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Buzz-Based Book Marketing

By Shel Horowitz
Posted Thursday, January 27, 2005

Once upon a time, people went to bookstores when they wanted to buy a book. Or at least, that was the theory. Actually, non-bookstore channels have been a big part of book sales for decades—at least since people like Joe Karbo ("The Lazy Man's Way to Riches") back in the 1960s. For my own books, whether they were s elf-published, done with a small commercial house, or by a New York conglomerate, I've found that se lling direct is more secure, more financially rewar ding, and far less hassle than sweating out the returns game with the b ookstore channel. All along, I've sold through speeches (I love getting pai d to do my own marketing), over the Web (the f irst of my four websites went live in 1996), to clients at my office, wh o stare at a rack of my work throughout their entire appointment, and thr ough

an extensive effort to create "buzz." The great thi n g is that *anyone* can generate buzz. Three of my techniques: 1. Be a sourc e or guest for conventional m edia. I've been quoted in Reader's Digest, the New York Times, Woman's Day, Bo ttom Line, the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Los Ange les Times, Inc, and dozens of other well-known and obscure publications (s ee a detailed list at ( . I'm also a call-in guest on at least a dozen radio shows per year. Whether

or not I sell a lot of books directly through t hese interviews, I definitely create a lot of buzz (search for my nam e at Google and see for yourself)--and the best interviews sell a number o f books through my websites or toll-free numbers. Here's my "secret weapon" f or getting coverage: a service that sends source queries from journalist s working on

stories. (Find out more at ( 2. Find your niche on line, and participate actively. There ar e literally hundreds of thousands of "communities" online: virtual watercoo lers where people gather to tal k shop: mystery, historical novel reading groups, professionals in every l ine of work. Find a group whose audience is the same as your book,

and participate often. I currently participate in three groups for small

press publishers (a primary market not only for my books but for my co pywriting services, a group for Internet marketing profess i onals, three fo r professional PR and copywriters, and several others. Yes,

I spend an hour or two per day keeping up with--and participating on--th ese lists, but the impact on my business is huge. 3. Distribu te content. A r ticles, book excerpts, blogs...if you write often enough about a subject,

you become an expert. And you can find dozens of websites, discus sion groups, print newsletters, 'zines, even radio shows--all hungr y for well-written, informative material. You get "paid" with a

few lines of blurb and contact info. For my new book, "Principled Pr ofit: Marketing That Puts People First," I am addi ng two things to

the mix: a network of independent representatives who will sell my book on commission--thus reaching new networks I've not been a ble to reach on my own--and aggressive pursuit of corporate sales. I've h ad my first success with the latter: 1000 copies to a prom i nent airline. And that means the book was already profitable before it ro lled off the press!

About the Author
Shel Horowitz, author of *Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First,* *Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World,* and four other books, offers affordable, effective copywriting and strategic marketing planning to clients on three continents. He is the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge Campaign to change the World at ( His sites at ( and ( offer hundreds of useful articles for entrepreneurs and marketers, including the complete back issues of his FREE Monthly Frugal Marketing Tips. Shel will be glad to help you create your next press release, sell sheet, web site, or other marketing material. He can be reached at, 800-683-WORD.


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