Jennifer Lyon


Monday, March 7th, 2016
7 Marketing & Publicity Points by M.J. Rose

It’s Business Monday and today I have a very special guest: New York Times bestseller, M.J. Rose is the author of sixteen novels, the founder of the first marketing firm for authors – Authorbuzz.com, and co-founder with Liz Berry of 1001 Dark Nights .  Here, she shared her tips on marketing and publicity in the ever-changing publishing world.

No one can buy a book they’ve never heard of.

So, how do readers hear about books? Everyone likes to say it’s word of mouth, but it’s not possible to tell a friend about a book until you’ve heard of it yourself.

That’s where publicity and marketing come in. What’s the difference between the two? Marketing is paid placement on blogs, radio, TV, newspapers, etc. These show up as ads, advertorials, promotions, blog tours, and more. With marketing, if you pay for it, it shows up. You hire a marketing company and they buy the space. The attention is guaranteed to be there.

Publicity is the opposite. You pay a publicist to pitch your book to newspapers, magazines, blogs, TV, radio interviews, and reviews. You are paying for the publicist’s effort to get you some attention. A publicist’s rate of success is determined by the quality and quantity of her connections.

7 Marketing & Publicity Points

1. 85% of all books get less than $2,000 in marketing from the publisher. And more than 85% of all books sell less than 1,000 copies.

2. 95% of all branded bestsellers get more than $25,000 in marketing and PR, and often it’s upwards of $50,000. There are never more than two or three books a year that break out on a fluke with no marketing and PR.

When people say, “If advertising and PR worked every book would be a bestseller,” they are approaching it from the wrong direction. The real question is, “How many books have succeeded without any PR or marketing?” and the answer is: very few.

Advertising and PR can’t make every book a bestseller because not every book is good enough or appealing enough. It is much easier to write an exciting ad than to write a whole book. Not even the most brilliant PR and marketing can sell a book people don’t want to read.

3.  Marketing and PR are both valuable, so I advise that if you have a big enough budget you should hire a publicist. Then for every dollar you spend with a publicist, spend two dollars with a marketing company. That way, even if the publicist can’t get reviews and publicity, you’ll still get exposure.

4. Exposure does work. If you take 100 books and look at the ones that had PR and marketing dollars spent on them and the ones that had none, you will absolutely see that the books that had PR/marketing outsold the others more than ten to one. The problem comes when you look at one book at a time.

For instance, I’ve done AuthorBuzz and blog ad campaigns where I have proof that over 10,000 people clicked through and looked deeper at the book, but ultimately the sales were less than stellar. What happened? We got attention for the book, but when potential readers looked more closely, they didn’t buy. I’ve also done campaigns where we did minimal marketing efforts and the book went back to press, which the publisher never expected, or the book ranked higher on a bestseller list than they expected or it simply sold through at a better rate than other books in the season/genre. What happened? It was a terrific book. It resonated with readers. PR and marketing can’t sell books. It’s worth repeating. PR and marketing can’t sell books.

PR and marketing can expose books to potential readers. The book—the words and the premise, the first few pages, the flap copy, the book cover—must entice, enchant, seduce. The book sells the book.

 In advertising there is a saying: nothing kills a bad product better than great advertising. It’s true for books too.

5. What to spend? The advice I give everyone, and follow myself, is to keep your day job or a freelance job and spend as much as you can on selling your book. I’ve worked with authors who spend $985 and others who, between my services and other efforts, spend $250,000. One way to decide: if you are going to look back and regret spending the money, don’t do it. But if you are going to look back and say, “If only I had tried maybe the book would have succeeded,” then do it. Nora Roberts said you should spend 10% of your advance. For years, James Patterson spent all of his on advertising and kept his job.

6. If you are going to hire a publicist or marketing firm, don’t believe anyone who promises you specific sales numbers. No one knows how many copies of your book they can move and if they start out by lying, you’re going to get screwed. Make sure you look at their testimonials and recognize some of the authors/publishers.

Lastly, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not true. People will try to get you to pay money to attend teleseminars on how to become an Amazon No. 1 bestseller for ten minutes. All that achievement actually requires is that you manipulate the system and get 100 friends to buy the book within an hour. Don’t pay anyone anything for advice like that.

mjNew York Times bestseller, ​M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… Books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.
Rose is the Co-President and a founding member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz. She also runs the blog, Museum of Mysteries.
​With Liz Berry she co-founded and co-operates 1,001 Dark Nights and Evil Eye Concepts, Inc.
In 1998, her first novel Lip Service was the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house, as well as published in more than 15 countries including France (where she is published as Melisse J. Rose).
Rose has been profiled in L’OfficielTime magazineForbesThe New York Times,Business 2.0Working WomanNewsweek, and New York Magazine. She has appeared on The Today ShowFox NewsThe Jim Lehrer NewsHour, and features on her have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, including USA TodayStern, L’OfficialPoets and Writers, and Publishers Weekly.
Rose graduated from Syracuse University and spent the ’80s in advertising. She was the Creative Director of Rosenfeld Sirowitz and Lawson and she has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
liz
Liz Berry has two passions. She is the executive director of International Thriller Writers (ITW), a trade group of over 3,000 thriller writers from around the world. Previously, she was the long-time director of Thrillerfest, the annual gathering of ITW, which happens in New York City every July.
With M.J. Rose, Liz co-founded and co-operates 1,001 Dark Nights and Evil Eye Concepts, Inc — an Internet marketing company that works to brand authors and expand readership within the romance genre.
Liz has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia and also studied at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Both areas of study have allowed her to gain twenty-plus years of experience in the ever-changing marketing field.
She proudly serves on the Education Committee for the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board, and, with her husband, novelist Steve Berry, operates History Matters, a non-profit foundation dedicated to historic preservation. For more information, visitThrillerWriters.org1001DarkNights.com, and History-Matters.org.

3 comments to “7 Marketing & Publicity Points by M.J. Rose”

  1. Jenn
    Comment
    1
      · March 7th, 2016 at 9:26 am · Link

    A huge THANK YOU to M.J. Rose for sharing these great tips with us, and to Liz Berry for making all the arrangements! Both of you are amazing!



  2. Silver James
    Comment
    2
      · March 7th, 2016 at 1:00 pm · Link

    MJ, thank you soooo much for the definition/difference between marketing and publicity. I’d been lumping them together in my head, which is probably not a good thing. I suck at “marketing.” I’m slightly better at publicity. Food for thought here.

    And congrats to you and Liz on your 1001 Dark Nights success!



  3. Viki S.
    Comment
    3
      · March 7th, 2016 at 4:49 pm · Link

    These posts are a real learning experience for me, thank you. It’s really interesting seeing how much more there is to getting your books out there. Thank you.

    Have a great day ;)!



Comments are closed.





JenniferLyon.com