Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Beginning and Ending of Marketing

When a writer want to write a book, they will ask at what point to begin their marketing efforts. In traditional publishing, books often take months to get through the system before they are published. While there is no universal starting point for your marketing efforts, it is hard to begin too soon.

In Steve Weber's Plug Your Book!, he includes a relevant quote from bestselling author Seth Godin who says, "The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility, and build the connections you'll need later."

It doesn't take much for me to imagine all of the authors who moan, "Three years!" As the author, you have the greatest vision and passion for your book--no matter how you publish it. The publisher's attention will be divided with other titles and matters where you can steadily focus on your book. Potential readers need continual reminders about the availability of your book and why it is relevant to their needs. In the case of Book Proposals That Sell, I've seen a steady increase in the sales of this book since it released several years ago. At first the more experienced writers would tell me that they knew how to write a book proposal and had read other books on the topic so they didn't purchase my book until later. When they finally got around to reading it, they realized my unique perspective and the valuable information which it contained--even if they had read other books.

If you are looking for the end point to your marketing efforts for a book, again as the author you will have the greatest passion for your book. If your book goes out of print and your passion for the book has failed, then you can stop marketing your book. Otherwise I would encourage you to continue your efforts--even if it is only once a week or once a month. You never know which one of your efforts will be the tipping point to move your sales rapidly ahead. I continue working to let new audiences know about Book Proposals That Sell and the sales continue to be steady for it.

And if you wonder about the wisdom of giving away your novel online before it appears in print, just check out what happened with Paul Coelho's The Alchemist and this recent post from Book Marketing Guru John Kremer. Possibly it will encourage your efforts.

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9 Comment:

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Unknown Left a note...

Here's how I frame it....

Ultimately every author is a business themselves ("You Inc") and ultimately responsible for their own reputation, publicity and marketing.

If publishers, publicists, agents or others can help great, but the responsibility remains with the author.

Warren Whitlock

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Mary DeMuth Left a note...

How do you battle discouragement, Terry? I'm curious. You seem to be so positive and proactive. What happens when your efforts don't seem to pay off? Usually I'm joyfully plugging along. But there are times I hit a hard spot and wonder what this publishing gig is all about.

Mary DeMuth

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


I try marketing things which bomb as much as anyone and yes some days I wonder about this whole publishing gig. I'm not immune to discouragement by any means. What often makes a difference is to refocus on the big reason why I continue. I believe in the lifechanging power of words. Why? I've experienced it first hand.

Some times I will pull out an article which first appeared in print in 1988 (boy does that sound old!) called Two Words That Changed My Life. I'll reread this story and focus on the difference one book made in my life--and can make in the lives of others. It changes my perspective.


At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

I'm a big Paulo Coelho's fan and I don't know if you heard about his blog
I've started as a fan and now I'm collaborating with him and thought that you would like to enter his universe.
Check the blog.
if you want, or subscribe to his newsletter
You'll see a community of warriors of light sharing ideas, dreams and most importantly following their personal legend.


A Warrior never accepts what is unacceptable.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

Have a nice day!


At 6:27 AM, Blogger Crystal Laine Left a note...

I can definitely see this as "platform" building in nonfiction book writing/promotion. Would it be different for fiction?

Blogging is building voice and platform. I read a lot of the fiction authors' blogs and personality is definitely part of that. I think of Debbie Macomber--she had the books before the blog and the blog just enhances her type of book.

But my question is what about those who haven't published their fiction yet? How can you use this information for fiction writers?

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Kathryn Levy Feldman (Kit) Left a note...

Three years does seem like an eternity especially when you have a timely story to tell. When does the value of building credibility hamper the ability to tell a story in real time?
Kit Feldman

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


I think you missed the point. Traditional publishers take time but they do not build platforms or visibility in the marketplace for authors. You have to do that as the author--whether you are writing nonfiction or fiction. So....get going on this process as soon as possible. It will pay off in the long run for you.

Many authors grow frustrated with the slowness of traditional publishing so they jump into the self-publishing area. Yet if they have no audience or visibility in the marketplace. What do they get? Sure you get to hold a published book in your hands but you have no way to sell those books--and basically end up with a garage full of books. Your task as the author is to be "smart" about how you succeed in this complex business.

I hope that helps,


At 9:21 AM, Blogger Poor Richard Web Press Left a note...

You can ncrease your book publicity at BiblioScribe.com, a site where authors and publishers can still market their books in the same place that they can be purchased. BiblioScribe.com allows members to use free article and Press release tools that embeds their book as part of the article, and readers have the opportunity of locating and buying the subject book directly from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, as well as corresponding UK and Canadian online booksellers. Additionally, the Biblioscribe.com members’ public profile provides links to multiple books specified by the member, as well as the memner's own website. BiblioScribe membership is also free as well as an account on the BiblioScribe Blog.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

I'd never been to BiblioScribe until I saw your comment. It looks like another marketing resource for authors to explore. As I looked around I noticed several people that I know who have participated in the marketing aspects of the site.



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