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Marketing your book - takeaways from Brooklyn Book Festival

Last weekend was the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. It featured hundreds of publishers as well as an endless amount of seminars and talks. I got a chance to attend a seminar titled "How to Help Readers Discover Your Book Today".


Although I have self-published an eBook, my interest in the panel was to hear what marketing tactics authors can use to promote their book. Technology has empowered anyone to be a _______ (author, musician, video producer, app developer, etc.) yet the challenge of breaking through all the noise and reaching your 1000 true fans is greater than ever.

One of the panelists highlighted 5 points that authors should focus on when marketing their book. I had two major takeaways from this list. One, these points can apply to anyone who has a product and is looking for their audience. And two, it's important to start working on these things before you finish your product.

Here is the list:

  1. Quality will always matter (aka the best marketing strategy wont last if your product is a turd)
  2. Build a community of readers
  3. Build mutually beneficial relationships with press, bloggers, etc. (e.g. write guest posts on other sites)
  4. Title is single most important marketing decision you will make (aka come up with a good name!)
  5. Metadata (title, genre, book type, target market, story elements)

If you are an app developer, a musician, an entrepreneur, someone who is building something right now, you need to start working on these things now.

They should be part of your immediate product roadmap.

The "if you build it they will come" mentality is no longer good enough in the modern world. 10 year ago it was impressive if you wrote a book and had it available on Amazon. Today, tools like Kindle Direct Publishing empower anyone, and I mean anyone, to get their book up on Amazon. This is great because the major publishers are no longer gatekeepers that control who can release something to the world. But the adverse side effect is it's now much harder to standout. You may have just published the next Harry Potter, but if no one knows about it, it will find it's place in the graveyard next to all the other books you've never heard of.

This isn't an all inclusive list, but it's an important one. Why not get started on working on some of these today?