I recently received a call from a gentleman who had self-published a Christian book. He was looking for someone to provide “marketing services” for his book.
As I spoke with him, it became evident that while he wrote and published the book, he wanted someone else to promote it. I explained to this author that a service that provided “marketing” for his book did not exist. Marketing is the responsibility of the publisher and author combined. However, when you are both (as this gentleman was) the responsibility of marketing falls on one person’s shoulders.
I did tell this gentleman that there were various services he could engage to help him market his book. These included:
- A Publicist
- A Sales Force – usually through a distributor – to sell his book to stores.
- An Association, like Christian Small Publishers Association, that provides information on ways to promote books as well as services to help publishers market their books.
- My book “Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace” that would give him step-by-step instructions of resource and things he can do to market his book.
I encouraged this gentleman to find out more about these various services on the Internet.
Two days later I received another call from this author. He told me his self-publishing story and asked what help I could give him in marketing. I gently reminded him that we had spoken earlier in the week and encouraged him to check out the resources I had told him about previously. He responded that he had called so many people he had forgotten he had already talked to me.
From this conversation, two things were obvious to me.
- This author was not finding anyone to market his book for him. Why? Because, it is the responsibility of the publisher to develop a marketing plan and for the author to help carry out aspects of that plan (using social media to promote the book, speaking engagements, etc.).
- This author had not followed up on the leads and advice I gave him. He continued to believe that he could find someone to market his book for him.
Here is the sad piece. This gentleman will eventually find a service that will tell him that they will market his book. Most likely that service will charge a large amount of money and provide little in return for their fee. As a result, this author will not sell enough books to recoup the money he paid for the “marketing services.”
May that not be your fate.