Sunday, March 7, 2010

Marketing - and the Book That Lagged Behind

Great job, your book is in there - in the bookstore, on the shelf. It made the cut out of the more than one-hundred thousand submissions the store's buyers receive annually. And there it sits (it could be B&N or any other store, library, or online, e-book, whatever).

As an author, in the months prior to a book release, we surely put our promotional thinking caps on, trying to come up with the best ways to get the word out that our next literary baby is about to hit the shelves. We take the advice of others, willing to try something new to get the "word of mouth" going about our book, relating the topic to our own lives, sending email blasts, updating web pages, discussing promotional avenues with the powers that be, making sure our baby is discussed and demanded.

They say build it and they will come, but the main point is, once you build it, they're not going to come unless you let them know it's there. A book on the shelf, or in our garages, is just taking up space if the buzz is not buzzing enough to make people want to choose it and purchase it. No phenomenal cover in the world can do that alone.

In 2007, I released a book called Dr. Feelgood, which I picked up the other day and began to reread. I will say that this book is by far my most well-written title, and honestly, the title that has sold the least number of books. It was released in trade, without a mass-market follow up, and the numbers were not nearly as high as for my other titles.

A good book must be heard about or stumbled upon, sampled and tasted for others to spread the word. And I think most readers who go into the stores, for the most part, already know which book(s) they're looking for. So how do you make sure they hear about your title and seek it out if you're not on Oprah, or there's no scandal in the media about it, and you're not a celebrity? I've appreciatively written books long enough to know that I have a good number of readers who follow my works, but I'm still thinking about that book that lagged behind, Dr. Feelgood, and how well it could have done, or perhaps still can do, with the right marketing strategy.

Do you have a book-baby that lagged behind that you think would sell better if the promotional angles were sharper? If so, then I'm not alone. I guess it's like an all-star athlete who played but didn't get recruited. Someone should have known about him/her.

I'm bound and determined to revive that title, one way or another. Gotta show some love to all of our good books, that lagged behind! Cheers!


Dina Kucera said...

I have the feeling that the book that I will publish in may or june will end up as the book that got left behind. I queasy about it, but don't really know how to avoid it. It's my first book, I got the best publisher I could, but, wow, I'm a little stressed. Because I really believe in my book. Thank you for your post. I hope to see Dr. Feelgood on that front display in the bookstore.

Liane Spicer said...

I think most people do what you suggest, which is go to the bookstore looking for something specific - which means they must know about our books before they get there. Constantly trying to rev up the marketing/promotion is such a pain, but we've got to do it.

Good luck with Dr. Feelgood. Who knows? It just might become the sleeper that roared.