After three decades of promoting over a thousand authors to the media, I have found these are the strategies that work for authors marketing themselves:
1. Contact a ton of people in hopes that at least a small number will respond favorably.
2. Target a smaller outreach list but make it more personable in your appeal and hope that a small but vital number will respond favorably.
3. Vary your price or packaging services to work at certain price points, depending on who you are selling to.
4. Never ever lie, but feel free to paint an optimistic, ideal landscape for potential customers. Do not distort the truth or seek to manipulate the facts. However, you can remain silent about things you know will not necessarily put you in the best light, just as one does when on a job interview.
5. Borrow but don’t steal the ideas of others. Never claim something as your own if it is not, and always give credit to others, but where possible, ask others for permission to use their resources, materials, or information to help you sell.
6. Copy the style of others but don’t lift their content. In other words, don’t plagiarize or violate copyright law. But if someone’s work, product, service, or book gives you an idea, mold it and adapt it to what you do and say.
7. Spy on competitors and see what they do that you can do to be more successful. So much information exists about people online – tap into it and use it to your advantage.
8. Find a way to reduce or eliminate any risks associated with doing business with you.
9. Expect to hear “no” or no response far more often than a yes. That’s okay. It’s a numbers game, and you’ll win with more outreach.
10. Step out of your comfort zone. You can’t rely on one thing or one event or one list to get you to where you want to be. Keep learning, keep experimenting, and expose yourself to different environments.
11. Find a way to differentiate yourself and express what makes you great, unique, fresh, better.
12. Express yourself with confidence, a smile, and a positive attitude.
13. Don’t delay or wait for opportunity to come – you need to go after it, now, and again and again.
14. Always show an interest in the other person. They come first. You are there to help, support and add to their life. Have them feel special with you.
15. Break everything you say to someone down into one key theme: helping them solve a problem. Come off as the solution, not an expense.
16. You live and die on perceptions, not reality. Be sure to properly shape one’s perception of you.
17. Be detailed about what you know of the people you know. Think of all the people in your poll of acquaintances, Facebook friends, colleagues, family, friends, etc. What do you really know of them or of the people they know? The more you know, the better you’ll be at navigating their contacts, resources, and data that they may share with you if they only knew you needed it.
Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer for Media Connect, North America’s largest book promoters. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. BookMarketingBuzzBlog.blogspot.com was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby, and in 2018, was recognized by Feedspot as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a “best resource.”