Book Marketing Services/Agencies/Consultants

PG is interested in knowing whether any visitors to TPV have had good experience with a third-party marketing person/agency with respect to their indie book sales.

If you qualify, if you could explain a bit about what the marketing activities consisted of and what you think the marketing person/service did that you could not have done yourself or did better than you could have done yourself.

PG is not inviting a flood of canned pitches from people who work in the book marketing business, but will welcome an intelligent explanation of what a book marketing expert can deliver that most authors could not or could not do as well.

PG understands that many authors treasure their time and would rather write than market. However, many indies who want to earn a living, earn enough to pay the house payment, etc., don’t have excess funds sitting around to spend on some individual or group that doesn’t deliver real value, so PG is looking about information concerning profitable expenditures on marketing services that clearly earn more than they cost.

PG thinks there’s a good financial case for most indie authors to hire a good cover designer or collect a favor from a friend who knows what she’s doing in cover design. Good covers sell books. They won’t make a bestseller out of a mediocre book, but they can catch the favorable attention of people looking for books on Amazon or elsewhere.

He’d be interested in hearing what type of marketing services, if any, provide a similarly reliable return on investment.

5 thoughts on “Book Marketing Services/Agencies/Consultants”

  1. This skeptic — who has been dealing with these… people… in the entertainment (including publishing), the defense, and the consumer-finance industries since the early 1980s — suggests that any actual appraisal or submission be based upon non-cherry-picked, replicable, statistically valid data. Not on anecdotes. Not on outliers. Not by ignoring instances that don’t fit the conclusion, but by including and resolving them. Not by using private or nonreplicable data. And most especially not by relying upon successful deception.

    This skeptic is not optimistic. But it’s Monday morning during election season, so that’s somewhat to be expected.

    • Good advice, C.

      I have a significant number of past lives. During one of them, I worked for a very large advertising agency. Lots of very accomplished hand-wavers in that office.

      Effective hand-waving could get you promoted upward at a brisk pace.

      At the top, you could have held a hand-waving olympics and found a great many talented and highly-trained competitors who would vie for the gold. The difference between first place and second would have been measured in ultra-micro-waves.

      • There is an old saying in marketing/advertising that one should sell the sizzle, not the steak. Leaving aside that this doesn’t help those who are starving (or want chicken), there are two disturbing potential corollaries:

        (1) That our steak isn’t really any better than the competition’s for any definable customer-set, so we have to rely upon the appetizing picture in the menu. But it could be worse:

        (2) We know full well that our steak doesn’t actually meet that definable customer-set’s needs, but it’s what we have in stock, so we’ve gotta move the product.

        That* becomes even more troubling when considering “virtual merchandise” like e-books and electronic audiobooks, because the cost of “maintaining adequate stock” is virtually zero on a per-order-filled basis.

        All of which leaves one wondering what the “sizzle” for e-books might be…

        * But for postsettlement confidentiality requirements, this shark could regale you with detailed explanations of how automobile “extended warranties” fit both of them. And that’s before considering the deception, discriminatory practices, and often outright fraud involved in the actual sales process.

  2. Sorry, PG, can’t help you on your main request (because I do the all marketing on my books myself), but I can tell you this: I enjoy marketing as much as writing. It’s creative. It’s fun. And it’s cost-effective.

    • I agree with your sentiments, Harald.

      For me, writing well is the foundation for all successful marketing. Authors are generally good writers. Successful authors are always good writers.

      Yes, writing a fiction/non-fiction book, article, etc., is not the same as writing advertising or marketing copy.

      However, if an author who writes fiction is good at characterization and providing unique voices for various characters, I think she/he should be able to write marketing and advertising copy.

      Perhaps a mental trick is to create a marketing character. This shouldn’t be Harry the Huckster. Instead, an author might think of a friend who is enthusiastic about books and reading.

      If you were building a character who loved books and reading, you might start with your friend or several of your friends as a template. You’re not creating a clone, just using friend(s) as an idea generator for your marketing character.

      If PG isn’t full of baloney, an author might be able to use this marketing character to help write advertising and promotion copy for the book. It’s not necessarily how the author might describe the book, but how this imaginary reader and book enthusiast would describe the book.

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