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A Few Things a Kindergartner Can Teach You About Book Marketing

As an author, you listen to all the experts, consult with professionals with decades of experience, watch every webinar you can on book marketing … you absorb as much information from people who certainly know what they’re talking about. But like many things, sometimes we over-complicate matters; in our efforts to provide the most cutting-edge strategies and new book promotion ideas, we forget about some basics. It’s important to return to the fundamentals at times, those principles and straightforward insights that come from surprising sources … including kindergarteners.

PLAY NICELY
In book marketing and book publicity in general, there’s no tolerance for rude behavior or acting inappropriately when dealing or “playing” with the media. You received a bad book review? Deal with it, learn from it if you can, and respect the reviewer’s opinion.

An editor or producer won’t return your call or reply to your e-mail? Don’t get mad at them. If they’re not responding, you’re not giving them what they want and need. It really is that simple.

SHARING IS ALWAYS GOOD
Parents of young children teach sharing, and are thrilled when they see it in action. A child brings Star Wars action figure to school and lets his friend take it home and borrow it for awhile. The next day the child comes home with a different toy. The friend he shared with gave something back to him.

It’s crucial in book marketing to understand the “giving principle.” To get something you want, you first have to give something to others. Some times the best way to market a book is by giving it away. Do a radio interview and offer five free copies to callers. Why? Because when you give your books out, what happens? The person who gets the book will first of all be thrilled that he got a book for free, and secondly, because you’ve written a great book, he will tell others about it … and those other people will buy your book!

Share. Give. Do this and you’ll get much more in return.

SHOW RESPECT
We all know a parent who is never satisfied with their child’s teacher, as good as he or she may be. They e-mail, call, complain and incessantly hound the teacher.

Generally speaking, this isn’t a good thing for parents to do, and in book marketing, it’s a downright bad thing to do.

If you hire a publicist to promote your book, chances are you’re spending a good bit of your hard earned money. You are paying someone to do what they are trained and experienced at doing … book promotion and book marketing. You pay a book publicity agency to do what you know you can’t do as well as a professional book publicist.

If you do your due diligence and hire a book publicity agency, you need to trust that the firm you selected will do a good job. Let your publicist do what she does best. Don’t micro-manage. Don’t insist on her spending an hour on the phone with you every day. Let her do what you paid for … market your book to the media. Respect her talents and experience, those things you hired her for in the first place.

If you hire someone and want their best, give them a chance to do their best. If you hound your publicist with barrages of questions every day, they will spend a lot of their time answering your questions rather than promoting your book. Which do you prefer? Are you paying to have questions answered or to have a professional be an enthusiastic and passionate advocate for your book, working every day to get media coverage?

You should expect regular communication, and you should know what’s going on in your book marketing campaign, but beyond that, let book publicists do what you pay them to do.

NO CRYING!
Just as we teach young children that crying over disappointments and not getting their way isn't necessary or appropriate, the same principle applies in book publicity. While authors (and book publicists!) may not actually cry when things don't go their way, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and exhibit frustration. Authors should know going in that book marketing is a tough endeavor, it’s highly competitive, and there is one guarantee: You will not get every media placement you desire, you just won’t. And, there will be some tough days, perhaps not-so-positive reviews, or lagging book sales. It’s OK to feel disappointed – as book publicists at Smith Publicity do when we don't get the responses we hoped to from media – but pushing forward and maintaining a positive outlook is crucial.

If you do, good things will happen.

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