Monday, October 1, 2012

To Market, To Market!

A  Definition  of  Terms

Book Publishing is the process by which a book comes to be in printed or electronic form and then made available to the public for purchase. The second half of the definition—making books available to the public for purchase—consists of two components: making potential buyers aware of your book and ensuring copies are readily accessible for those buyers to purchase.  You determine the best ways to make potential buyers aware of your book while discovering the best avenues of accessibility for them, at whatever scale you decide to promote your book. But first, let’s talk a little about what marketing is and, more importantly, what it is not.

Misconceived Monsters of Marketing

Marketing is not the same as high-pressure selling. A lot of people are terrified, some practically
paralyzed, by the irrational notion that marketing means personally pestering, even badgering, people
into buying something they don’t really want, or need, for that matter. Take some deep breaths and
calm yourself. You don’t have to turn into some self-promoting monster to be successful.
In reality, marketing is a very creative process, like solving a puzzle with intriguing and limitless
possibilities.  Authors are very creative people, well-equipped to find all sorts of fantastic
solutions. All you need is a structure, or framework, for decision making, not to mention some basic
knowledge of the options available out there. But before you begin to look at all the different options
to utilize in the marketing of your book, let’s first look at one very important component to the
whole process.

The Time Factor

When marketing your book, you need to be able to, on the one hand, weigh life’s priorities and home life against the amount of time and financial commitment of selling one’s book. You can easilykeep the balance by selecting the marketing tactics and options that best fit you. This way you canenjoy promoting your book without causing yourself a lot of stress or drain on your energy.Introducing your book to the world is a big step for any author.  When it comes to marketing your book, it often comes down to time. The time and commitment necessary to perform several planned promotional activities. High pay-off promotional activities at that.

It's fun to think outside the box, (a lot of us get outside the box and stand on it!)  but make sure the box you're standing on is balanced and strong enough to hold you and help you identify which marketing strategies best suit whatever level of marketing you choose for your book. I know you can do it!

Then What Is Marketing ?

In Bruce Batchelor’s book, Marketing DeMystified, marketing is described as the process of
creating, implementing, monitoring, and evolving a strategy for the complete marketing mix,
which is:

1. having a needed product or service
2. available at a convenient place and time
3. for mutually satisfactory price (value)
4. while ensuring that the correct segments of the public
5. are aware (promotional mix)
6. and motivated (positioning)
7. all in a manner that takes advantage of strategic partnerships and contributes to
the overall purpose, (passion).

The promotional mix includes:

1. Personal sales
2. Publicity and public relations
3. Paid advertising (at times)
4. Sales promotions

Mr. Batchelor goes on to say that this ideally will be done with respect and consideration to:

1. Financial profits
2. The planet
3. And people (society)

OK, so that’s a lot to take in. But Mr. Batchelor has hit the nail on the head, as these are
the things to consider when building your book’s marketing strategy. At whatever level of marketing you choose, you will often be, as Mr. Batchelor says, “substituting creativity and personal connections for the brute force, expensive strategies employed by large publishing houses.” And more importantly, you’ll be having fun while you do it!

As fiction authors what we are really selling is ourselves.  For non-fiction authors they have something more specific people want.  Readers can see it displayed, know more about it by picking the book up and leafing through.  Have a better idea if the book is what they really need.
Fiction is different.  Rather like a smorgasbord prepared by many fine chefs.  One may specialize in chocolate, another in fruit-filled confections.  It comes down to a matter of taste.  What sort of story do you hunger for?  How are you going to know what to order if you don't know much about what's on the menu. And let's face it.  Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, iTunes among others, are some pretty big menus!  So you ask what other readers with somewhat similar tastes to your own, thought of the dish ... er ... book.  They may say it's good, where you think it falls flat.  Everyone's tastes are different.  If you specialize in chocolate, then go to the chocolate lovers!  Share your love of chocolate with them!  Exchange a recipe or two!  And so on.  But all of this takes time.

So the big question is:  How much time do you have?

I'll discuss this in next week's marketing post!

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