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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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Hi Kamelia,

Your book will also be showcased at in the April issue.

John Wolf
Right now my biggest challenge with marketing my book, The Santa Louise Kid - Murder, is my publisher. When my book first came out in January I contacted book stores and asked them to carry my book in their stores. My publisher told me my book was in the Ingram Catolog with a "normal discount." A couple of book store owners e-mailed that Ingram only had my book at list price. I contacted my publisher and he told me he would take care of it. Yesterday I start contacting book stores again and they tell me it's listed at a 25% discount, not the normal 40%. I'm also having problems trying to find out who is distributing my books in Europe, my publisher doesn't know.
Selling it has been the biggest challenge for me. I honestly never thought of it that it was as crucial a part as producing it.
I think writing a book is the easy part. Marketing and promotion is the hard part. On my internet radio show, most authors I interview have the same problem. The best advise I have gotten so far is using the web as much as possible. Facebook and such and promoting your website. Good luck with your book and promotion.

Martin D. White
Poetic Monthly Magazine
I'm in this same boat - as Martin said, a lot of authors are. In today's economy publishers are doing less and less to market a book and leaving it all up to the author. I sort of like that as I am making wonderful connections and knocking on doors I never thought even existed.

Our books will get there. If you believe in yours as much as I believe in mine something will happen soon. Something great and we'll wonder why we ever thought it was difficult.
My latest book's challenge has been taking the risk of promoting my book on (Explorers Cookbook and Travel Guide). I have a video posted; a suggested TV-trailer based on the book, along with detail information about the book and soon recipes. This new way of promoting myself has resulted in frustration of the many 'polite' rejections from querys and proposals sent out. Even though I have had great success with my first book becoming a publisher and getting the book on the physical shelves of B&N, I would like to experience what the very successful authors have of being published by a large publisher. I am a graphic artist and have already put the book together (camera ready). I realize these large publishers could give a hoot, although I did manage to get my foot in the door to Random House's acquisitions editor who did get to see the physical book/galley and politely said, "even though it was very interesting, she was already representing someone with a similar book". Argh! That old saying: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again!" Is really starting to wear on me. What do you suggest?
Yvonne Addario,
You have a great outlook and a very positive perspective on the real value of our business. I admire your efforts and wish you continued success. I am one of those who has never cooked a thing indoors in my entire long life, but just based on your outlook and presentation, I am sure I would be interested.

With my best regards,

Dr Robert E McGinnis also an author
The Paradise Series
The Little Eagle Series
The White Panther Series
and that thirty plus years mainstay of my effort, In Search Of Paradise just out in the fourth edition.
Be persistent, Yvonne. You never know when the day will come that your book will top the bestseller charts and it'll all be because of the hard work you're doing now.
Making characters unlikable so they can grow to be likable.

I love my characters, but having all characters being lovable from the start is boring. So some of them need to be unlikable at first so they can grow to be a likable character. So some of them have to start out with traits that make them unlikable, but not so horrible that the reader hates them. It's a tough balance.
Age old proposition, every Good Book ( I am speaking in Biblical terms of all religions ) have the good guys and the bad guys and some of the bad buys become good guys and even the other way around as in the case of Judas (which has several interpretation, I will let you take your choice). So your situation is characteristic, but it is how you explain the transformation and the results that make it interesting or not. Fiction being what fiction is, we can make anyone, anything and of any value that we want. That is the beauty of it all.

I love writing, and especially fiction because I can design the world the way I want it and produce characters of my liking. This, of course, has drawback because not everyone is looking for all good guys, not even in fiction, but then again, I have learned to write for myself and what I like and then let my books find people that think like I do. See how much fun this business is? I wish you well and it is my hope that you will be encouraged to write what you enjoy writing.

Dr M (Paradise Series)
Marketing it. Too many media outlets enjoy reporting on the negative and not on what people are doing to make a great change in today's society. When I wrote Sending You Sammy with the intent of making children and all of its readers healthy I thought my local newspaper would be knocking on my door for an interview. Turns out they don't think it's the right time to report on it!

Give me a break - every headline has something to do with our illiterate or unhealthy and obese children - when is a better time to report on what people are doing to help rid the nation of this?
@ Bill. Because Of The Competition For Example IPHONE, Kindle, The Fact That Now Anybody Can Self Publish A Book Buy Lots Of Copies Themselves Then Sell It On The Street. For Most Authors The Biggest Problem Is Actually Getting People To Buy A Book From A New Author. Any Way To All The Aspiring Authors I Found Something Which May Help.

50 Ways To Promote And Market A Book.

Here are 50 ideas I came up with:

Before You Start

Make Sure Your Book Will Be Relevant When It’s Finished

Sounds obvious but it’s not. One of my clients has just finished a book about investing in property. Not great timing!

