Thursday, January 17, 2013

Make me a Best Seller

I have so many prospective clients show up with their book ideas and the absolute certainty they have the next best-seller. I get asked the critical question, "Do you think this idea will be a success?" First, without doing some kind of market study, I can't answer that question without any level of certainty. I can take an educated guess. I have really great instincts. The three top-selling Amazon books published by my company 3L Publishing were my selections. What I can tell you is the no. #1 fail point every time. Do you want to know what it is? And actually this response came when a good friend of mine asked me how a particular book in the 3L catalog was selling. What is the fail point?

Failing to invest in promotion. Many authors spend the time to write their books, and then once the "creative" side is finished, they often drop the ball. They don't procure our public relations and marketing services OR they invest very little money in it, and yet still expect BIG results. We've been criticized when an author invests 20 hours for PR and it doesn't produce enough results. Do you realize that 20 hours is less than a half a week's work? That is like asking us to do what is a full-time job for a half a week. And when the book receives very little attention, because the author in a sense has given the project very little attention, the author is disappointed.

How exactly should authors approach this business endeavor (and yes, it's a business):

1. Treat it like it's a business. Promoting a book is a major effort. Without the investment in promoting your book, it's not going to sell. Some books only require placement in key media and the snowball or momentum effect occurs. Once sales momentum is achieved it can last many, many months via word of mouth. Some books hit that "sweet spot" right away with just one exposure in a key media outlet with a audience that is eager to read that genre. Our book A Feast at the Beach was a book that when it hit key media, it sold very well. Other books, though, no matter what media or how many outlets will never take off and pick up speed.

2. Nothing sells the book better than the author. Author often think, "I'll hire a publicist and let him or her handle the business aspects." Fans love to meet the author. Fan love to get the author to sign the book. Fans love to hear the author speak. A publicist cannot be a stand-in for the author. So authors have to be prepared to hit the promotional trail.

If you would like to hire a publicist to promote your book, please contact us at or call 916-300-8012.

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