be surprised what people answer when I ask how they are going to promote their book. Many of these authors believe they can forget about this process because they’ve simply told a great story (which is always key).  Frishman and Spizman say, “Some authors mistakenly think that it’s unnecessary to promote books of fiction. They believe that once their novels, short stories, and poetry are published, literary acclaim, huge book sales, and big advances for subsequent books will automatically follow. Sorry to say, they’re wrong—very wrong. The market for fiction is densely crowded, and the competition for readers is fierce. Without publicity, first-rate fiction can get lost in the crowd, languish, and not sell; it happens every day. Lack of sales can hurt authors’ careers because when publishers make their acquisition decisions, they consider how the authors’ prior books sold. So, as you read this book, keep in mind that the information will be beneficial to both fiction and nonfiction books.”

I hope you can see some of the truth for any author that rings in the pages of this title.

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