Recently an author who I solicited to consider having me produce a a course in miracles video trailer said to me, “I am the author, not the publisher, you are barking up the wrong tree.” He went on to explain that he expected his publisher to be responsible for promotion of his book. I have had both a traditionally published and a self-published book and I have learned that he is right, you don’t need to promote your book – – if you are Sarah Palin with your own cult following or Chelsea Handler with three books on this week’s New York Times Best Seller list and a nightly hit television show to help you publicize to a mass audience every day. I pointed out to my prospect that regardless of celebrity I have seen no publishers selling books on Jon Stewart, Colbert Report, David Letterman or Oprah. The reality is that the task of hawking your title falls squarely on the shoulders of the author.
Have you written a book proposal lately? One of the primary questions publishers want answered is whether you have a ready market. They want to know from you, the author, who the market is for your book, what following you have in that market and ideas of how to tap that market. Uninitiated authors often assume that the publisher will have the answers or find the answers to these questions. The reality is you, the author, are integral to the marketing of your book. If you are a self-published author, you just got a new job–marketing director of “You Incorporated”. Congratulations!
There are any number of ways to market your book and any number of experts to help you. Alex Mandossian and others offer virtual book tours. Brian Jud can show you how to effectively reach mass retailers; Steve Harrison is an expert in special markets and there are countless public relations firms like Annie Jennings ready to help make you famous. Some other people I have worked with include self-promotion expert Carolyn Howard-Johnson, publicist James V. O’Connor and speaker promoter Susan Levin. It’s a confusing maze of potential opportunities and I am here to add to the mix.
One thing is for sure, whether you have a publisher or you are self-published, you absolutely must have a website dedicated to your book. This is your portal to which all inquires get funneled. I am amazed to see how many books do not have a website. You cannot simply rely on people finding your book at Amazon and then being so intrigued by your title and postage stamp sized cover that they immediately order a copy. If this is your marketing plan you will wallow in oblivion. You must have a place where people can learn more about you and your book. Your site at the very least should have a decent sized image of your book’s cover, perhaps some biographical information, an excerpt showing a few pages, the table of contents, a few testimonials and a link to someplace to buy the book.
If you have a website that somewhat fits the above description, the next step is video. You might say,”Hey, I am selling a printed book! Why video?” I am glad you were thinking that. Here’s the answer, because people on the web are in a hurry and we live in a video culture. Many people today want things explained to them verbally and preferably with pictures. Hmmm, smells like video. That’s right. High speed Internet means watching video on the web is easier than ever.
Book buyers have literally a million books to choose from. How will they choose your book? Short book video trailers are much like movie trailers. They are typically less than a minute and are produced to peak the interest of potential readers. It takes time to read through a lot of information on your website but you can help the decision making process along by offering your visitors a short book video trailer that quickly says what your book is about and uses pictures to get them emotionally involved. Remember the old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words. Well it’s really true here.
Still skeptical? Consider that mass book seller Amazon now allows and encourages authors to upload videos related to their books. Why? Because it helps sell books. What else can you do with your book video trailer besides put it on your website and upload it to Amazon? Ever hear of YouTube? Of course you have. Well, YouTube is now purported to be the fastest growing and second largest search engine. That means that there is a large number of people actively looking for video content by searching YouTube. You would not think of omitting Google from your marketing plan. Neglecting to submit video content to YouTube is nearly as bad. In addition there are a number of other video websites and book websites that want your book related videos