Mark Terry

Monday, June 25, 2007

Books On Book Marketing

June 25, 2007

I have a ton of books on writing. To my mind the best of the bunch if Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost. I've also got a couple really excellent books on freelancing, and if anybody is interested in my recommendations there, let me know and I'll blog about it later this week.

Going over my shelf of writing books, I noted that I have three books specifically geared toward the marketing and selling of your book after it has been published. I thought I'd mention them here with a few comments.

INTENT TO SELL: Marketing the Genre Novel

by Jeffrey Marks

Jeff's a good guy, a novelist, nonfiction author, teacher and he also happens to have an MBA. I recommend this book strongly. That said, I need to note that I have read this book twice and it pissed me off both times. The reason it pissed me off, I think, is because Jeff tells authors an awful lot of things they don't want to hear. One of the things that I always come back to when I think about this book is the idea that selling the book has nothing to do with the quality of the book. They tend to be separate things. A friend of mine's father used to do international sales for a major pharmaceutical company and he would proudly proclaim, "I'm a natural salesman, I could sell shit in tinfoil." I don't doubt it, but I always thought: why would you want to?

For some reason that story and Jeff's book always come to mind together. I'm not sure why. Maybe if you read Jeff's book, you too can sell shit in tinfoil. Let's just hope your book is better than that.

JUMP START YOUR BOOK SALES: A Money-Making Guide For Authors, Independent Publishers and Small Presses

by Marilyn & Tom Ross

It's been a while since I read this book, but I remember it as being damn near comprehensive. It's probably a little too focused on self-published authors. Glancing at it now, I suspect they must have updated the web stuff in a recent edition (if not, read that section with skepticism). My copy was published in 1999 so I can only hope they've come up with a newer edition. It's really an excellent book and as I'm writing this I'm thinking: hmmm, you should probably re-read this one.

Of course, I'm also remembering that the person who recommended I read it was a small press publisher who offered me a contract for a novel, then before any action resembling publication was taken, went out of business, disconnected her phone and (this is true) her website changed from that of a publisher to that of an animal crematorium.

Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing For Authors

by Steve Weber

I mentioned this earlier. It's got some good things in it, but it's entirely too focused on Amazon. Amazon, as most of us know by now, sells a lot of books--but mostly a few books by a lot of authors. (Pretty much the same business model as POD publishers such as iUniverse and XLibris.) They are a very small percentage of the overall bookselling market. Still, there's good stuff here and it doesn't take long to read it.

Of course, if you really want to get great book sales, convince your publisher to get your mass market paperback really good placement at Wal-Marts and Sam's Clubs and Costcos. Once you've figured out how to do that...


Mark Terry


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Amazon is fun because it gives you some feeling that something's going on with your books.

As for publisher to animal crematorium...sounds about right.

And as for the selling in tinfoil...good luck getting a publisher to ante up for a foil cover!

9:31 AM  
Blogger Ron Estrada said...

Let me use the RV business as an analogy (again). We make a product that is, hands down, the safest way to tow a travel trailer in existence. Even our competitors won't deny that. But we still have to hustle constantly to sell enough of these things to make a living. In a world saturated with products, including novels, you have to be a salesman.

9:54 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Thanks for the last three posts! I've been lazing away on vacation, but they were timely for me.

By the way, you can read Plug Your Book, for free.

11:05 AM  

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