by Scott Lorenz
As a book publicist and book marketing guy it’s imperative for me to keep up with all of the great books and magazine articles being published on the topic of book marketing. I’ve read dozens and dozens of books on book marketing and usually have found a morsel or two of useful information in each one.
Here’s a list of my favorites. By the way, I’ve personally met or have spoken to nearly every author and can attest to the veracity of the material they present and their credentials to discuss these topics.
Become a Real Self-Publisher by Michael N. Marcus
New and updated for 2011, this is the most up to date book about self publishing. It includes recent developments which affect authors, such as the iPad, Microsoft Word 2010, Espresso Book Machine, Nook, Pubit!, AuthorHive, Google eBookstore, etc. There is an extensive section on eBooks and eBook readers. If you want the roadmap on how to become a successful author by self publishing then “Become a Real Self-Publisher” by Michael N. Marcus is the book for you.
In a pull-no-punches style Marcus cuts to the chase in the often confusing and treacherous book publishing and book marketing game. As a writer and successful publisher of books for more than 30 years Marcus speaks from personal experience. He implores authors to become real publishers and not customers of vanity presses or companies that publish on demand which Marcus says does not exist. Why? Nobody publishes on demand; they “print” on demand, he says.
Marcus compares and contrasts publishing options including: LULU, Outskirts Press, Infinity Publishing, Amazon, Author House, Book Surge, Xlibris, Lightening Source and traditional publishing in a “no-holds- barred” approach. I find his approach refreshing because so many authors I speak to as a book publicist really need someone like Marcus, who has no hidden agenda, to tell it like it is.
Marcus discusses the benefits and pitfalls about every type of publishing option in the marketplace. He also includes a list of publishing terms authors need to know about such as: ARC (advance reader copy) and POD (print on demand ) …as well as places authors don’t want to see like the Slush Pile which is that place where unsolicited manuscripts end up awaiting an evaluation by a publisher or agent.
“Become a Real Self-Publisher” by Michael N. Marcus is a must read for all authors whether they are first time authors or on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s written in a serious but entertaining style with a little humor tossed in. I highly recommend it. http://real-self-publisher.blogspot.com
To use a clich , Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors by Steve Weber is a page turner. As a book publicist always looking for new angles to promote my client’s books, I could not wait to read the next page because there was so much good information about online book marketing on every single page. It’s all presented in a useful format complete with the ‘why’ and ‘how to.’
For instance, Weber discusses the awesome power of Amazon and its various nooks and crannies. He unveils various Amazon features that can help authors sell more books. He states that Amazon ‘reader reviews’ are more important than ever — perhaps even rivaling a major newspaper review. The reason? Amazon reviews can be read for years by hundreds of people and a potential buyer is just one click away from purchasing your book. He says “Amazon is ‘ground zero’ for your online campaign. It provides free worldwide exposure to those readers most likely to buy your book.”
Weber also suggests numerous online resources as well as how to create an online blog tour and using social networking sites such as My Space to promote your book.
Every author will want to read “Plug Your Book” again and again to learn how to successfully use all of the online tools available to “Plug Your Book.”
PyroMarketing. Book marketing professionals know the secrets of success that drove the sales of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life to a chart-busting best-seller and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” into a huge cinema phenom. Those of us in the business understand that sales of both blockbusters were driven by techniques outlined in a book called PyroMarketing by Greg Stielstra who gained fame in book publishing circles when he served as the marketing director for The Purpose Driven Life, the best-selling hardcover book in history.
PyroMarketing embraces an idea that really has been in use for some time – niche marketing. That tool is well-known and used every day by book promoters but Stielstra lays out the niche marketing principles with a new, crystal clear message that is so compelling that it is a must-read for anyone who wants to promote an idea, service or product. Read my in-depth review and watch a short entertaining video on the concept at: www.westwindcos.com. Buy it at:www.pyromarketing.com.
John Kremer’s “1001 Ways To Market Your Books”
His 6th Edition published in 2006 describes more than 1000 ideas, tips, and suggestions for marketing books – all illustrated with real-life examples showing how other authors and publishers have marketed their books. John, who is a walking encyclopedia about book marketing says, “Eighty percent of all books are sold by word of mouth, but it’s publicity that primes the marketing pump. Remember that you cannot do everything, so hire the right persons to do the things you can’t do. If you’re not comfortable doing your own publicity, then hire someone who does it for a living.” I could not have said it better. Be sure to check out his seminars on book marketing held around the U.S. too. Find out about that and his book at: www.bookmarket.com
Author! Screenwriter! How to Succeed as a Writer in New York and Hollywood
I always enjoy talking with Peter Miller, President, PMA Literary Film and Management, Inc. He’s one of the “big” agents in New York City. Known as ‘The Literary Lion,’ he has successfully managed over 1,000 books and dozens of motion picture and television properties. From big names like Vincent Bugliosi to the “next big star” he’s had eleven New York Times bestsellers and eleven produced films that he has managed or executive produced. He likes to do “three book deals” once he gets a writer he likes. In addition, he has a substantial number of film and television projects currently in active development. He divides his time between New York and Los Angeles, and frequently tours the country to speak at writers’ conferences and workshops. His insight into the publishing world and Hollywood is priceless. Buy his book, but if you can see him in person do it and tell him I said hi! www.pmalitfilm.com.
