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Best Practices for Marketing an Independent Book

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Facing an avalanche of competition, independent publishers need to be creative and persistent in marketing their books.

Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, recently asked several book marketing experts for the best tips and advice on how to market a newly-published book. The responses revealed a surprising diversity of opinions, each emphasizing different aspects of the total marketing and PR process of the independent book market.

"Ultimately, there's no one right way to market a book," said Kennedy. "The important thing is to invest time and effort into building a brand and an audience. Today's tools make that easier on the one hand, but they also add an intense new level of competition amidst the large volume of books being published online as well as in print."

"Approximately 4,500 books are published each day in the U.S.," explained Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts. "Therefore, engaging with readers on a basic level is mandatory if one expects success. The pipeline is too clogged for any one book to rise to the surface without some deliberate effort from the author and his or her team."

Although the advice Kennedy received covers a lot of territory, a few consistent themes do emerge. These included:

  • Know Your Readers – an author without a distinct potential readership in mind will have no frame of reference for a well-conceived, targeted PR campaign.
  • Meet Your Readers – identify the virtual and physical spaces where all-important "potential readers" are likely to congregate, and go there.
  • Connect, Don't Sell – most experts concurred that social media is not a sales platform in the traditional sense, and that people can immediately tell ...
  • Don't Neglect Offline Channels – the ease and economy of online marketing is certainly the foundation of today's independent publishing boom, but that doesn't mean offline marketing can be ignored.
"Marketing has to be strategic, and it has to start before a book is even published," Kennedy added. "While some marketers suggest waiting until you have at least five books under your belt, I think it's never too soon to put a campaign in motion. eReleases provides an avenue for independent authors to access both online and offline tastemakers through the medium of press releases."

DuoLit's Shannon O'Neil has perhaps the pithiest nugget of book marketing wisdom – doing "something" is always better than doing nothing, even if it's a small something. The single worst mistake an author can make is to neglect the PR aspect of publishing.

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