Exposure: Bad for you in the mountains, Good for your book

Exposure: Bad for you in the mountains, Good for your book

red cardinal on a branch in icy rain

Your book should stand out. CC image My Cold Weather Friends courtesy of John Flannery on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

In Colorado, we hear a lot about local, homegrown, extreme weather.

Many of the weather disaster reports are related to the mountains in some way. Every year, people go missing, are hit by lightning, and suffer from exposure from rapidly changing weather conditions at higher altitudes. Exposure in the mountains is a bad thing. Exposure can get you killed.

For your book, on the other hand, exposure is exactly what you want. The more people are talking about your book, the more people are aware of it. And the more people are aware of it, the greater your opportunity to convert them into readers and buyers.

How do we go about getting our books this exposure?

Exposure for your book, AKA marketing

No one is going to talk about your book if they don’t know it exists. You need to get the word out. And while a static website is necessary for you to get started on any kind of further marketing these days, that alone won’t get you far.

Poke around for a short period of time in the breathless and hyperbolic world of marketing and promotion, and you’ll quickly come across what is known as the “Rule of Sevens.” The Rule of Sevens is a marketing story that started with the movie industry of the 1930s: how often did movie-goers need to be exposed to advertising before they would purchase a ticket? Much ink has been spilled and many pixels expended discussing this rule. Whether or not you espouse the hard target of seven exposures, you should take this away from the discussion: book marketing is not a one-time event. Book exposure doesn’t happen once and then permanently “take.”

You need to expose your book repeatedly.

Book marketing is a mindset

Book marketing is a state of mind more than an activity. There are many, many ways to market and promote your book, online and off. You can get book exposure from any one or any constellation of these methods. But there is one common thread: at the center of these possible choices is one thing, and that is you.

Yes, you. Not even your book. Just you.

Because you are the one marketing your book. Your book is a supporting player in this process. How you think about, relate to, engage with, and participate in the marketing is how your book, in the end, gets its exposure.

3 keys to success in book marketing

This post isn’t a one-stop-shop for all your book marketing/exposure ideas. There are plenty of other outlets for that. If you want a great place to start, I recommend this page on book marketing from Jane Friedman’s blog.

Writing is a mental game, and book marketing is as well. Therefore, my three keys to success focus exclusively on you:

  1. Plan in advance.
  2. Choose what works for you.
  3. Be ready for a continuous, ongoing process.

1. Plan in advance.

Know that you need to market your book, before you start marketing. Realize that you can (and usually should) begin marketing your book before it is published. Consider the ways that you would like to do that. In other words, get your head in the game.

2. Choose what works for you.

You have a ton of options. It’s impossible to do them all. Know from the outset that you need to make strategic choices. Different tactics are suited to different people; know what suits you and focus on that. Leave the rest alone.

3. Be ready for a continuous, ongoing process.

Getting your book exposure is like doing the laundry. There’s never really a point where you can say definitively, “I’m done!” Book marketing is not a sprint. It’s not even a marathon. It’s a lifestyle.

The bottom line

No one will read your book if they don’t know about it. Become comfortable with the fact you will need to do legwork to get the word out. Fear not: you can do this without dropping the rest of your life. With so many choices available for you, the question becomes which tactic(s) are the perfect fit for your temperament and ability to continue doing them for the long haul.

Exposure in the wilderness can give you hypothermia. Exposure for your book can get you readers, admirers, customers and fans. Do your book a favor and expose it!

Thoughts, questions, comments, suggestions, and blarney (bonus points for wit):