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Promoting vs Marketing a Book – The Marketing Stage

Promoting vs Marketing a Book – Part 1

There are substantial differences between marketing and promoting. These are two separate operations, one including the other. In order to gain visibility for a recently published or self-published book, it is a good idea to keep two separate stages when planning  the strategy to reach readers for the book.

Publishing used to be mission nearly impossible – now each and everyone has access to the tools to publish whatever takes their fancy. Rumor has it that there are more writers than readers, though most writers are also readers, so this is only true when removing the writers from the total numbers of readers.

Yet, there is a lot of reading material out there! Over 6 million books on Amazon alone and over 750,000 ebooks on Kindle.

So, the main thing to realize is that putting a book ‘out there’ is barely more efficient than leaving it in your desk’s drawer. No one will find it, as they will not be looking for it, though they might occasionally  stumble across it – about as likely as stumbling across the proverbial needle in a haystack 🙂

In other words, working hard to raise awareness of the existence of you book is not an option, if you want it to be read, and ideally bought that is. People have to be told where to find it as well as shown why they should read your book rather than the other ones.

This implies a combination of market definition and promotion. Those are the two stages of marketing. People use those two words indifferently, but that’s because they are not professional publicists, and they don’t know. Professionals know very well that promotion is only the last stage of marketing.

The foundations of marketing entail defining and looking for a target audience, delineate which sector of the population is most likely to read your brand of writing. Marketing means matching; naming, identifying and finding the best channels to reach the likely audience for the book. With the advent of the Internet and the ebook, this implies sorting through the entire reading population of the language the book is written in, and not a geographical area anymore.

For free (considering time is free of course) marketing – both market definition and promotion, the Internet is by far the best tool. A clever use of searching with advanced options, selecting appropriate keywords, limiting search to blogs, for example, will immediately yield a sample of potential platforms ideally suited to promote a specific book.

For example, a search for : “YA books” AND “alternate universe” limited to blogs would give a selection of blogs that are interested in both these topics, i.e. the ideal target audience for a book for young adult taking place in an alternate universe.

So, the first step is to draw lists:

What do you write? This is where you define your book genre, or genres, or lack of there of if your book does not fit into any established genre, though the list of new genres is growing, so there should be a fit somewhere for your book.

For whom? This is where to define the demographics of your target audience, i.e., best suited for men, woman, pensioners, baby boomers generation, X or Y generation , teenagers,  people with a degree etc.

Who might like it? A more difficult concept to define. This can be defined by trying to make bridges between common interest for your book main topic and other topics. Say, though this might also be widely inaccurate, that legal thrillers might be appealing to lawyers or law students.

What are the best keywords to identify target audience? Based on the three previous lists, it is time to identify both short and long tail keywords with which to perform the research for targeted platforms.

Then use the list to perform the research. That is identifying the audience, and the potential platform, the first part of the marketing stage.

Only then comes the time to move on to promotion.

Promotion is about actually putting the word out there, which can only be done after defining where “there” actually is.

More about different tactics to achieve that next week.

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7 Responses to "Promoting vs Marketing a Book – The Marketing Stage"

  1. William Sparks says:

    Wonderful posts. Really! it’s only down to the 4th part of the series but it chuck full of great tips. Thank you for that, looking forward to the next episodes …

  2. Plagiarism is immoral and offensive, The original of this post, worded better appeared On Rosanne Dingli’s blog. For shame!!

  3. Patricia, we all should know that there is much public domain information available and many online articles we can use on our blogs and change into our own voice, but the usual procedure for non-public domain info is to at least acknowledge where you found it and who was the original author if that is available. Rosanne’s comment on LinkedIn is not in public domain, but belongs to her. You should have asked permission from her to use the information and to post the credit for it to her as author. That would be the courteous and ethical thing to do. And I’m sure Rosanne would have given you that permission. As authors, we all need to work and act with integrity if we want to gain a following. There is what an elderly neighbor of mine once called an unwritten law of retribution in this world. What we give out, we get back in kind in some form or another. If you look for positive feedback into your life and writing, you must give out the same treatment to others. I hope you will learn from this and do what is right from now on.

