As a book marketing guy and book publicist 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 each author and can attest to the veracity of the material they present and their credentials to discuss these topics.
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.
The Web-Savvy Writer: Book Promotion with a High-Tech Twist
This is an excellent “how to” book on the ins and outs of online book promotion and publicity focusing on the latest technology. Author Patrice-Anne Rutledge is a bestselling author, successful technology journalist, and online book promotion expert who has utilized online marketing techniques extensively to promote her books and writing career. Patricia plows new ground filling the gap in the book promotion marketplace with her highly focused book on bringing technology to the forefront in a book marketing campaign. “Web-Savvy Writer” is a MUST read if you want to utilize the most cost effective and viral methods in promoting your book like blogs, pay per click advertising, online reviews, ezines and more. After reading a few chapters you’ll soon realize what you don’t know about online marketing could fill volumes. She’s truly brilliant. Buy the online version of the book as it has hundreds of clickable links at her web site.
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.
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!
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 their web site.
Here’s a Very Expensive Book… but well worth the price. Its called “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 their web site.
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.
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.
There are many books out there on the topic of book marketing, book publicity and just plain everyday business marketing in general. You can read the ones I’ve described above 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 200,000 books were published in the United States, plus 200,000 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 a book nor do they have the time or, more importantly, the patience. A publicist develops and nurtures relationships with writers, editors and producers so they trust us when we give them a story idea about a book or author.
The bottom line: While I do recommend these books as a basis for understanding the book marketing and book promotion 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!