The Creative Spark!—Book Marketing

Skip College; Learn Book Marketing the Smart Way

I got assigned a role to teach marketing at a community college.  Before this, I had never heard of the four P’s of marketing: product, place, price, and promotion.  However, I could’ve succeeded remarkably in the teaching role had the school used a certain textbook.  The textbook would’ve made learning simple and fun for the both me and the students.  But the school opted instead to pirate a PDF of a different book posted online.  I used the PDF to prepare, so I requested the book version of the PDF for the actual class.  Instead of purchasing the outdated book, the school wanted me to photocopy the pirated PDF page-by-page to hand out to all the students first day of class.  (The book held around one thousand pages.) If I had accepted the role, I surely would have failed as the students would have learned outdated theory but little to no practical skills.

Later, as a student, I wanted to take marketing from Athabasca, but a certain social media marketing course had heavily outdated textbooks.  So, I avoided the AU marketing program.  After all, the books you read on marketing can make you shine or waste your time.

Lately, I’ve wanted to learn book marketing strategies.  And perhaps you have a book within you.  I’ve helped authors publish and market their books.  I love making book trailer campaigns on YouTube, but I’d like to leverage social media more.  Author Alinka Rutkowska says her social media platforms consists mostly of Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads (2019).  On top of social media, Rugkowska made an author Websites with landing pages and opt-in emails.  She used Optimizepress, a WordPress plugin, that comes with landing pages and a membership site.  I’d likely settle for a Wix website (with a membership plugin).  After all, the learning curve for Wix is less fearsome than that for WordPress and Optimizepress.   And the authors I represent don’t want to spend months mastering complex platforms.

When helping authors, I’ve made mistakes.  In the future, I’d ensure my authors have three editors:  developmental editor, copy editor, and proofreader.  Author Alinka Rutkowska describes the three: “developmental editor … tells you that your story will make great wrapping paper unless you get it significantly revised; copy editor … points out all your errors; proofreader … reads your masterpiece countless times and makes sure it’s at its purest state possible” (p.  6 of 134, 9%).  With a polished book, you can enter contests, possibly winning an award.  Awards sell books, especially when advertised on your book’s front cover.

Another mistake I made involved poor formatting.  You can pay for someone to format your book interior (and cover page) cheap on  I formatted book interiors myself.  (Stupidly, I paid for fonts with license agreements when I could’ve used free fonts that come with an Adobe subscription.)   I formatted one book with giant variable font sizes, each letter colored differently than the letters on either side.  But the high cost of color books forced me to make the font black.  Sadly, the colorless font took away the visual appeal.  But on the bright side, the author’s words more-than-made-up for my formatting faux pas.

On a final note, I think if you want to write, publish, and market your book, you should skip the community college.  Make your first stop Author Alinka Rutkowska’s How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors (Self Publishing through Amazon and Other Retailers).  I’m sure she’ll get you into every major online bookseller in no time.

Rutkowska, Alinka.  (E-book, Updated 2019 Edition).  How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors (Self Publishing through Amazon and Other Retailers).  Leaders Press.
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