CWC Marketing Blog

A goal of the CWC Berkeley Marketing Blog is to provide information about the  aspects of book marketing. This blog is provided by member Lloyd Lofthouse, author of My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine.

“Since publishing is essentially a casino, I do miss the thrill of gambling and the rare winning throw of the dice,” wrote Daniel Menaker, former Senior Vice President and Executive Editor-in-Chief for Random House.

Without marketing, the odds of winning when an author throws the dice for his or her book are almost nonexistent. Fifty percent of marketing works and fifty percent doesn’t, but no one knows what fifty percent is successful.

Most authors are hungry to find an audience for their books. However, the competition is daunting. R. R. Bowker, the company that sells ISBNs, reported more than a million new titles and editions were published in 2009. That doesn’t take into account the backlist. Bowker’s Books In Print® database, the industry’s largest, has 7.5 million U.S. book, audio book, and video titles, as well as another 10 million international titles. Bowker also lists 80,000 publishers as clients—lots of competition.

In 2009, the author of a book I reviewed for POD Book Reviews sent me an E-mail recently asking how my book was doing. I replied that it was averaging twenty-five to thirty sales a month through Amazon (it’s difficult to track sales through brick and mortar bookstores). He said his book was lucky to sell two or three copies a month. When I asked if he was promoting his work, he said he wasn’t.

Since I talked to this author, I learned how to build a platform Blog, which is another method of marketing an author’s work, and my sales have climbed to several hundred a month.

The CWC Berkeley Marketing Site offers links to educate authors about marketing their books. This area is open to everyone and will expand with time. The comment section is password protected. The password is provided for CWC members only.

Our most popular post (with almost 600 views) How to Make Amazon’s SECRET Promotional Tools Work for Your Book is a sample of the support we offer.

There is Internet marketing, author events at bookstores, finding book festivals, places that offer book reviews on the Internet, writing contests, building a Platform Blog, exposure through traditional media and much more to discover.

Another goal is to create a cooperative environment where CWC members support each other. Word of mouth is the strongest form of promotion. Paying for an advertisement is the worst. Getting that word of mouth is the challenge. To do that, the author’s work must find an audience. Even magic will not make that happen.

To achieve these goals will take time. One thing I’ve noticed through the years is that once a book is written, most authors believe they will become rich and famous overnight by selling thousands if not millions of copies. What many do not understand is that most authors will not stand a chance without promoting their work–that is if the work is good enough to attract an audience.

That is where learning the craft of writing comes in, but that is another subject. In the end, the author and his or her work must sell itself. The most important judge is the reader, and knowing how to market is the road to those readers.

— Lloyd Lofthouse

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