In my experience, the major error that new book authors make is that they stop too soon in promoting their books. Other things begin to pull for their attention and, soon, their book promotion efforts fall by the wayside.
I’m going to give you a basic rule — a rule that forbids excuses, a rule that will keep your book from falling by the wayside. I call it the rule of five.
All it takes is five book promotions a day. Really, that’s all it takes. Mail a letter. Send out a news release. Phone someone. Take an editor to lunch. Contact the media.
It doesn’t require much time — 15 to 20 minutes is enough — but it can make a world of difference on how well your book sells.
There are five essential points for pursuing media exposure:
1. 95% of all news is planted. That means, that most of the news you read in newspapers and magazines has come out of news releases sent to the media by businesses, associations, government offices, sports teams, arts groups, and other organizations or individuals with something interesting (or not so interesting) to say.
2. Provide real news. If you can provide real news for the media, they will be glad to feature your book. That’s why you should keep refining your news hooks until you find one that really meets a need. Don’t send out a press release announcing any book until you can show that the book provides at least one benefit for potential readers — whether that benefit be entertainment, information, instruction, or enlightenment.
3. Follow up. Never assume that just because you sent someone a sample copy, they got it. There are three known Bermuda Triangles in New York City alone. There was a big semi sitting in the wilds of New Jersey with first class mail for over two years (a real case!). There was a postman in Chicago who buried all his third class mail along with some first class mail (another real case!). If you learn only one rule of marketing, it is this: follow up, follow up, follow up.
4. Publicity begets more publicity. Once you get the ball rolling, it will often go on by itself. Local news features are often picked up by the wire services and spread across the country. Local radio and TV shows can lead to bookings on network shows. One or two features in the major review media, and soon every newspaper in the country is calling to ask for a review copy (or simply reprinting the review from one of the major sources).
5. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Persistence, above all, is the key to success in generating favorable publicity for your book. Believe in your book, keep on plugging away, and the reviews, interviews, and articles will come.
No more excuses! If your book doesn’t sell, there is only one reason (provided the book has any merit at all). And that reason is this: You’re just haven’t spent the time. If you spend just ten minutes a day every day, you will generate an incredible momentum for your book.
There are no reasons why any book should die after six weeks in the marketplace. Books, like diamonds, are forever — provided you are willing to put a little elbow grease behind their promotion and you use those ten minutes a day wisely.
Now stand up and start doing your ten minutes a day right now. Don’t wait. I mean it. Don’t wait.