Be Clear Why You are Writing a Book

There are lots of reasons for writing a book ranging from making as much money as you can to realising a childhood dream. Being clear about why you are doing it will influence how you market it. For example if it is to build personal credibility, you may not be as bothered about how much money it makes and be happy to give more away for free. If the book is your only income, free might not sound so great!

Is Your Audience Online?

Online marketing will be a fruitless exercise if your key target audience are not active internet users.

Six to Eight Months Before Launch

Create a Website Dedicated To The Book

A book should have a dedicated website preferably with the title being used as the domain name. If you can’t get the title try your/the author’s name. Three good book sites are:

Buyology by Martin Lindstrom

The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Multiple books by David Meerman Scott

Create a Blog Not Dedicated To The Book

Do you need a blog and a website? Yes, for several reasons. First your blog can be used to support multiple books, Second the blog will have a life after the book is off the shelves. Third you can use a blog to establish your credibility long before your book is launched. There are dozens of author blogs. Here are a few:

Seth Godin (probably the most populat author’s blog in the world!)
Paul Coelho

Naomi Dunford

Collect Email Addresses Online

Start collecting email addresses six to eight months before launch. Your email list will be the best and fastest way to get word out about your new book. To get addresses offer a free chapter, a unique bonus chapter, discounts, extracts, input…whatever it takes

Collect Emails Offline

Whenever you go to an event, seminar or workshop collect business cards and email addresses. Remember to ask if you can add them to your email newsletter list

Create a Preview Book or Article

Chris Andersen wrote an article for Wired Magazine about his longtail theory six months before he released his book of the same name. By the time the book came out there was an educated audience desperate to know more

Publish Interviews

If your book involves doing interviews, record them and publish the best ones as free podcasts on your site, iTunes and other podcast sites

Ask For Feedback

Whilst writing your book continually ask your website visitors for feedback on the content. Promise to acknowledge all those who help in the book. All these people will feel they have been a part of the creative process so will be eager to spread the word when it launches

Create a List of The Most Important Bloggers and Websites

Create a list of all the most important bloggers and websites in your niche. Try to think of a way of getting them involved with creating the book. For example ask for quotes, do interviews, use them as case studies, etc.

Create a List of All the Most Important Journalists

List all the journalists in the world who might ne interested in your book. Think how you can them excited about its publication; get them to contribute, refer to their articles, interview them, etc

Create a List of Academics And Colleges

Are there any notable academics and colleges that teach about your niche? Make a list and send them free copies when the book is available

Distribute As You Write

As you complete chapters of your book, send extracts to people you quote or include for feedback. This will keep the project alive in their mind and hopefully looking forward to the completed book. James Caan provides some interesting and valuable business insights on his website

Get Testimonials and Endorsement

Endorsements and testimonials from personalities within your niche is worth its weight in gold. Build relationships early so these people trust you when you ask for their support

Twitter Interesting Facts And Articles

As you do your research you will be finding interesting facts and articles. Twitter them to your followers so they can get an idea of what you are thinking. Proactively try to build your Twitter followers

Setup a Twitter Search

Search for terms relevant to your book on Twitter. When comments come up join the conversation

Build A Community

I have mentioned a few ways of building a community (website, blog, Twitter), but there are dozens more. You should think about where your audience hang out and then use the best services to build your community. Think about MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, LinkedIn, etc. Start networking well before launch.

Don’t Waste Time On People Who Won’t Buy

I was recently asked to write an article for a real estate magazine about how real estate agents can use the internet for marketing. I was flattered by the editors kind words but halfway through the article I thought to myself real estate agents are not the target for anything I do. Why am I wasting my valuable time talking to them?

Associations and Societies

Approach any associations and societies whose audience is relevant to your book. How can you work together. Run a workshops, do a book signing, agree a co-promotion deal, speak at one of their events, write for their website or magazine?

Setup Google Alerts

Setup Google Alerts for your name, your book title, competitor’s names, competitive or complimentary book titles, etc. By following these alerts you can jump into the online conversation in a timely way

Create a ‘By Invitation Only’ Community

Seth Godin launched his latest book Tribes, by creating a private community for the people who pre-ordered it. Great idea (although most of don’t have the profile of Seth Godin)

Review All Publicity Material

If you are publishing through a publisher make sure you review all the marketing and promotion material before it goes out. You need the key messages to be consistent online and offline, and through all channels

Design Matters

The cover design and internal page layouts matter …..a lot. Publishers have professional teams to do this, but make sure you have your say. Self publishers find a book designer on eLance ( A good design is well worth the investment

Join the Book Marketing Network

The Book Marketing Network is a online community for authors and small publishers to share their knowledge and support each other. Lots of great ideas

Consider Publishing on

I haven’t used this site, but it has got quite good reviews. You can have your book reviewed, sold as download and if it becomes popular published. Go to

One Month Before Launch

Four Weeks to Make an Impression

If you are publishing through a big publisher your book will have about four weeks to produce significant sales. If it doesn’t, it will receive little marketing support going forward. Therefore your promotion efforts leading up to the launch could make the difference between success and failure

Create a Competition

Create a competition on your website with ten or more copies of the book as prizes. Send an email to all the people who entered but did not win offering them a discount

Offer the Book As a Prize

You should have a list of blogs and websites where you would like your book promoted. Offer the website owner one or more free copies as a competition prize.

