Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Weapon For Your Book Marketing Arsenal

Any writer has a dual responsibility in my view. First, they have to learn the craft of writing and create a remarkable series of words. This "series of words" can take all sorts of shapes and forms--whether nonfiction or fiction--whether historical fiction or romance fiction or thriller fiction or _____ fiction--or nonfiction how-to material or a little gift book or something for children or dozens of other types of books. It takes a lot of craft and energy to put together the perfect book. Many publishers are great at guiding the author, editing their work and improving that storytelling (fiction or nonfiction) and creating a compelling title and design. Eventually after a lot of hard work, that book gets into print and gets into the bookstore.

Publishers (and many authors) are not good about marketing their book. I've heard the horror stories from authors and it doesn't matter if their book has been released from a long-established publisher or the newest small press. It's one of the reasons as someone who cares about books and getting them into the hands of readers, that I continue to encourage writers in their marketing efforts. It's not easy for any author (including me) but the marketing for your book is the second element that every writer needs to take on--especially if they want results. I mentioned this statistic in November 2006 and many writers don't even want to know this information--but they should--the average book in the United States sells about 500 copies. If you want to fall into this statistical average, then don't do anything to help spread the word about your book. If you want to be the exception and sell books, then you need to take back the primary responsibility for marketing your book and gather every possible tool for your book marketing arsenal. I wanted to tell you about another great resource called Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers by She Horowitz.

After reading thousands of book proposals and pitches from authors and would-be authors, the majority have no idea how to write a realistic marketing plan. The bulk of these proposals are written with the assumption the publisher will do the majority of the marketing. Instead Shel Horowitz, creator of FrugalMarketing.com, shows writers how to use easily reached resources to sell books. Valuable tips and insights are scattered throughout his book including areas such as endorsements, book reviews and awards. Tapping into your personal networking possibilities and even hooking the traditional media and how to give a great interview. Also in Grassroots Marketing Horowitz will teach you the straight story about how bookstores work then libraries and the online bookstores like Amazon. Finally in his advanced marketing section, he covers speaking to sell books, trade shows and book fairs, affiliate and joint-venture marketing, advertising and direct mail plus how to extend your brand and increase your profits. This book is another valuable resource for any book author or publisher.

In addition, I recommend you subscribe to Horowitz's book tips for authors. As you explore the tips and resources in Grassroots Marketing, you will increase your value to a publisher and most importantly--sell more books.

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6 Comment:

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Stephanie Reed Left a note...

Thanks, Terry. I'll reserve this at my library (or request for purchase if they don't own it).

I applied to the Books by the Banks Cincinnati USA Festival and just received an invitation to appear there on November 1. Both of my books will be supplied by Borders for purchase. There will be many other authors and not much table space. Would you consider posting about how to attract attention at an event like this? What do I need to do to make me and my books stand out?

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


I have not done many of these book festivals so I am not a good person to ask. Instead I'd encourage you to find the information from Shel and others who have handled these events. You are wise to work at lasting--and appropriate ways to make yourself and your book stand out among the many other books. I've seen many inappropriate examples such as the author dressed in a clown suit at Book Expo last month handing out a self-published book to people who walked down the aisle. I didn't take a copy.

How you position yourself in that audience will depend on the event and your own good taste. You are wise to be planning now for such an occasion.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie Reed Left a note...

I have Shel's book requested for purchase at my library.

Hmm, clown suit. Hmm. :-)

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

Terry: How does this book differ from Carmen Leal's marketing book?

Pat Russo

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Good question and one that I'm not going to be lured into answering. I've known Carmen Leal for many years--and it's been at least three years since I've read her book but I do recall it has some good information in it. I read Shel Horowitz's Grassroot Marketing during the last week and that's why it is the subject of this entry.

I have a shelf full of books about marketing. Each one of them provide some new insight--and I recommend every writer get them and learn from them.


At 6:52 PM, Blogger Shel Horowitz, author, Principled Profit Left a note...

Hi, Terry, thanks so much for this lovely review of my seventh book, Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers.

I just want to clarify--there is an earlier Grassroots book that I did in 2008, called Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World. The newer one that you reviewed is specifically for authors and publishers (and is designed to complement the original book).

@Stephanie, there are probably at least 100 ways you could promote an event like that. Which 3-5 ways make sense in your situation will depend on your own preferences and strengths, the nature of the event, and how your book fits into the event. You can find a lot of ideas at my http://www.frugalmarketing.com site, especially the tipsheet archives.

@Pat, there are of course many books on book marketing. I cite Carmen's book (among many others) in the Appendix. She touches on many good marketing ideas, but doesn't explore them in depth--and I found the lack of index very frustrating.

I got pretty specific: I describe and give examples of 7 different models for a book promotion website, 9 actual press releases and 5 successful pitchletters, plus actual marketing plans that clients hired me to write.


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