  4. Tom Szollosi says:

    You really ought to be more careful when you rip somebody off. Word gets out among qualified people — the people you’d like to have contributing and following you — rather quickly. Rosanne has always been a source of advice and information to those of us who know her — on LinkedIn, as I do, and I’m sure anywhere else she blogs, comments, or posts. You have taken the most precious thing a writer has, her words and ideas, and made a mockery of yourself by treating them like so much insignificant, disposable fodder. IF YOU’RE A SITE ABOUT WRITERS AND THE VALUE OF WRITING, HOW CAN YOU DO SUCH A THING? Next time give credit, right off the bat, to the person who creates valuable words and ideas. Or better yet, contact them and offer to pay them something! That’s what we do for a living!

  5. Boyd Lemon says:

    This post is an outrageous theft of the writing of author, Rosanne Dingli. Patricia, you should be ashamed and, at the very least apologize to Rosanne publicly. Take this post down immediately. As a writer, you should know how invasive it feels to have your work stolen by someone else.

  6. Please note I have posted all this to FaceBook – several thousand people are reading it NOW.

  7. Much of the text of this blog is paraphrased or copied from the following comment I made on November 4 at LinkedIn, and reproduce in full here:

    This is the original comment –
    > In addition to what Cindy said … what readers?

    There is a distinct difference between marketing and promoting that I have seen only one person mention here. I think it bears interpreting and repeating.

    Setting up a blog, writing a book and publishing it… these are all easy things to do. Dead easy. It used to be hard to publish – now everyone is doing it. There are more writers than readers.

    There is a lot of material out there: well over three million blogs last I counted. (Took me all night, too!)

    There are over 6 million books on Amazon alone.

    There are over 750,000 ebooks on Kindle.

    So – the main thing to realize is that putting something ‘out there’ is tantamount to leaving it in the top drawer of your desk. No one is going to see it unless they stumble across it – and the likelihood is very slim, simply because of the vast mountain of material covering YOURS. (And mine.)

    So you have to raise awareness of the existence of you book, blog, or the plural thereof.

    You need to tell people where it is, so they can go and look at it.

    You need to market and promote. Those two words do not mean the same thing. People use them interchangeably, but that’s because they are not professional publicists, and they don’t know. I am not, either – but I learned the difference from two professionals, and it took me a while to sort it out.

    Marketing means looking for people … a sector of the population who are likely to read what you write. Marketing means matching. It means naming and identifying the people who are likely to read what you write. To find these people, you first have to realize that it does not mean ALL people. You have to sort through the entire reading population of the English-reading world. (If your work is in English, that is.)

    If you write romantic thrillers with art, literature and music references, like I do, you have to go out there and seek, identify and name people who READ that kind of thing. VERY few people read ‘everything’.

    What do you write? For whom? Who might like it? Make lists. Identify the sector. Seek it. That’s marketing.

    When you have done that, it’s probably time to promote what you write to THAT market.

    Aha! The penny drops.

    Now you can tell your identified market all about your book and your blog. Doing promotions without doing marketing is like standing in a supermarket car park and shouting to everyone there about your coloured shoelaces. Which is very silly – because you really need to talk to those who use shoelaces to start with, and they might not be everywhere, or there.

    If you sought your market, you can promote to them. They are nearly all people who read romantic thrillers about art, music and literature (if you are anything like me.) That’s what they read… now you have to get them to buy and read YOURS, rather than someone else’s. That’s what they look for, so you have to put your book or links to your blog where they do their looking. You must create keywords and other stuff to put what you have in the same place as where they look.

    Not everyone looks in the same place, see? And do not yell google at me – it’s only a search engine, and people do not all search for what they want to read there. We think so, but they don’t.

    Examine what you like to read and how YOU search for it. How would you go about finding some fresh new author? With fresh new blogs and books? What do you do? Type “fresh new author” into google?

    You see what I mean.

    Go to where readers who read what you write hang about. Find out how they search. Put your stuff right in their way. Then they can see it. And about 9 percent will have a look.

    Are you tired yet?

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