Send Out Free Copies

Before the book is available send out free copies to all the journalists, bloggers and influencers. Warn them it’s coming by email and then stick a signed copy in the post.

Create a Slide Presentation

Create a slide presentation and publish it on SlideShare. Take a look at the slides created for Dan Pink’s new career advice book

Use To Find Relevant Groups

There is nothing like face-to-face book signings to create buzz and trust, but how do you find groups of interested people. is becoming a great source of finding niche groups

Prepare For Launch Day

You should pick one specific day for your launch and ensure a lot of activity is planned for this single day (email your list, publish some YouTube videos, send out press releases, announce competition winners, launch a competition, do a webinar, etc). Hopefully a lot of activity will create momentum.

Create and Post Videos

Create and post videos on all the main video sites. Make sure the videos are under ten minutes so they get published on YouTube. I use to hit a lot of sites all at once. The videos can be a book tour, interviews, book extracts, etc

Say Something Controversial

If your book takes a controversial stand point start an online debate before you launch. Blog, write guest articles for other sites, go on forums and Twitter.

Amazon Sales On The Same Day

This is hard to achieve, but if you can get a large number of buyers all to purchase from Amazon on the same day this will increase the books ranking and get it higher up on the search results page. If you can do this blitz on a quiet trading day such as Thanksgiving or Christmas Day the impact will be all the greater

Book Cover Images

Get some images of your book cover and post them on Flickr, PhotoBucket and other photo gallery websites. Make sure you choose the tags carefully to reflect the subject

After Launch

Free Chapter

Give away the first chapter of your book for free as a downloadable pdf. At the beginning and end of the chapter add a summary of the rest of the book to encourage the reader to buy. Encourage people to share it.

Publish the Content Page

Publish the content page on your website with a brief overview about each chapter. Make sure the page is optimised for the search engines. It may also be worth having a printable version

“What Questions Do You Have …Maybe I Have Answered Them?”

Create a post on your website which lists many of the questions that you have answered in your book. For example if your book is about professional blogging:

How much does a blogger earn?
What are the most important revenue streams for a blogger?
What blog subjects make the most money?

Online Virtual Book Tour

It is very expensive to do a nationwide or international book tour, but it’s cheap to do one online. Do a series of free webinars that people can dial in and listen to you talking about the book. Record them and publish them on your website or on specialist websites like Ask Database

Harvey Mackay’s “WE GOT FIRED”


Mark Victor Hanson & Robert Allen’s “CRACKING THE MILLIONAIRE CODE”


Mireille Guilano’s “FRENCH WOMEN DON’T GET FAT”

Online Questions And Answers

Once the early buyers have had a chance to read the book offer to run a series of free conference calls where people can ask you questions. To avoid a free for all ask for questions to be submitted via email before the call

Encourage Amazon Reviews

When you send out free copies ask the recipients to publish their positive reviews in Amazon. On your website ask people who liked your book to do the same. And again with anyone who sends you a positive testimonial

Arrange Interviews With Top Bloggers

By now you should have a list of all the top bloggers for your niche. Offer the opportunity for them to do an interview with you. Its good content for their sites and great publicity for you

Keep Copies With You All The Time

An author friend of mine sat next to a senior IBM executive on a short flight from London to Paris. They got chatting and he ended up giving him a copy of his newly published book. A week later he received an order for 100 copies! Always have a few books with you; you never know who you’re going to meet

Deliver On Your Promises

Make sure you deliver on your promises. If you offered free copies send them. If you offered interviews, do them. If you said you would mention a contributor, mention them. You don’t want unhappy people in the blogosphere just after launch!

Copy Amazon Reviews

Create a section on your website called, “What People Are Saying On Amazon”. Copy the best reviews on to your site.

Speaking Events

If you get speaking opportunities at conferences, seminars, universities, etc always ask the organiser if you can set up a stand to sell your books at the event. Better still ask the event organiser if they will buy a copy to give to each attendee

Get Some Cheeky Photos

Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Work Week) tells the story of how he took some of his books into a Borders, placed then prominently on a shelf and took some photos which he published on his website. A cheeky trick for self publishers!


This list is just scratching the service. You won't be able to do everythingh so pick a few ideas and get creative to make yout book stand out from the crowd.

Best of luck!

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