Not all book marketing services are created equal. That’s a given. And some have strengths in some genres or expertise that they don’t in others.
When it comes to finding the right book marketing service, you’ll want to find a partner. A team that has your best interests. A team that’s on the same page and making recommendations that make sense to you.
No matter what they have to offer and what promises they make, here are six key considerations for finding the right book marketing service:
Are they honest about strengths and limitations?
Hope is not a marketing plan. I’m a big fan of shooting for the stars, but you really want to partner with a book marketing services company that is realistic about your book and the market. I’m not suggesting that a good book marketing services company is all about being buzzkill — not at all. But a good one should very clearly understand the limitations of the market. Not only is this a solid way to grow your audience, but you’ll save a lot of money, too.
For example, I would rarely, if ever, pitch a genre fiction book to the Today Show or any other major, national morning show. If you’re not already somewhat of a household name, it’s going to be hard to get you into big, national media. The market is too saturated with too many names. And even if you are a national bestseller, have you ever counted how many times per year the Today Show interviews authors about their latest releases? Four.
Authors occasionally request making it onto national TV, and while I will offer it when possible, it’s just not something I’d suggest for everyone. If a service says, right off the bat, that you’ll be on TV, maybe you should shop around. Or you could wind up spending a lot of money in areas that don’t serve you, or your book.
Will you walk away with new skills or insights, or start at square one again with your next book?
If you’re not interested in learning the ways of book marketing, that’s fair. You’re likely not a marketer, you’re an author. Most authors like to outsource things they aren’t good at. As a business owner, I’m always outsourcing things I’m not good at. But learning these skills is never wasted time.
The reason being that you don’t want to have to start from the beginning each time you publish a book. If you hire a book marketing services company that just does it all in secrecy and then sends you a report, or maybe just does the work and announces they’re done, then you’ll never know the process to replicate it. Some measure of learning should always be a part of this; otherwise, when it comes to book two (or book five), you’re starting from scratch.
Do they discuss ongoing reporting and collaboration, or is it a one-time sale?
There isn’t anything bad about a one-time sale, per se, but it’s good to know what you’re getting into. And, in the end, it’s entirely up to you in terms of what you want from the partnership.
However, a company that offers a one-time sale model should still offer you an update about what they’ve done, and it’s good to find out what their reporting system is like. Reporting is really key for any book marketing services company, otherwise you have absolutely no idea what they’ve done and why you’ve invested in them. Even more important is understanding their reporting so you know if you want to work together on your next book. Having a dedicated, long-term partnership with the right book marketing team can do wonders.
Do they have a documented history in the industry?
This is really important because, as you’ll see from the last two points in this blog, you really want someone who has an investment not just in your success but in the industry as well. As you’re investigating book marketing services, check their history. Where do they appear online? How long have they been doing this work? Has someone you know of used them in the past, or have you been personally referred to them?
This matters because you want to partner with a firm who takes their work, and your book, seriously.
The other way to uncover this is to check their social media feeds. Are they using social in a meaningful way? Do they have a blog, and have they written for it recently? Do they host events or webinars? Are they trying to contribute positively to the industry in addition to running a business? The level of commitment they show to their business is likely comparable to the level of commitment they can provide you. Do they meet your expectations?
Are you wary of scammers and the reinventors?
In every industry there are people who just want to take advantage of the goodwill of authors who, likely, don’t know marketing. If someone is promising you big dreams, massive book sales and big success right out of the gate, run for the hills. I’m not saying that all of that wondrous success isn’t possible, but it’s impossible for any book marketing service to promise that to any author.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside a number of fantastic publicity and book marketing firms, and I mean it when I say there are good ones out there. They won’t whisper sweet nothings to get a payment. They’ll realistically map out the best way to market your book to the right audience. And they’ll be confident in their work, but they won’t promise sales or bestseller status. A firm with a strong history in the industry that gives in-depth reporting and shares their process can help you make the best decisions for success!
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon visibility campaigns as well offering national media pitching, online book marketing, author events, and other strategies designed to build the author/book visibility.
She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors, and From Book to Bestseller. She also hosts the top ranking podcast Book Marketing Tips and Author Success.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.