By Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer of MEDIA CONNECT
The author of a classic book, What Color is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career Changes, died at the age of 90 this past week. Over 10 million copies of the self-help and career classic were sold, making Richard N. Bolles one of the more successful non-fiction authors of all time. His passing inspires me to write this post.
What color is your book marketing? Do you know what type of book promoter and marketer you want to be when you grow up?
Whereas Bolles’ book helped people assess and define their natural interests, talents, and curiosities so they could narrow down a job search that focused on a steady and defined career path, no such book exists for authors who need to determine where their preferences, experiences, talents and desires should lead them when marketing their books.
Authors have to market their writing career/brand, so they have no choice. They could ignore book marketing at their own peril. They could outsource all of it, but that gets expensive and may not be practical or necessary. Authors just need to narrow down the things they need to do, can do, and like to do. In order to pull this off, they’ll need to know what their options or choices are.
To promote and market a book, one can:
• Pursue traditional media for reviews, interviews, stories, bylined articles, book excerpts, and profile pieces.
• Seek out online media for reviews, interviews, feature stories, guest posts, book excerpts, and profile pieces.
• Generate buzz via social media, including penning a blog, hosting a podcast, posting video, and networking across the Internet via FB, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
• Go on a speaking tour before bookstores, churches, libraries, non-profits, government agencies, corporations, universities – either for a fee or free.
• Advertise a book.
• Participate in book conferences and literary events.
• Conduct a book give away.
• Utilize direct mail.
There are many other ways and combinations to market and promote a book. Which one fits you best?
Authors need to assess the following and to ask themselves:
• What are my goals for my book?
• What are my long-term career goals?
• Am I seeking to sell books or to brand my name – or both?
• How much time do I have available to promote and market?
• Which skill sets are needed – and do I possess them – in order to promote and market a book?
• Do I have budget or resources to promote a book?
• How big is my network of connections and am I willing to invest time into building it up?
• How do I feel, psychologically, about getting involved in self-promotions?
Once you start to open up to all of the different ways a book can be marketed, promoted, and advertised – and once you come to honestly assess your needs, goals, passions, abilities, and resources for such activities – you will begin to understand the color of your book marketing parachute.
Good luck. May Richard N. Bolles rest in peace while his great work lives on and perhaps inspires your book marketing efforts.