I often hear from authors who are frustrated because they aren't getting much traction with their book marketing efforts. However, when I dig deeper, I usually discover that their "efforts" haven't amounted to all that much. The authors just don't realize it.
Here's an example: a very nice man wrote a book about Jewish history, and he wanted to speak at synagogues to help promote it. He conducted an outreach campaign but said he got very little response and was quite discouraged. When I asked him for details about what exactly he'd done, he said he had emailed five rabbis and that two had expressed tentative interest and would let him know. Nearly two months had passed, and he hadn't heard from them again.
His strategy was a good one, but he made two big mistakes in his execution:
1) Contacting five synagogues is not enough!
When I was an indie author, I contacted hundreds of organizations about my book. Only a small fraction got back to me, but over time I was successful because I cast such a wide net and kept at it. If I had stopped at the first five, I certainly wouldn't be where I am today. Just like sales, book marketing is often a numbers game.
2) It's up to the author to follow up.
Even if two of the five rabbis expressed interested (and 40 percent is actually a great response rate), it is highly unlikely that either of them will get back in touch. Why? Because they are busy. People are busy, and despite their best intentions, the vast majority of them will flake if you leave things to them. It is critical to understand this. They may indeed be interested in whatever you are proposing, but it is up to you to keep the ball rolling.
If you keep at it over time, you'll be more successful in your efforts. I promise!
Maria Murnane is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
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