Since understanding all of the money making opportunities with your book can be a daunting task, I also recommend that you purchase Jim Donovan’s How to Write, Publish & Sell Your Book and Turn it Into a Never-ending Money Machine. His system will teach you the inner workings of the book business and how to leverage your books so they generate substantial multiple streams of income long after they’ve been published. Jim Donovan’s books have been published in eighteen countries and are being read by hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world so he knows what he’s talking about. www.writepublishsellyourbook.com
Free Book! That’s right, Midpoint Trade Books, a major book distributor has published an excellent handbook which features seven keys that are important for independent publishers to understand and master. If you want a quick read on everything you need to know about publishing, printing, editing, marketing and distributing your book then this is the one. The importance of using a book marketing professional is stressed by author Eric Kampmann, President of Midpoint Trade Books. Says Kampmann, “Of course, there are many reasons why a book might become a success or even a bestseller, but we believe that the single best investment for you is an effective publicist.” The 7 Keys To Publishing Success can be downloaded at no charge at: www.midpointtrade.com ( BTW, Kampmann published OJ Simpson’s book “If I Did It” through his publishing company Beaufort Books.)
“The Insider’s Guide to Large Quantity Book Sales.” Quite literally exactly what the title implies. BTW, we’re talking thousands of books at a time! Do I have your attention? You’ll be very impressed by the insight provided in the material about selling your book in large numbers. You have useful contact information for book club buyers and more importantly how to pitch and position your book for consideration. It also has sample contracts and agreements which are easily worth hundreds of dollars in saved legal fees alone if you had your attorney draft the documents. Written and published by the Jenkins Group Inc, this book is the result of years of the author, Jerrold Jenkins, publishing and selling massive quantities of books. If you are serious about selling large quantities of books and want the inside tips from a publisher who does it every day, then make the investment and download the book at:www.specialmarketbooksales.com/
Author 101 Bestselling Book Publicity: The Insider’s Guide to Promoting Your Book–and Yourself. One thing about the book marketing and book promotion business is that there are so many nice people in the business. I rank Rick Frishman as one of the top publicists in the U.S. not to mention he’s a nice guy too! His book, co-authored by Robyn Freedman Spizman and Mark Steisel, offers advice and insight about every stage of the publishing world. Using testimonials and commentary, this book lets authors, agents, and publishers alike show you the things you should and shouldn’t do in promoting your book. Buy it at Amazon
Brian Jud’s “Beyond The Bookstore” is a terrific book about selling your book to everyone else other than a bookstore. I met Brian while co-presenting on a panel at a Learning Annex seminar in NYC on the topic of book marketing. I covered the topic of book publicity, he covered selling books. Brian Jud says since more than half of all book sales come from outside bookstores it’s important to target these markets. Mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart or Costco, gift shops, airport stores, home-shopping networks, book clubs, libraries, network-marketing companies, catalogs, associations, government agencies, corporations, educational markets, retail stores and military branches all buy and sell books.
Brian walks you through creating a special sales plan, where to find the people you need to contact to make your pitch. If you really want to sell books outside the bookstore market then buy Beyond the Bookstore at:www.bookmarketingworks.com
Book Marketing A-Z by Francine Silverman. More than 300 authors, marketers and publicists, including yours-truly tell about their best promotional strategies with regards to book marketing. You’ll undoubtedly find several good ideas to implement. While you’re at it, check out Fran’s Book Promotion Newsletter which for $7.50 a year is the best value in book marketing in the USA. Buy her book here: www.bookpromotionnewsletter.com
There are many books out there on the topic of book marketing, book publishing and just plain everyday business marketing in general. I’ve compiled a list of these at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com but unless you want to spend days and weeks learning about book marketing, you might find it useful to retain an expert on book marketing or hire an experienced book publicist. I am sure that after you read two or three of these you’ll seriously question the idea of self promotion.
Why? The reason is that today’s book market is extremely competitive. The world is awash in books. Bowker (The keeper of all ISBNs) says that in 2009 more than 288,355 books were published in the United States, plus more than 250,000 published in the UK. How can Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, your local library or anyone else effectively sell or showcase that number let alone the millions of previously printed titles? The answer: They can’t.
Furthermore, I do not recommend self-promotion, for the same reason you don’t cut your own hair. You can do it, but it’s not going to be that good. Book marketing and book promotion requires special skills and most authors simply do not know how to market their books nor do they have the time or, more importantly, the patience. A publicist develops and nurtures relationships with the media so they trust us when we give them a story idea.
The bottom line: While I do recommend you check out the books I mention in my article as a basis for understanding the publishing and marketing process a wise author would be even wiser to retain a book publicist to market and promote their book. If you come to the same conclusion please by all means give me a call!
About Scott Lorenz
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that specializes in book marketing and author publicity. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. To discuss how Westwind Communications helps authors get all the publicity they deserve and more call 734-667-2090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com