What a Six Year Old Can Teach You About Book Marketing

6-yo-marketingI’ve been in the book publicity and book marketing field a long time, and Smith Publicity has worked with over 1600 authors. I also have a six year-old, and he’s actually taught me some things about book promotion. I’m quite certain he had no idea he was teaching me about a business I’ve been in for eighteen years, but nevertheless, I have learned from him, and here’s how:

Play nicely.

In book marketing and book publicity in general, there’s no tolerance for rude behavior or acting inappropriately when dealing or “playing” with the media. You received a bad book review? Deal with it, learn from it if you can, and respect the reviewer’s opinion.

An editor or producer won’t return your call or reply to your e-mail? Don’t get mad at them. If they’re not responding, you’re not giving them what they want and need. It really is that simple.

Sharing is always good.

My son recently told me he brought a Star Wars action figure to school and let his friend take it home and borrow it for awhile. The next day my son came home with a Power Rangers toy. The friend he shared with gave something back to him.

It’s crucial in book marketing to understand the “giving principle.” To get something you want, you first have to give something to others. I often tell authors that some times the best way to market a book is by giving it away. Do a radio interview and offer five free copies to callers. Why? Because when you give your books out, what happens? The person who gets the book will first of all be thrilled that he got a book for free, and secondly, because you’ve written a great book, he will tell others about it … and those other people will buy your book! Share. Give. Do this and you’ll get much more in return.

Show respect to your teachers, and those you are paying to help you.

I recently looked at my local tax bill and my immediate reaction was, “Wow … I am paying a lot of taxes!” OK, I admit, I may be censoring my actual reaction, but you get the point. Then I thought about the excellent teachers who instruct my son, and how some of my taxes go to his school to pay excellent teachers.

We all know the parent who is never satisfied with their child’s teacher, as good as she may be. They e-mail, call, complain and incessantly hound the teacher.

Generally speaking, this isn’t a good thing for parents to do, and in book marketing, it’s a downright bad thing to do.

If you hire a publicist to promote your book, chances are you’re spending a good bit of your hard earned money. You are paying someone to do what they are trained and experienced at doing … book promotion and book marketing. You pay a book publicity agency to do what you know you can’t do as well as a professional book publicist.

If you have children, just as you believe the school district in which you’ve chosen to live has quality teachers, if you do your due diligence and hire a book publicity agency, you need to trust that the firm you selected will do a good job. Let your publicist do what she does best. Don’t micro-manage. Don’t insist on her spending an hour on the phone with you every day. Let her do what you paid for … market your book to the media.

If you hire someone and want their best, give them a chance to do their best. If you hound your publicist with barrages of questions every day, she will spend a lot of her time answering your questions rather than promoting your book. Which do you prefer? Are you paying to have questions answered or to have a professional be an enthusiastic and passionate advocate for your book, working every day to get media coverage?

You should expect regular communication, and you should know what’s going on in your book marketing campaign, but beyond that, let book publicists do what you pay them to do.

Dan Smith is CEO and founder of Smith Publicity, one of the premier book publicity and book marketing firms in the industry. Smith Publicity has implemented over 900 book promotion campaigns and secured placements with virtually every major media outlet. The firm has serviced authors from over 25 countries and has offices in New Jersey, New York, Los Angeles, and London. Website: www.smithpublicity.com