by John F. Harnish
The first three rules of real estate are location, location, and location. The first three rules for successfully promoting your book are exposure, more exposure, and even more exposure. The more exposure authors can generate for their books, the more successfully the books will sell. It’s very difficult to sell a book that no one knows a thing about.
The most effective way to get exposure for your book is by word-of-mouth. Getting folks talking about your book is often the most cost-effective way to stimulate grass-root interest in your book. Sometimes, all it takes is one person telling a friend about your book and then they tell another, and another, and so on. This is your attainable goal – creating this buzz ultimately gets exposure for your book.
Exposure is best when spread at a slow but steady pace. Trying to chase a passing fad has you positioned behind the rest of the pack. The leaders of the pack get their prolonged 15-minutes of fame in the media spotlight. Some milk fame for all the fickle lady is worth and double dip for more exposure. For others, there’s the fleeting fame of a has-been being a one-book, one-song wonder forever resting in the tattered nest of long-gone yesteryears. Passing time has left them voiceless.
When the focus of the spotlight is ever-changing, it is the creative outrider, riding beyond the pack, who benefits from the fringes of the illumination. The glare is less bright, but the light is continuous. Steady exposure produces the benefit of extended exposure – better than a once-and-done buzz. The key to sustaining an effective buzz is in the benefits.
It’s often said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity because it adds to the buzz of exposure and exposure is a good thing. Bad publicity frequently causes a need for prompt damage control to try to spin negative press into a positive plus of some sorts. That can be difficult because we are a society that thrives on negative news complete with all the yucky gore. The somebody-donesomebody-wrong song plays higher in the ratings than reporting that somebody is doing good. Bad publicity can be made good when it provides a platform for the object of the bad PR to truthfully correct the misperceptions. Sadly, this is easier said than done.
What’s easier is taking advantage of exposure opportunities available at no cost to you. I once talked with an author who didn’t want her book available through Amazon.com. I’m accustomed to authors wanting their just-released book posted to Amazon.com as soon as possible. So I asked why???!!! Simple, she explained, the impact of the deep-discount will cut her royalty and her highest royalty is earned on books sold through our on-line bookstore www.BuyBooksOnTheWeb.com and that’s where she wanted her book to be available for sale. I can’t fault her logic for going for the higher royalty, but there is the value of credibility and wider exposure that comes with an Amazon listing.
There’s also positive exposure that comes from those websites with the search-inside-the-book features. This allows potential customers the browsing opportunity like they’d have in a brick-and-mortar store. This is free exposure that provides a customer benefit – it’s foolish to think that this type of exposure cuts into sales.
Your book gets worldwide exposure when it’s listed in Books-In-Print. Once listed, it’s fair game for any online vendor to list your book as part of their virtual inventory. They might even show a fictitious number of copies they claim to have on hand. The truth is they don’t have a single copy of your book because their inventory is totally virtual – until a customer orders your book. At that time, the virtual vendor orders a single copy so they can fill the just-received order. Shameless exposure is acceptable. However, don’t become a pest like the proverbial insurance salesman!!!
When there’s an opportunity in the normal flow of conversation, make mention of your book – better yet, if someone else engaged in the dialogue brings to light the fact that your book has just been published, go for it, but know that you’ll have only about 30 seconds to hook them with your pitch!!!
Think about what makes your book unique and seek out those places for exposure where your book will provide a real benefit to the readers. Build upon the small successes you have achieved with the firm belief that slow but steady exposure really does sell more books than a brief splash in the media. Consistent efforts will generate the exposure that successfully sells books.
Photo courtesy of Mateusz Stachowski.