Do I Really Need a Book Marketing Consultant?
June 29, 2021
If you are an author trying to get your book published, you will quickly discover that the journey to publication can be a rocky one. That's to say nothing of marketing a book.

Unless you are a writer with a house-hold name, long gone are the days when a publishing house provided a big advance and oversaw all aspects of publishing and marketing your book.

This means a lot of the marketing is on the writer's shoulders. And that is to speak only of writers working with a publishing house. Self-published writers are typically in charge of the entire publishing process, in addition to marketing their book.

To ensure they are making sound decisions regarding the release and publicity of their book, many authors will hire a book marketing consultant. You may be wondering - do I really need a book marketing consultant?

Below is a list of tasks central to marketing a book. Included is a description of why that task is important, how a book marketing consultant can add-value by performing the task, and what you can try and do as an author on your own.
Identify Your Target Audience
The first crucial step in marketing your book is identifying your book's audience. This is a balancing act. You don't want the audience demographic to be so wide that the messaging is watered down and does not appeal to anyone. On the other hand, you want to avoid too
narrow a focus that you are missing out on potential readers.

How a book marketing consultant helps:
A book marketing consultant can use her expertise to get you in the sweet spot of identifying all of the types of readers that might be interested in your book, and crafting messaging that speaks directly to your audience.

What an author can do on their own:
You can attempt to do this on your own by performing competitive research on books similar to yours and seeing who the competition is marketed to and how.
Expand Your Following
Before your book is set to print, you will ideally already have a following. If you have not already developed a brand with a dedicated following, you can cultivate one with contacts you already have. For example, if you are a professional, colleagues and acquaintances on LinkedIn are a great place to start.

You should expand your following prior to your book release. This can lead to interest in your book not only among your contacts, but interest can grow organically from your followers to their contacts and beyond.

How a book marketing consultant helps:
A book marketing consultant can develop a plan to expand your contacts using traditional messaging strategies, as well as through direct email and social media campaigns.

What an author can do on their own:
You can establish social media profiles on appropriate platforms and make as many contacts as possible on each. You can also create an email campaign using an existing email account or with an email marketing platform.
Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing strategy is a fancy way of describing messaging. Content marketing is the content - like blogs, social media posts and videos - that you create and disseminate to your target audience. A content marketing strategy for a book will ideally begin 4-6 months before publication and should be consistent in brand messaging and frequency of messaging dissemination.

How a book marketing consultant helps:
A book marketing consultant can develop a content marketing strategy that is aligned with the book's themes and the author's brand, identifying appropriate channels for content dissemination and posting content on a pre-planned schedule.

What an author can do on their own:
You can create your own content - including blog articles, social media posts, and newsletters - and post regularly to the appropriate channels.
Create a Public Relations Campaign
A public relations campaign is the traditional way to market a book with the author being interviewed on television or radio, or in print outlets. Traditional media outlets remain arguably the most potent avenue for promotion, especially for authors who frequently have trouble gaining traction online.

A guest spot on a local news station, much less a national outlet, can give an author immediate exposure to tens - if not hundreds - of thousands of viewers. What's more, traditional news outlets market or re-appropriate their on-air content online, so authors get double exposure during a broadcast and then again on the web.

How a book marketing consultant helps:
A book marketing consultant can develop a public relations campaign that connects your book to newsworthy events and pitch to media outlets with demographics that align with your book's target audience.

What an author can do on their own:
Creating a public relations campaign means a ton of research on media outlets and programs, as well as the audience and contacts at each outlet. There is also an art to pitching, so you will need to identify book themes that are news-worthy and how to message this to media contacts, as well as follow-up with them many times. In fact, it can take as many as 15 calls to get a producer to agree to have you on-air. I know from experience.

Here's a great example of how important following-up is:
I was representing the authors of Looneyspoons, a self-published low-fat cookbook. I kept following-up with People magazine, highlighting that the book sold 600k copies and had a great human interest story in the form of the authors' lives. Finally, we landed a spot - a front and back spread with eight photos! This is almost unheard of for this magazine's human interest spotlights. The book went on to sell 1.2 million copies.

How a Book Marketing Consultant Helps Authors
In sum, a book marketing consultant creates a strategy for promoting your book that takes into account your audience demographics, existing following, book release timing, digital presence and public relations goals. A book marketing consultant may also advise on publication concerns, such as how to submit to publishing houses and if self-publishing is in the author's best interest.

Keep in mind that time is of the essence with a book marketing campaign. Your window of opportunity to create interest in your book in anticipation of publication and book release is small. You may find yourself wasting months of trial and error in marketing your book. That's why many authors choose to hire a book marketing consultant; they save them money and time - in addition to producing better results - in the long run.

If you are still wondering - do I really need a book marketing consultant - reach out to me today. I have over three decades of experience working with new and established authors in connecting their books to a wide audience.