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Are books dead? Is publishing dying?

discusses what it takes to be successful publishing, promoting and publicizing

Books aren’t dead. Publishing isn’t dead. It’s just that publishing technology keeps on evolving. The way we sell intellectual property is diversifying.

I work with many, many creative people and companies and what I am observing is that the number of ways people buy written words that they can read and acquire for value is increasing. As a publisher, this represents a major challenge. But the rewards in a country of 330 million people are still phenomenal. So I believe it’s worth the effort.

In the publishing field, you can start with a single book and then do what Dan Poynter has been saying for many years now. You diversify the intellectual property and sell it in what ever way people will buy it. So that means turning a book into a tape, video, ebook, or a workshop, or a teleseminar, or a web seminar or whatever your particular target pool of people will want and purchase. You can package your IP small and big. You can format it for pdf, Kindle, large print, tape, video, audio (mp3), video (MPEG, WMV).

Promoting it is the same. First you learn what you have to say to interest people and produce the action you want. Then you incorporate that learned tested message into your marketing materials. You start with your person to person discussions. Then once you learn what turns individuals on you expand it to small groups. Then you can move on to your news releases and then use the same core copy in your direct marketing materials.

Now you also have the ability and choice to reformat the same core copy and adapt it so that you can use it in all sorts of prime media formats and Internet media formats.

What you need to do is be systematic and test and develop and retest and redevelop till you have the content and communications that produce the same effect on people each time you use them.

What I’m seeing is that the use of technology is a force multiplier. Whether you put proven messages into a news release and convince a publisher to share your news is what you are aiming for. The choices of placement are now expanded. With prime media you have newspapers (daily and weekly), magazines, radio, tv, news services, syndicates. With the Internet web sites you also have the online counterparts to all the above. But you also have content opportunities at other people’s web sites, blogs, forums, discussion groups, ezines, mailing lists, audio, video sites, and the news search engines and specialized search engines. There is also social media – blogs, and the MySpace, Facebook types of sites, and the Twitters and more. People are now receiving plug messages for good stuff in all sorts of ways. Encouraging snippets motivate people when they come from trusted sources.

So in addition to creating THE TRULT GREAT BOOK, you also need to have galvanizing copy that not only gets you published but also searches well and motivates people to action off of very small snippets. You start with the book. Then you learn and document the best way to turn people on.

Once you get that down you can leverage it using the technology and mediums available to reach people. Each technology has its own style, format and communication system requirements. This means you may have to learn new styles and ways to communicate. But if you for example have a great problem solving tips article that produces media interest, you may also be able to use that core in articles and posts online at forums, blogs, mailing lists, ezines, and other places.

Even the David Meerman Scott’s New PR methods are basically just adapting to the new technologies. They say “write news release that sells product” because people can see it on a news search engine.

However the success still hinges on the quality and remark ability of the product, and the persuasive content and quality of the news release. People respond to quality. They ignore and bypass mediocrity. The good stuff rises to the top. The bad stuff sinks away out of site.

People tell their friends when something is really good. They also steer their friends away from stuff that’s not that good. That’s because people want to be seen as helpful to others in the marketplace.

And if the statement “You gotta get this!” or “That book is incredible!” gets flowing on social media sites from person to person, you can find yourself swamped with orders.

From my perspective as a publicist who helps people achieve success, the two base requirements for creators who want to achieve success are 1. create something really good and 2. develop the proven communications needed to trigger action by your target audience.

You must learn how to sell your product by speaking to people. Your personal experience with your products with your customers and audience is very valuable. You use their feedback to guide you to the best communications you can use.

Once you have this then you can use all the available technologies to communicate meaningfully with your particular audience.

This may take some systematic careful planning and effort. But it really creates opportunities. One book can be sold in many different ways. Each one is an income stream that can be developed and can contribute to a very significant income.

The most important thing you can do is to create something remarkable. That’s what you have to do first and foremost. It’s like making candy. You test your recipe by giving it to people and refine your formula till people just get a little taste and instantly want more. You’ll know when people like your candy by their reaction.

In my view, what you need to do is simply devote yourself to being the best that you can be. I see that success is going to people who help the people that they can help the most. This is true whether they are a writer or a comedian or a manufacturer of products or a provider of services. If you devote yourself to excellence and service of others, then people recognize and appreciate what you do, because you do it so well.

My job as a publicist always seems to be trying to help people find out what they do best because sometimes they don’t really know because they have not asked the right questions and really paid that much attention to the very people they are trying to reach, help or entertain, and sell.

It’s up to you as the creative source to produce the candy that make people go crazy and tell their friends all about it. That’s the base challenge – the key requirement. The creation has to be really good. If you are an author or a publisher, you need to write a really good book. If you are an inventor, you need to create a product that really makes a difference. If you are a service provider, you need to offer advice or help so that it really does solve a problem and improve what people can do.

If you don’t do that first, then not much can happen as you try to get people interested in it.

Once you create a product that taste like candy, then you have to learn how to get people to talk about that candy.