Friday, September 17, 2010

Effective Marketing Strategy to give Books Visibility

A  successful book  encapsulates not just a good story but also a clever and smart marketing strategy. Many good books because of low visibility just do not reach the masses.  A writing friend and I were discussing how the actors market their movies. Everyone is  aware of the  forthcoming releases. What I am trying to say is that there is heavy duty marketing done for movies. Writers work as hard as actors, I think we lose out because writing is not a glamorous profession and not everyone likes to read. They would rather watch a movie.

Many writers consider it infra dig to market their books. They feel their  job ends with writing and after that it’s the publisher’s problem. I disagree.

I have realized that we writers  can do a lot to market our books. When my first two books were published, my publisher requested me to ask my family and close  friends to  visit bookshops to buy my books. When the staff in the  book shops realize that the book is moving they not only give it a prominent display but also recommend it to other customers. Unfortunately I was too shy to ask anyone to do this and the 35% discount offered by my publisher to friends placing bulk orders enticed them away from the bookshops. They approached her office directly.

One writer I knew had put up posters of her books outside movie halls. I did see people stop  before the poster. But how many actually bought the book I have no idea. But atleast the book got some visibility.

              Publishers can do a lot  to market the books.

1.      Putting up posters in schools and colleges and other frequently visited places is a good idea for spreading the word around.

2.      Approaching schools with offers of huge discounts if bulk orders are placed is another great idea. Many schools distribute books as prizes.

3.      Approaching librarians and talking with  library owners about our books is another smart  marketing  strategy.  Many prefer to borrow books from the library  than buy books. But atleast the book is read.

4.      Organising book  reading  and signing sessions in bookshops is a wonderful idea. If this can be combined with a themed event ( like my publisher did for my books)  its super.

5.      Arranging for author interveiws with several newspapers did its bit in spreading the word for my first two  books.

6.      Sending out free copies to newspapers for reviews. The books can also be given to columnists whose columns have a wide readership.

7.      What we didn’t do was the radio marketing. Local channels like (FM, 94.3) have a  fantastic reach. Unfortunately my publisher just did not tap that media. Radio contests with the book as prize would have worked wonderfully well. People are listening to the radio all the time: while driving  and at home. And who doesn't like a free book.

8.      Organising readings and visits  in schools was another missed  opportunity. This is one of the best ways for children’s books to reach their readers.

9.      Blog posts about book releases and Tweets are effective Internet  mediums to bring the book to the notice of people inhabiting the virtual world. As are like pages. Blog contests and giveaways are a great way of spreading the word around.

10.  One Indian publisher put up ads about their  forthcoming book on MTV.

11.  The same publisher also placed newspaper ads.

Do you believe in the adage that effective marketing  sells more copies? What  does good marketing  mean to you? Any ideas  you would like to share about marketing?


  1. Great post Rachna! So true about how important marketing is to a successful promotion of your book....
    Radio is a really good tool..just like you say, most people listen to it...
    Book signings and even web competitions/book as prize are excellent tools as well..
    MTV would be huge as well! Especially to reach the YA audience..

  2. What a great list of ideas! I think as writers we need to brainstorm our marketing techniques long before we hit the book shelves.

  3. A great list, Rachna. A lot of work, too! I get concerned sometimes about how much time all of that will take away from writing. But then, ya do what ya gotta do! :-)

  4. Marketing is very much on my mind these days. And I have googled everything I can on the subject. As a matter of fact, just yesterday I found some interesting things on this subject. Most important? You in the flesh. Kids love for their fav authors to do school visits. I don't know about India, but I suppose it would be the same? Book fairs are great and donating a copy here and there to school libraries. And free stuff. Always good. :)

  5. What an original blog topic. Very well written and thought provokinh. Thank you and thanks for following along on my blog too. :O)

  6. Good topic! I do believe we need to be involved in the marketing of our writing, whether books, articles, etc. It's all part of reaching out and creating a platform. Comes with the territory these days.
    Have a good weekend,

  7. Yep, marketing is a wonderful thing. I hope to utilize all these ideas some day.

  8. Great list. Thanks so much for posting it. I love the idea of the posters outside of theatres. That's a new one. I have friends who make bookmarks and put them inside other books that are similar to theirs, then face those books out on the shelves. (As well as their own books of course. LOL) That way, you're helping another writer, presumably someone whose work you admire, and you're helping yourself as well.

  9. and MTV are good options which should be tapped.

    Anne... I actually didn't do much to market my first lot of books. But I plan to do a lot more in future.

    Elizabeth..yes its a lot of work, but really well worth the effort. visits are my favourite. Wish we could have done more on that front. Its a wonderful way to connect with one's readers. is an important aspect of publishing, a great way to give the book visibility.

    Karen...I agree that reaching out to people and creating a platform is important.

    Tabitha...I hope I can utilize all or most of the ideas in future.

    Victoria...I like the idea of placing bookmarks in books similar to the ones we write. It will be a constant reminder.

  10. I’ve seen the newspaper and MTV ads you are talking about. I think they are quite effective actually, but right now I guess most of the readers will come through avenues of social media. At least, I find that nowadays I select a lot more books to read based on my surfing online.

  11. Great list of stuff! Can't wait to get to the marketing stage someday. I think marketing could be a lot of fun.
    Another thing I saw--especially for YA and Children's Lit--is giving out buttons, stickers, and bookmarks with the title or cover of your book on them. Sophie Jordan's website had a way to sign up with your name and address and she would send you little goodies to hand out to your friends. Very cute idea, I thought.

  12. Marketing is essential and the truth is that writers have a be a lot more proactive about it than they've been in the past.

    You give a good list in this post about the different marketing options and many writers can do a lot of these things themselves if the publisher doesn't bother (and most of them won't).

    Marketing not only makes that particular book do well but also get's the author's name out there so when the second book come out people are more likely to recognise that name and be curious.


  13. Effective marketing definitely sells more copies. The more poeple see it around, the more they want to know what the fuss is about :)

  14. I definitely think that good marketing sells books. I've been trying to think about my marketing strategy for awhile now... and everytime I see a post like this, I write down the link so I can refer back to it. Thanks!

  15. I don't have a book to market, but hopefully someday I will. It seems that word of mouth plays a huge role, but how does word of mouth spread? I have no answers to this. You developed a great list.