Book marketing guru Shari Stauch estimates that it takes consumers an average of seven encounters with a book before they will purchase it. My research shows that a slight tweak to that statement would make it more accurate. It is more likely the number of encounters with the author is what tips the scales when it comes to book purchases.
The sad truth is that if you’re not already a bestselling author, then book marketing will be more akin to a marathon than a sprint, and the dreaded “wall” hits you sooner than you would think.
It’s easy to be excited about marketing when one is the belle of the ball with book signings scheduled, book reviews published in popular online forums, a short stint on the Amazon bestseller list, podcast invitations, and a book trailer tabulating views on YouTube. But that time in the spotlight lasts shorter than most of us would like, and soon authors are brainstorming on how to get their books once again in front of the eyes of potential consumers.
Interestingly enough, one of the most effective selling techniques for new authors is to promote their writing generally rather than their book specifically. Regional newspapers and popular online websites are always looking for content. And if content is offered for free, it is more attractive to publishers. This is one marketing avenue that shouldn’t be ignored.
Recently first-time author Spencer W. McBride deftly used this technique. Spencer is the author of Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America. On the day before the presidential inauguration, his editorial entitled “My view: Trump’s victory demonstrates an exploitation of Christian voters” was published in the Deseret News. Though never specifically referring to the contents of his book, he skillfully wove aspects of the current political climate into politics of the American past. In the process, he not only showcased his mastery of the subject matter but also its enduring relevance. The only hat tip to his book was in the bio: “Spencer W. McBride is the author of “Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America.”
Spencer is an acquaintance. I knew about his book. I love history and books, but had yet to consider purchasing it because it seemed to be on a narrow topic with little practical application. After reading his editorial, I became intrigued. His insights were astute and his writing style interesting.
Did I buy the book? No, but I did check out the price on Amazon. Besides I am only at encounter five.
—Laura Harris Hales