Are all the book marketing gurus REALLY giving you straight talk? Or are they bull-shitting you to make a buck? 

In my opinion, most are bull-shitting simply because they don't understand the new dynamics of the fast-changing publishing world and the new publishing devices and technology that have created new business models and ways of doing publishing business...Including where and how to market.  

Christopher Kokoski
 wrote this for Wordpreneur:

If you’re like me, you have a book and the passion to spend the rest of your life making it a success. But, with all the ways to market your book, the costs and the inevitable sinking feeling of utter helplessness, what can you do?

You COULD run around in circles trying to get your book in every bookstore in town. You COULD write Oprah or the Today Show, and hope for a call-back. You COULD spend months crafting a book proposal and wait another six months for the exact right time to send it to the exact right editor at the exact right publishing house with the exact right level of interest to stand behind your book.

But those are lies (well, for most of us, most of the time, they are) and here are the top six lies and how you can avoid believing them:

Lie #1: You NEED to get your book in bookstores.

No, you don’t. Visit your local bookstore — any bookstore — and you’ll see thousands (maybe millions) of books crammed, piled, stacked and displayed. Do you really think that simply adding your book to this haystack will catapult you to success?

Truth: The right bookstore at the right location selling the right kind of books to the right customers CAN catapult your book to success. What is the right bookstore? One that sells your kind of book, whether it be a Christian bookstore, a Success Store, a health store, etc. For my book, 101 Ways To Pray Better And Get Faster Results, I am targeting Christian bookstores in my area, especially bookstores in churches. They will give me the greatest amount of exposure to the people who will actually be interested in my book. Who buys your kind of book? What is the best place to sell it? Maybe it is at a grocery store, a pet store, or at an airport.

Lie #2: You MUST get on Oprah.

Yes, it would be nice to get on Oprah. Certainly, it could not hurt your book sales. But most people with this goal ask themselves the wrong question: “How do I get on Oprah?” Getting on Oprah is not the point, albeit a good objective, though a long-shot for most authors. However, as a natural optimist, there’s no reason for you not to try!

Truth: The RIGHT question to ask yourself is: “How can I create a book that Oprah would want on her show?” Why is this a better, more powerful question? First of all, it is focused on Oprah’s needs, and she will only care about your book if it helps her and her show get more people watching and talking about (you guessed it) her. After all, you want people to read and talk about your book, don’t you? That’s why you’re reading this article. Start with the right question, and you will end up the right answers. So how do you create a book that will appeal to Oprah? Write one that appeals to her television audience, mostly women who are at home at the time of her show. You can get more detailed, of course, and you should. Case Example: the new book He’s Just Not That Into You. Oprah has had one of the co-authors of that book on her show twice since its release.

Lie #3: You MUST get a big advance from a big publishing company.

Again, good idea, but it doesn’t guarantee success any more than carrying around a four-leaf clover ensures good luck. You need more than big bucks to get people to read your book. In fact, the only thing that a big advance gives you is the knowledge that the publishing company will try hard to make people buy your book. Yes, that’s a plus. Yes, you want that. But it takes more than that to squeeze into the ranks with Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Seth Godin (author of Purple Cow, among others).

Truth: What you really need is a good book, written well, formatted with the reader in mind, that entertains, informs, persuades and gets customers talking to each other. No easy job, I assure you. But it can be done. And is done. Here’s how you can do it, too:

  • Gather up the most popular, talked-about books in the last five years (Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code, among others).
  • Ask yourself, “What makes people talk about these books?”
  • Copy the strategies, change/add/delete whatever you need to make your book more success-friendly.

Also, create something (a flyer, a business card, a bookmark, something) that your customers can pass on to each other. Or post up on a wall or keep in their purse or wallet. Make it good, funny, entertaining, informative, but make it something people actually want to keep (like a good article on book marketing).

Lie #4: You MUST get radio or television interviews.

Like the other lies, this one seems true because all the big-name, big-book, big-salary authors do them. And I must admit that we, if possible, should do them. But, the lie is that you actually NEED them to boost your book sales. They might and they might not.

Truth: What you REALLY need is to get your book in the hands of people who are ready, willing and able to buy them. How do you accomplish this? First, sit down and write out a description of the people who are most likely to be interested enough in your book to fork over money for it. Second, figure out where these people congregate: online, conventions, magazines, etc. Where do these type of people go to find the type of information which is in your book? Be specific. Write it down. Third, and lastly, get your book in front of those people in those places.

For example: My book is on prayer, so I want to get it in front of people who are interested enough in the topic to trade their hard-earned money to learn how to improve their prayer lives and get closer to God. So, in addition to attempting the normal routes (getting book in bookstore, creating a website, trying to get book on, I also will contact Christian groups and organizations to give FREE talks on prayer, after which I’ll offer my book.

Lie #5: The MOST important part of book promotion is having a good book.

Sorry, no that is not true. Yes, you should try to write the best book possible and give it a great, eye-catching cover, with a mind-grabbing title to boot. But, none of those savvy strategies are the MOST important part of your book promotion. They only work if you can do ONE thing…

Truth: The MOST important part of book promotion is (drum roll please) getting the right people to experience the great benefits of your book. If your book entertains, then that is the benefit. If your book explains or teaches, then that is the great experience.

  • Who are the right people? People who will tell others about your book.
  • What are the three MAIN benefits of your book?
  • Who should experience them?

Lie #6: If you do all the things in this (or any one else’s) article, your book will outsell the Harry Potter Series.

Truth: The outcome of your book promotion will be the result of your tenacity, creativity, passion, talent, and willingness to try new things until something clicks. If you can do that, you will one day succeed. And, my friend, I hope that day comes soon for you.

Christopher Kokoski is the author of 101 Ways To Pray Better And Get Faster Results. His passion is to write great books (fiction and non-fiction) and help others succeed with their own books. He wishes you well and a quick rise to publishing success.