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Book publicity and selling more books

Book publicity and selling more books

Question Posted on Independent Authors at Yahoo Groups.

>> Do book reviews sell book? Yes, and the review sites can prove it, because they get paid a percentage of the “buy-through” from Amazon. They don’t sell that many, and more nonfiction than fiction, but they do sell. And why not try to get our books reviewed? There are only so many options open to us. We can try to place an article in a magazine or newspaper, we can try to get book reviews, we can enter contests and hope for the best, we can do book club talks, and we can visit our local book stores and try to get signings. Why not try them all? I’d stand in front of Costco with a banjo and balloon hat if I thought it would help. I write books that I hope people will read. How they find my book is immaterial to me. I write books that I hope people will read. How they find my book is immaterial to me. < < I just don't believe that it's smart to rely on the "proof that reviews work" for others and make the assumption that the same process will work for you. I also believe that if you are writing to create a real business, then how people find your book is crucial to your survival and success. There are many choices an author/publisher can make when deciding how to profit off one's intellectual property. Hope is not a strategy. Systematic carefully targeted communication to specific groups of high probability markets of people with money, with dedicated monitoring and continuous improvement is a strategy. The Naked Cowboy stands in Times Square in his underwear playing his guitar. That's how he communicates with HIS PEOPLE. He's built a successful nationally recognized brand doing this. He entertains and stimulates sufficient numbers of people who buy his music. There's a teenage kid with hair down to his knees who plays a screaming guitar a la Jimi Hendrix each day in Santa Monica who also is doing pretty well. So maybe standing in front of Costco with a banjo and a balloon isn't such a bad idea. If it works for you, do it! YOU have to determine how you can reach and communicate with the people who matter to you. If what matters is sales, then that means you HAVE to know how you are communicating so that the action you produce is sales. Look at this model: Write a book. Self-Publish in ten ebook formats and POD. Have the book available at Amazon and Google and dozens or even thousands of other e-stores. Send the eBook to book reviewers by email. Get reviews. Sell books. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? What if YOUR PEOPLE, don't read the reviews. What if THE REVIEWERS, won't even accept the ebook. System failure. Yet this is what lots of people are doing. They write the book and pitch to a limited number of book reviewers. Then fail and stop. I see this all the time. Sometimes the problem is the book. Some books simply aren't that good. This is one serious problem. Sometimes the book is fine, but the author and the publisher don't take the actions needed to reach THEIR PEOPLE. And they don't have the stamina to go the distance. They stop before they learn how to turn THEIR PEOPLE on. To me and my clients, this question is one that turns on return on investment. If the goal of writing and publishing is to produce sales, and there is only so much time and money to be invested in marketing, promoting and publicizing, then the determining factor is how many books can you sell? People do write to try and make some money. You have to care about how people find out about you and your writing if sales are important to you. If you don't care, then there is very little chance that enough people will ever learn about you and buy what you have to offer. My point is that YOU have to decide how to spend your time and what you receive from your efforts. Book reviews are one option. Feature stories are another. You can embark on a program of speaking and or doing entertainment. People are successful in producing income and attracting attention that triggers action (e.g., sales). Which tactic works the best for you? Do you know? The LA Times article BOOK PUBLISHERS SEE THEIR ROLE AS GATEKEEPERS SHRINK (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gatekeepers-20101226,0,7119214.story) is pointing out that it is possible to create writings and develop audiences using the new technologies that are available. The article only hints at what JA Konrath and the other authors are doing to gain attention for their writings so that they do indeed sell books. The article says “In addition to Konrath, bestselling author Seth Godin, science fiction writer Greg Bear and action novelist David Morrell recently have used Internet tools to put their works online themselves.”

Right.

Internet tools.

This article fills people with hopeful and vague ideas that the future is here and that this type of success is going to become more commonplace.

And it may indeed for some.

BTW. Look at this article! It points out exactly what I am saying. It’s not a book review. It’s a human interest feature story. It is even a shining example of one of my favorite rules — the DPAA + H rule. It’s dramatic, personal, and tells stories of achievement in the face of adversity + humor.

So it does attract reader attention. It is emotionally engaging and even galvanizes people with visions of hope that they too can be a wildly successful author without being raked over the coals by classical mainstream publishers. It highlights the apparent simplicity of the new publishing economic model.

It also identifies the authors by name. It brands each one so that anyone who looks them up can now be exposed and potentially buy everything they have available.

Great article. This is an example of the very best type of media coverage authors can get.

Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it really helpful? Let’s look for the practical value.

Seth Godin and Stephen King can write just about anything they want and it will sell. They not only have created a huge national following, but they’ve each created consistent, high performing diverse platforms of communication that allow them to reach and sell directly to THEIR PEOPLE. They have created astoundingly successful communications systems that persuade people to take action.

Most people do not have these “Internet tools” in place. In fact, many authors write and publish without even thinking about how to reach out and touch someone, anyone. They don’t think about how to do so consistently, so that can run a writing and publishing business profitably and consistently.

The article doesn’t help most of us very much at all. In fact, the end of the article highlights what is identified as the biggest challenge to successful publishing:

“Indeed, the challenge in a world where anyone can publish a book is getting people to pay attention…. In a blog post titled “Moving on,” about his decision to self-publish, Godin wrote that “my mission is to figure out who the audience is, and take them where they want and need to go, in whatever format works.”

Seth Godin is talking my language. This is the field I work in. Targeted PR.

So back to reality.

You get to choose what you want to do.

And if you want to make money with your publishing, here’s my suggestion.

Follow the money.

The country is huge – in the US alone you have 330 million people. The potential is phenomenal. If you can develop a process for reaching people you can do very well. I believe you can even learn how to do this starting one on one in your back yard, anywhere.

I even came up with a cute little acronym which describes how to do this.

CREATE.

ASK.

CREATE AGAIN.

ASK AGAIN.

= CACA

Think about what you do that turns people on. Test it. Get a sale.

Ask people who reacted the way you wanted them to. Ask them, “What did I do that turned you on?”

Capture it. Record it. Document it. Then prove it.

If it works, do it again. Test it again. Improve it by asking again.

CACA.

Then repeat this process till you can stand in a room or present to 25 people and get half the people in the audience to hand you money.

Then use the many technologies you have at your disposal to present, broadcast and target YOUR PEOPLE with this proven message.

Decide what marketing actions to take and then document the sales and profits you receive.

Compare it to other actions you can take. Be systematic. Identify a pathway to profits. Determine if you have developed a process of steps that can be duplicated.

If it works, then do it some more. If it doesn’t, then stop and do something else.

More CACA.

Bring it on.