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5 Book Promotion Mistakes and How to Fix Them
by Patricia Fry
You wrote an amazing book, designed it to perfection and even managed
to get it published. But it isn’t selling as well as you thought
it would. What went wrong?
As the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers
Network) and an international speaker, I meet many authors who are
disappointed in their book sales. I think it’s fair to say
that 100 percent of the time the author has the power to change
the situation. Here are five common mistakes first-time authors
make and tips for how to repair them:
1: The author doesn’t know that he is responsible
for promotion. Obviously, this author didn’t take
the time to study the publishing industry or he would have known
that his job isn’t over once the book is published. Hopefully,
the author will turn to informative sites, newsletters, forums and
books where he’ll quickly learn that authorship requires a
commitment beyond the proper dotting of i’s and the crossing
2: The author doesn’t take the opportunity to build
promotion into his book while he’s writing it. Savvy
authors think about their target audience while they are writing
and designing their books. If yours would make a good reference
book, for example, include a complete index.
For a novel, choose a setting that is conducive to promotion—a
town where residents would welcome your promotional appearances.
Give a character a common affliction, interesting hobby or a condition
that’s been in the news lately.
Build promotion into your how-to book by involving a lot of experts
and/or organizations. For a novel, give a character a popular ailment
and present it in a positive light. Related associations might agree
to help with promotion.
3: The author neglects to establish a platform. A
platform is the author’s following, his reach, his way of
attracting his target audience. Most successful authors today have
a platform in place before they produce a book.
Your platform for your book on phobias might be the fact that you’re
a psychologist in this area of study, that you suffered a severe
phobia for years or that you’ve written about this for years.
Even as a novelist, you’ll need a following and this can
be established through published stories and an active Web site.
4: The author has unrealistic expectations. Many
first-time authors (we’ve all been there) expect to sell their
books by the truckloads through mega bookstores. The reality is
that few authors can get new books into bookstores. But space on
bookstore shelves does not guarantee sales.
How can you sell books bookstores? Make a big enough splash with
your book that readers are swarming to bookstores asking for it.
Appear on TV and radio, present large seminars related to your book
and getting tons of press by creating news and submitting press
releases to newspapers everywhere.
5: The author gives up. You won’t achieve
the level of success you desire if you quit. That is one thing for
There’s a lot to consider when entering the huge and competitive
publishing business. And promotion is a major consideration. Whether
you land a traditional royalty publisher, self-publish (establish
your own publishing company) or go with a fee-based POD publishing
service, it is up to the author to promote his or her book. And
the time to start thinking about promotion is before you ever sit
down and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
© Copyright 2008, Patricia Fry
Patricia Fry is a career writer, author, speaker and editorial/publishing consultant.
She is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network)
www.spawn.org and the author
of 27 books, including The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book
Visit her informative blog daily, www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.
New book of cat stories
Patricia Fry announces her latest book: Catscapades, Tales of Ordinary and Extraordinary Cats www.matilijapress.com/catscapades.html.
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